The Trifecta

Cathedrals populate France like castles dot the Irish landscape.  Virtually every town has one. Today, John and I — along with our friends Eugene and Claudia Miller — completed the trifecta of cathedrals sightseeing — Chartres, Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, all in one day!

We started out at the Cathredral Notre-Dame de Chartres — about an hour southwest of Paris by train. You can see the cathedral in the distance from the train — a shadowy specter rising heavenward from the flat landscape. It is an amazing monument to the mother of Christ.

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It was a bitter cold, cloudy day when we entered the cathedral which is resplendent with stained glass. I can only imagine that entering the cathedral on a sunny day would be like stepping inside a rainbow as ALL light entering the cathedral at Chartres passes through colored glass.

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The aspect of Chartres that I like most is the maze in the floor. The maze symbolizes our spiritual journey toward God. Early pilgrims would literally wind their way through the maze on their knees. A garden behind the cathedral featured a copy of a portion of the maze which was helpful as chairs reside on top of the most of the maze in the cathedral.

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We left Chartres and returned to Paris and made a beeline to Notre Dame. While I have visited Notre Dame before, I had never toured the Treasury. Notre Dame houses relics — two of particular interest are the Crown of Thorns and a sliver of wood purported to have been taken from the Cross at Christ’s crucifixion. These relics are housed at Notre Dame’s Treasury along with a plethora of other items — everything from robes worn by Napeleon III at his coronation to cameos of every Pope since Peter. Interesting place…

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Of course, Notre Dame is no slouch when it comes to stained glass either. I particularly like this one..the story  of  the feeding of the 5000.

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Sacre Coeur was constructed in the late 1800s. It’s a beautiful light on a hill (Montmartre) overlooking the City of Lights.

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