Jean Bureau Gilkeson, 3 kilos 700 mgs!
Monthly Archives: September 2010
Before coming to Paris, you hear so much about the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame etc., etc., which are both so beautiful, don’t get me wrong. You hear a little bit about “Sacre Coeur…the beautiful white church on the hill in Monmartre”..but no one told me how absolutely breathtaking the Basilica is and how absolutely amazing the neighborhood of Monmartre is. It is by far my favorite place in Paris thus far.
I wrote my parents an email right after having returned from Monmartre. The experience was fresher in my mind at the time, so I am going to copy an excerpt from the email so you can get a better idea of how I truly feel about this beautiful place!
here it is:
I went to Montmartre (martyr’s mountain) and Sacre Coeur Basilica. I will try and give a visual explanation but I know I won’t do it any justice. For starters, it is the prettiest part of Paris, no doubt about it. It is a total bohemian area, full of vintage shops and artsy, earthy people. It is up on a big hill, with little winding cobble stoned alleyways everywhere. When you get to the Sacre Coeur, it takes your breath away. I read up on it before going and when it was built during the French Revolution, it was meant to restore people’s faith, and I think it still carries out it’s purpose today. It is a huge, monumental white Basilica on the summit of Montmartre. It is all white and it’s façade has a beautiful portico. It has 3 huge Islamic inspired domes, which make it very unique compared to the other more gothic cathedrals of Paris. I liked it so much because it combined so many different styles, the architecture seemed to be a combination of a little bit of Roman (from the columns), Islamic (because of the domes), and Byzantine (on the interior)…whoever the architect was, he was definitely reacting against something at the time! It was very unusual, and I kind of understand why I never studied it in any of my art history architecture classes…it cannot be categorized!
On another note, part of what made Sacre Coeur so stunning was the hill it is on was covered in the prettiest, greenest grass and flowers and trees and ooooodles of people laying on the grass and enjoying the day. It was a sight to see, I preferred the vantage point of being at the bottom of the hill and looking up at it…they say churches are supposed to be the house of God and this one truly epitomizes that idea. I felt like I was standing at the gates of heaven! I already cannot wait to go back…
Since I’ve spent so much time describing the exterior, I won’t dwell on the interior, although they completely reflect each other and were both equally amazing. The Blessed Sacrament is continually on display (and has been since 1885, I read) so no pictures were allowed and we had to slowly and quietly process through it. The most amazing part was the mosaic above the apse and altar on the middle and biggest dome. I got out of line and stood directly on the oculus (my teacher always said this is the very best vantage point for a panoramic view of mosaics or frescos in basilicas…she was right…it is the point on the ground that matches up perfectly to the middle of the point of the dome…hard to describe but hopefully you understand…it is usually marked on the ground so it is easy to find.) Anyways, the mosaic was of Christ in Majesty …and it HAS to be the biggest mosaic of its kind, if not the biggest mosaic in the world. The colors were phenomenal and a lot of it was gilded, which made it even more stunning. The whole place smelled of incense and there were little niches dedicated to different saints for meditation all along the side aisle.
The XX cover of “You’ve got the love” By Florence+the machine….2 of my VERY favorite artists combined, yes please!
I don’t know if it is because I am from Kansas and have never really seen a beautiful park before, but I was completely blown away by how stunning and heavenly Parc Monceau was. The best part about it was that I discovered it on accident.
I was on my way home and I decided to walk around a little bit…I thought I was on avenue Foch when I was really on avenue Hoche…an easy mistake to make! Anywho, I saw these beautiful and huge iron and gilded gates so I thought I’d have a looksie. I am not exaggerating when I say that I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It is the most ethereal place I have ever been to. I literally have never seen anything like this parc before and I was completely shocked to find such a huge and beautifully preserved piece of nature in the middle of Paris. The entire place was packed with people sunbathing, picnicking, children riding ponies etc. Honestly, it was not far off from how I imagine my own personal heaven to be like!
The entire parc was like a maze, which is very unusual to find, because most French gardens are very organized and geometric. The more I kept walking, the more fascinating and beautiful it became! There was everything from palm trees, to monuments, waterfalls, ponds and children running around everywhere. And of course every kind of flower you could ever imagine. My favorite part was this gorgeous pond with a half a row of roman columns encircling it and a huge weeping willow on a small island in the middle of the water. Weeping willows are my favorite trees and the whole scene just begged me to lay down a blanket in the sun and read a book!
Trying to describe Parc Monceau really does it no justice so I hope the pictures help you envision it…but really you have to see it with your own eyes to truly grasp it’s beauty.