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Historic Paris - Ile de la Cite with Notra Dame and Saint-Chapelle

Ile de la Cite (or Lutetia to us Asterix fans) is a small island located in the very center of Paris. Consequently, it is where the city of Paris was founded and contains its most ancient buildings.


Palais de Justice

* The Palais de Justice (Palace of Justice) is where the justice of the state has been administered since medieval times. It was also the seat of the French Parliament from the 16th Century to the French Revolution.



Conciergerie


* Right next door to the Palace of Justice is the Conciergerie, where thousands of Parisians were imprisoned after being found guilty by the courts during the infamous Reign of Terror. This was their last stop before the guillotine.


Conciergerie


* Weird gargoyle-looking dude striking a pose.


Conciergerie


* The warden’s room, which does not look cozy at all!


Conciergerie


* I did not know that they held the Beatles in here!


Conciergerie


* The courtyard where the prisoners could mingle, get some fresh air and exercise. Men and women were housed in different buildings.


Conciergerie


* Take note of the black gate to the right, which is where the guards would put the prisoners who were to be executed that day. This is where they would say their last goodbyes to their comrades.

Marie Antoinette Prison

* Without a doubt, the Conciergerie’s most famous prisoner has to be Queen Marie Antoinette, whose creepy-as-hell cell comes complete with a shrouded mannequin.


Saint-Chapelle


* The exterior of Saint-Chapelle, which in my opinion, is the most beautiful church in the world.


Saint-Chapelle


* The Saint-Chapelle is a royal, medieval, Gothic chapel built in 1248 to house Louis IX's collection of Christian relics including: the actual Crown of Thorns (which is now at Notre Dame), the Image of Edessa (said to contain Christ’s face much like the Shroud of Turin), fragments of the True Cross (the actual one where he was crucified) and the Holy Lance (used to pierce Christ’s side) and some 30 other items.

People often make the mistake of thinking that the first floor is all there is of the chapel, but when you go up a flight of stairs near the exit…


Saint-Chapelle


* .. THIS is what you behold; an entire room built out of intricate stained glass. Prepare to loudly gasp upon seeing this for the first time; it was hilarious hearing people very audibly gasping every 5 seconds, signaling the newcomers to the room.


Saint-Chapelle

* The altar where the holy relics were kept secure. Although I don’t think anyone was looking at the altar as they were too busy gawking at the stained glass.


Saint-Chapelle


* Depicting scenes from the Old Testament, New Testament as well as the history of how the relics came to be housed in this Chapel, no amount of words can describe how gloriously EPIC this place is.

Saint-Chapelle


* The very detailed and intricate artwork extends also to the arcs and pillars supporting this structure.


Cathedral of Notre Dame

* The Cathedral of Notre Dame is one of the most well-known churches in the world, one of France’s crown jewels, one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, is the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese in Paris and home of the hunchback, Quasimodo (Sanctuaryyyyy!!).


Cathedral of Notre Dame


* People always try to spot the gargoyles, but no one really talks about the sculptures attached to almost every wall of the Cathedral. Full of apostles, saints, popes, men of christ and prominent Parisians, it becomes a great challenge guessing which one is which.


Cathedral of Notre Dame


* Massive and spacey with a great lighting effect, Notre Dame has far less folk praying than tourists. It seemed that almost everyone was taking a picture or admiring a work of art. That kinda made the place feel less holy to me.


Cathedral of Notre Dame Treasury


* After the gargoyles, Notre Dame’s most famous possession has to be it’s Treasury Room containing the numerous relics collected by the Franks over the centuries, including those previously held in Saint-Chapelle.

Seen above in the middle, is the former reliquary of Christ’s actual Crown of Thorns.


Cathedral of Notre Dame Treasury

* This bust of Saint Denis contains his bones. Saint Denis was the Bishop of Paris in the 3rd Century AD and is famous for having his head chopped off, after which he picked up his head with his hands and walked 10 kilometers preaching a sermon the entire way. Pretty crazy stuff!


Cathedral of Notre Dame Treasury


* Pictured on the center is the final reliquary of Christ’s Crown of Thorns before it was enshrined in its own altar in a separate section of the Cathedral. This reliquary is adorned by the statuettes of Saint Louis (also King Louis IX of France and collector of Christ’s relics), Saint Helen (Mother of Constantine, finder of the True Cross, Crown of Thorns and Builder of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem) and King Baldwin (King of Jerusalem as seen in the movie, Kingdom of Heaven).


Cathedral of Notre Dame Treasury

* The Cross in the center contains bone fragments collected from dozens of Christian saints.


Cathedral of Notre Dame Treasury


* Wall containing relics from the various Cardinals / Bishops / Priests in the Cathedral’s history. I should’ve bought a small picture and tape!


Cathedral of Notre Dame Treasury

* With all the cool stuff displayed, the Treasury really could have used a tour guide. It also would have helped if the item descriptions etched on the glass in French included an English translation.


Crown of Thorns

* Currently, the Crown of Thorns is enshrined in its own altar, behind the main altar of the Cathedral, and has it’s own pews and praying area.

The actual Crown of Thorns can only be seen in the first Friday of every month when it is paraded around the Cathedral in a solemn ceremony.

Notre Dame


* I love how there are random burial plots located throughout these medieval churches. Apparently this guy had a pet lion (or dog shaved like a lion).


Notre Dame

* Easily the creepiest tomb in the whole Cathedral! Take note of the weeping angel and Death itself on the right.


Notre Dame

* More burial plots; this time with emblems probably indicating barons and knights.


Notre Dame

* Side-shot of the short mass that was going on while us tourist-folk were walking around.


Notre Dame

* From this angle the Cathedral looks half-full, but trust me, everyone was at the side and behind the altar taking pictures of the place.



Notre Dame

* A final shot of the very impressive doorway to the Cathedral.


Statue of Charlemagne

* Statue of the great king, Charlemagne, Ruler of the Franks, Italians and the first Holy Roman Emperor. Called the “Father of Europe”, Charlemagne’s empire united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Roman Empire.


Notre Dame Pigeons


* Outside the Cathedral, we had our lunch of salami with mayo-mustard sandwiches and took the time to feed the pigeons (there must have been a hundred of them greedy bastards).


Notre Dame

* The scene outside Notre Dame. The area is well-known for being the best place to buy quality souvenirs at affordable prices.

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