Thursday, July 12, 2012
My Notre Dame View of Paris (Part One)
In this post, I'd like to share the extraordinary western view as seen from the upper level of the cathedral, the Gallery of Chimeras, which is at the midway point of the cathedral, and the base of the two towers. The gallery, with its statues, was part of the restoration from the mid-1800s, as designed by Eugene Viollet-Le-Duc.
To begin, you can see the left branch of the Seine flowing northwest between the Ile de la Cite and the Left Bank. The bridge in the center of the photograph is the Pont Saint-Michel. Just to the left of it, if you click on the photo and look closely, you'll see blue awnings at the corner of the buildings just under the trees. This is the souvenir shop where Jennifer made friends with Roger, who runs the register.
Of course you can see the Eiffel Tower, as well as a corner tower of the Prefecture of Police at center right. The brooding winged figure in the photo is a chimera, not a gargoyle. Thought they are usually called gargoyles, this name should only be applied to figures which are the termination point for water spouts.
In the center of the photo you can see the Petit Pont. This odd little bridge is only one hundred and sixty years old. However, a bridge has been on the spot since Roman times, but 13 times the bridge had been destroyed by floods, due to the narrowing of the river at this point. In one instance, back in the 1700's, a woman looking for her drowned child's body, accidentally set a hay barge on fire directly beneath the bridge, burning it down.
Beyond the immediate buildings on the island, you can just make out the Louvre to the right of Saint-Chappelle. At far right you can see Saint-Eustache Eglise. L'Hotel Dieu, a hospital, is in the foreground.
If we look at Le Stryge's eye, then shift your own eye an inch to the left, you'll see the arches of the Theatre de Chatelet, which faces Place du Chatelet at the Pont au Change. It was here that Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days played for 2195 performances, the first of which was in 1876, and only closed in May of 1940 due to the Nazi Occupation. Though not consecutively, it ran a total of 64 years.