Saturday, April 16, 2016

A-Z Challenge: N is for Notre Dame

When I visited Paris for the first time in high school, Notre Dame was the first famous landmark I witnessed. I remember arriving in town after a very long trans-Atlantic flight, dropping off our luggage at the hotel (really... a step above a hostel) and then taking a walk around the neighborhood.

Of course, we students had no idea where we were, and I remember rounding the bend, crossing the bridge, and there she was - greeting us to her city.

Notre Dame is so large, that you almost appreciate her better from afar: the tall spires reaching towards the heavens; the stained glass windows drawing the sun towards herself.

Of course, once you are up close, you notice the fine details.

The beautiful doors
The intricate statues


The tour guide explained how numerology played a significant role in Medieval architecture. At that time: " 'We are instructed in number to avoid confusion. Take away number in all things, and they all perish. Take away computation from the world, and all things are encompassed by blind ignorance; people who are ignorant of the knowledge of reckoning cannot be distinguished from the other animals’. Thus wrote Isidore of Sevilla in the 7th century (Book III, 4)" (thanks to journal.eahn.org)

It is therefore logical that the architects at the time used numbers extensively in construction to ensure the buildings would not perish. With regards to the cathedrals, the number of columns, widows, doors, as well as saints and other figures represented in the carved statues, all coincide with numerology significance:

  • three represents the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) 
  • four represents the four evangelists 
  • six represents the six days of creation 
  • seven is considered the perfect number (three plus four) 
  • twelve represents the number of Christ's apostles 
  • thirty-three, the number of years Jesus spent on earth.

For the more adventurous tourist, you can climb the 387 steps to the top of Notre Dame. You can get up close and personal with the gargoyles, but also enjoy a beautiful aerial view of the city.

Gargoyles (but no hunchback)


17 comments:

  1. Would love to visit Paris one day, gargoyles and all!

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    1. The gargoyles are fun - but there is SO much more to this fantastic city. It is worth the visit, for sure!

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  2. Beautiful photos! I never knew the architecture was so intricate.

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    1. Me neither, Sarah! It's not until I got up close - and used the camera's zoom lens - that i noticed the intricate detail.

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  3. To go up there... I've visited Notre Dame four times up to now. But there were so many adventurous tourists that I never got to get up there. I think that's because one can talk to the Gargoyles up there and see them fly over Paris, isn't it? ;-)

    ClaoWue
    from
    Potpourri

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    1. I have yet to trek up those 387 stairs - but I hear the views are worth every single step!

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  4. The numerology is interesting. I knew some of the numbers used, but not all of them.

    Cheers - Ellen | http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com/2016/04/n-is-for-nautical-miles-nancy-drew.html

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  5. Beautiful! I would definitely climb the steps for a closer look at the gargoyles. Posted about gargoyles for A-Z and would love to see them for real.
    @SorchiaDubois
    Sorchia’s Universe

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    1. I will do it one day... but I need to get in better shape first :)

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  6. J here, of the #atozchallenge Arlee Bird's A to Z Ambassador Team. Thanks for commenting on my blog.
    Is the challenge going well for your blog? M marked the halfway point!
    My blog's giveaway is still going. I'm want everyone to visit more stops. On Sunday, there's a post about how to better use the image alt code-- featured on the main A to Z blog as well as my own.
    http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com
    Another favorite landmark of mine! So much beauty. You could spend days there at that cathedral and still find something you hadn't seen.

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    1. I must confess I have only gone inside the cathedral once. I know there is so much more to appreciate in future visits.

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  7. Numerology in architecture...so interesting! Beautiful photos :)

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    1. I was fascinated by the numerology - I wish I had taken notes :)

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  8. If memory serves, I did climb the 387 steps to view the city from above. I also purchased wax candles from the church to give to family members back home. For some reason, that sticks with me.
    Also, I wonder if there is some significance to the number of steps, 387?

    Gail’s 2016 April A to Z Challenge
    Theme: The Fun in Writing #217

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    1. I had wondered about the 387 number as well :) I didn't thoroughly research the answer but may do it sometime after this blogging challenge is over.

      You are in far better shape than I am - I'm not sure I could make up the steps and once up, I fear I couldn't get back down :)

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  9. She truly looks beautiful. But then, I've always loved gothic architecture. I like its semplicity of forms :-)

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

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