Gargoyles and Chimeras

Today was the day to climb to the top of Notre Dame!  It is 400 steps to the top and another 400 to get down, and it was worth each and every step! While I was waiting in line, for an hour, I took some pictures of gargoyles from the ground.

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I need to warn you, there will be a lot of pictures in today’s post, and I am only going to do the first part of the day, or this would be ridiculously long.

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The climb up wasn’t too bad as it was broken half way at a shop where you buy tickets.  Soon I am 46 meters above the ground and face to face with my first Chimera.  These are ornamental sculptures which are depictions of monsters or mythical beings.  This Stryga, or bird of the night, is one of the most famous of Notre Dames chimeras.  Interestingly the stone these carvings are made from is full of sea shells!  You can see Sacre Coeur in the distance.

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You probably aren’t supposed to pet them, but I just had to!

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The view from up here is quite spectacular.  I am in the area between the two towers.

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And there are more chimeras and gargoyles everywhere I look!

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There were windows that were too high to look into, but I held the camera up to the glass and this is what was inside.

image After another 150 steps I am at the top of the south tower of Notre Dame and the view is even more incredible from this height, 69 meters above the ground.  Here is a different view of Notre Dame’s famous flying buttresses.

imageimageIt is easy to understand how densely populated Paris is when you see all the buildings so close together from up here. The population density of Paris ranges from a low of 8,000 people per square kilometre, in areas near Notre Dame, for example, to a density of 42,000 people per square kilometre in the area where my apartment is and other arrondissements in the north and north west of Paris.  I can barely fathom 42,000 people living in a square kilometre!

imageimageThere are sculptures everywhere I look. Dragons on this steeple,

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and more gargoyles high on this tower.

image I manage to stay up on the top of the South tower while three or four groups come up, they allow a group every ten minutes or so, but eventually we all get chased off so the next group can arrive, so I head down the 400 stairs to the bottom.  On arriving at ground level I look up, and surprise!  More gargoyles!

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I was on the walkway between the two towers, and on the top of the south tower.  If you look closely you can see people in these two pictures.

imageimageThe average visit is 50 minutes, I am up here for over two hours!  It was an amazing experience!

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4 thoughts on “Gargoyles and Chimeras

  1. Ooh la la! You look so happy in the photo (9th) where you are standing in the bottom right corner. It’s palpable! Suggestion: might make a good Christmas card.

    Merci!

    Like

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