Architecture class: Field Trips: P1 and P2

Trip Start Sep 13, 2012
Trip End Dec 21, 2013

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Monday, November 12, 2012

For many of my Architecture of Paris classes, we take walking field trips around Paris. Usually, we will learn about a certain architectural period, and then the next class we will go and visit monuments of that style. Most of the time, though, it's the other way around. 

Our first architectural visit was to Notre Dame and St.Severin church. Both are Gothic style architecture with very intricate designs, high naves, numerous stained-glass windows, and flying buttresses. Notre Dame was built a thousand years ago, extended, rebuilt, destroyed, and restored continually ever since. The last time it was restored was in the 19th century under Napoleon III. He ordered the restoration of most of the old buildings in Paris after the revolutionaries had destroyed them. The carvings and statues on the facade tell stories from the Bible so that the people who worshiped there would learn the stories. When the cathedral was first built, the only people who were literate wee the priests and nobility, so the stories were told through paintings in the stained-glass windows and sculptures. Around the three front doors, are three important bible stories: one is the Annunciation of Jesus to Mary, the other is his death, (I think), and the middle one is the Judgement. It is hard to believe that such a structure as the cathedral could have been built so long ago without modern construction tools. How did the builders get up so high? In the back of the cathedral, there is a group of flying buttresses holding up the cheval, (behind the alter but on the outside). If it were not for the flying buttresses, the walls would collapse in on themselves.  

After spending about an hour standing in front of N.D., watching the most diverse array of people come in and out of the cathedral, and listening to a stream of information from our professor, we took the short walk over to the church of Saint Severin. St. Severin is a much smaller, Gothic style church, only a couple blocks from N.D. There is almost no information on the history of the building, (I know because i had to do a little presentation on it for the class). There was a hermit back in the 5th century, i think, Severin, who lived along the Seine, and at one point he was called by the King of France at the time to perform a miracle. There is no information on what the miracle was, or if he performed it, but, supposedly, the church, (originally built in the Roman style), was built on the place of his tomb. The church, like N.D., was restored under Napoleon III after it was damaged and ransacked by the revolutionaries during the war. The most interesting feature of the church is its panel of stained-glass windows and columns behind the alter. The windows are a more modern style than any other part of the church, and the columns are spiral rather than straight up and down. 

On our second field trip, we walked for the full two hours around the city looking at Renaissance style architecture. We started at St.Chapelle, (the church attached to the Conciergerie and the Palais du Jusice). We had to go through security, airport-style, to even get into the courtyard in front of the church. We got a nice view of the outside, but out professor didn't want to have us pay to get in, so we didn't end up see, what she described to us, as the most amazing stained glass windows in existence. Next, we headed to the Fountain des Innocence. It is a four sided, Roman style fountain in some really obscure part of the 5th Arrondisement where we really have no need to go. The fountain used to be up against a church, but the church was destroyed, so, over the centuries, it has gained a fourth side, and come to stand alone in the middle of the square. There are "H"s en-carved in the sides to commemorate King Henry of France for something. I don't really remember much from the presentation because it was freezing out, and we were just standing there. Although, it was kind of perfect timing, because while we were standing there, the fountain turned on. The last building we saw that day was the church of Saint Eustache. Basically, it is a giant church that, originally, was built in the Gothic style, but it took so make, that the Gothic style went out of style. Now, half the building is in Gothic style, while the other half is a mix of Roman and Renaissance. It's kind of crippled because one of the bell towers was never finished, so it's lopsided; it's a pretty ugly building.  

As a whole, though, our architecture class is just walking around, freezing our butts off, and trying to remember all of the random information our professor tells us in case it's something she puts on the exam. 

Post your own travel photos for friends and family More Pictures

Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: