Saturday, May 18, 2013
A visit to Notre Dame and Berthillon
The one thing I enjoy about traveling is seeing the work that I love in person. You just can't replace all of the empirical responses you have to the work that are lost in translation of the reproduction. The sheer scale of Notre Dame is quite remarkable, and more so, when you consider the time it was built. The history of the flying buttress is a remarkable engineering development that altered the amount of light that could be emitted into the interior of the church. Making thinner walls, as well as buttressing the weight of the walls, allowed there to be more glass. It took over 160 years to build the church, and you can see the moment in the build where the clerestory (the third floor windows) looses the wheel window and moves to a complete vertical stained glass window (see highlighted circle in photo).
The outside of Notre Dame is exquisite and I think its imperative to walk the 380+ steps and tour the top. The views of Paris are amazing and seeing the church up close gives you an appreciation for the height theses stones were lifted and their pure mass (pun intended). My first visit to the top reminded me of the famous 1853 Charles Negre photograph of Henri Le Secq seen below.
You must hit Berthillon when you're in Paris. I went for the pear and pink grapefruit which was really good choice to end the day! A close up: