Jardin des Plantes & Notre Dame Cathedral

Reluctantly dragging ourselves away from St. Denis Cathedral, we made our way south to the Seine and the Jardin des Plantes, Paris’ botanical gardens. 

The Natural History Museum and zoo are here, so the obligatory carousel was appropriately themed.

The gardens were a bit disappointing – especially after the glories of the Chantilly Flower Show. Things were a bit too orderly for my Anglified tastes. But there were some lovely bits pleasant strolls.

Leaving the gardens, we strolled along the Left Bank back towards the Ile de Cite and Notre Dame Cathedral.

We arrived at the cathedral just before 5pm, an hour before the usual closing time.  On entering, we realized that mass was underway – a special mass, featuring the Archbishop (and about a dozen other priests) celebrating the end of Pentecost. Quite the spectacle – here’s a clip (and note the woman cantor, in blue). 

Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris)  was built more or less contemporaneously with St. Denis. It features ribbed vaulting, stunning stained glass windows and fabulous flying buttresses.

The organ has over 8000 pipes, five keyboards and 115 stops. We returned to Notre Dame on Tuesday night for an organ recital – amazing virtuosity but little sound that I’d consider melodious.

We weren’t able to wander the interior with mass underway, but it’s another space with exquisite carvings.

And the exterior is even better.

We walked home past St. Chappelle, silhouetted in the twilight.

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