Saturday, May 17, 2014

Striving for heaven and peace on earth - Part 1 - Amiens

Wednesday, May 14th
Up until today it has been mostly cloudy with a bit of rain and occasional sun. But today what a glorious sight - the sun, not just peaking out form behind the clouds, but all over the place. I guess France heard we were on our way to Rouen today and wanted to make us welcome.
Early morning looking out our bedroom window at Rosa's home! Real sun!
Enroute to Rouen we stopped briefly by Amiens and Beauvais to see some fabulous cathedrals, tapestries and roman ruins. A really full day with beautiful farms and landscape to complement the ancient cities. Rather than cram it all into one blog for the day, I decided to break it up by city.

Amiens
Set on high ground and soaring up to heaven, this 13th century church is one of the finest examples of  gothic architecture in France. Christianity in Amiens dates back to the 3rd century according to some documents and was wiped out in the 4th century by Vandals and other pagan barbarians. By the 5th century there are well established records of Christianity establishing itself in the region.  There was a Romanesque Church on the site until it burned down in 1218. Amiens was to be blessed with the largest and one of the purest Gothic cathedrals in France. Started in 1220 and only taking 50 years to build, allowed it to retain a singular gothic vision of reaching for the heavens.
The Notre-Dame Cathedral is the heart of the city and all roads,
paths and steps seem to lead up to it.
Around the church are some very nice timber-framed shops and
homes. This style is quite common in northern France.
Image yourself living in the 13th century and seeing this church for the first time. Keep in mind that you probably haven't seen any structure taller that the city gate. Not only is it staggering in its size, but the fact that you a poor citizen of the city can go inside and worship is equally staggering.
Leaving human perceptions behind, this building is intended
to reflect God's scale and scope, exalted above all else.
The stone carvings and exquisite detail are everywhere.
This is just a side aisle!
The central transept reaches up 137 feet.
Only the cathedral in Beauvais is higher.
Total length is 438 feet, front to back.
My favorite picture in Amiens. Looking straight up made me dizzy!
Gorgeous organ.
Quite a pulpit!
Chapels with brilliant stained glass surround the church. 
Not just one of these rosettes, but 3. This is from the right side of the church.
They were not content to have one grand entrance, but three,
one in front and one on each side. This is the south entrance.
Rosette from south entrance.
A last look back at the cathedral.