Notre-Dame de Reims

As soon as you turn into Rue Libergier in Reims, France, heading east, you can see the unmistakeable shape of the Cathedral of Our Lady facing you at the other end of the street.

Reims cathedral from the other end of Rue Limbirgier

This is not my photo, unfortunately.  I captured this from Google Maps Street View. I was at the wheel when I encountered this sight, and could not use a camera.

But as the great building gradually gets closer, you begin to realise a) that Rue Libergier is a much longer street than you first thought it was, and b) Notre-Dame Cathedral is much bigger than it first appears to be.

Approaching Notre-Dame Reims from Rue Libergier

Approaching Notre-Dame Reims from Rue Libergier.  This is my picture, taken at traffic lights, just as they turned green.

Reims is not a big city.  Although it’s the biggest urban centre in the Champagne-producing area to the north east of Paris,  it has a population of less than 200,000, so this great cathedral still dominates its surrounds like few of its peers are able to do any more.  This one has not been hemmed in and dwarfed by modern steel and glass and concrete office blocks.

Eventually, you have to abandon your car and approach the cathedral across its broad forecourt on foot, and it just keeps on getting bigger and bigger.

The facade of the mighty Notre-Dame cathedral at Reims

The facade of the mighty Notre-Dame cathedral at Reims

The three massive porticos fill your vision, encrusted with sculptures, beautifully proportioned, and you begin to realise why it was that all but one of the kings of France chose to be crowned here in Reims. This is a truly impressive gothic cathedral.

The porticos at the main entrance to Reims Cathedral

The porticos at the main entrance to Reims Cathedral

And then you look up.  What a thrill!  ‘Awesome’ is not a word I use very often, but some significant awe was definitely felt by me that day.  No picture can ever hope to capture the feeling of being one of those tiny, puny, people, standing in front of this extraordinary building.

As you look, from quite close up, at this gorgeous cathedral, it's impossible to see it all at once, but the rich details and the proportions of the whole structure work beautifully together.

As you look, from quite close up, at this gorgeous cathedral, it’s impossible to see it all at once, but the rich details and the proportions of the whole structure work beautifully together.

It’s also hard to grasp that it was people no bigger than those ant-like figures at the bottom of this image who built this building more than 700 years ago.  By hand.  Astonishing.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: