|Notre Dame Cathedral's South Façade as seen from across the Seine River.|
Notre Dame means "Our Lady." Specifically, it refers to Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus. During this time of year leading up to Christmas, I often think of Mary. What must it have been like to travel so far from home while hugely pregnant? What did she think of winging it with accommodations once they got to Bethlehem? Did she look at Joseph and ask, "Seriously? A manger? That's all you could get us?" Or was she patient, kind, and compliant? Perhaps she was thinking, "At this point, I don't care! I am about to pop." At least she and Joseph did not have that whole "what to name the baby" quandary since the Angel Gabriel specifically told her, "You are to give him the name Jesus."
Notre Dame is huge with so much to take in and see. Let's focus on just one theme. This post is in honor of Mary as I show you some of the many ways she is depicted throughout the cathedral. If you like, listen to this recording of "Hail Mary" sung by the Notre Dame choir as you read on.
The main entrance to the cathedral is at the West Façade. A large rose window measuring 9.6 meters is at the center and forms a halo around a statue of the Virgin Mary presenting the Baby Jesus to the city between two angels.
This statue on the left side of the West Façade at the Portal of Mary was restored in Viollet-le-Duc's workshop in the 18th century after being destroyed during the French Revolution in 1793.
The Portal of St. Anne on the right side of the West Façade was installed in 1200. The Virgin with Child in the Romanesque style is centered over the doors. Mary sits on a throne under an elaborate canopy holding a scepter and her Son. Jesus is holding the Book of Law in his lap. Flanked on both sides by angels, the Bishop of Paris is on her left, and the King of France is on the right.
Numerous stained glass windows illuminate the inside of the cathedral. I suspect that some were created more recently than others based on their varying styles.
|I wonder if this is one of the few remaining medieval windows.|
|This one's lack of color makes me think it is not as old as the rest.|
Statues of Mary also decorate the inside of the cathedral.
The vaulted ceiling soars 10 stories above the pews. Can you imagine what the worshippers who attended the Dedication Mass in 1345 must have felt?
|Close up view of medallion at the top|
Paintings in a style the reminds me of Russian icons also grace one side of the sanctuary.
As we head into this last week before Christmas, my family is also traveling to our hometown. Our journey is long, but we have accommodations arranged. No sleeping with the livestock for us.
Wishing you joy, happiness, and safe travels!
This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, "Oh the Places I've Been" at The Tablescaper, and Travel Photo Monday at Travel Photo Discovery. Check them out for more around-the-world travel inspiration.