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Friday, 19 September 2014

Day 13: Saint-Thierry To Reims

Notre-Dame de Reims, the splendid Gothic cathedral of Reims, where the kings of France were crowned. It was badly damaged during World War One by German shelling, but restored and fully reopened in 1938. Since then there has been a constant programme of cleaning and restoration.

The south portal of the west front. No other European cathedral, apart from Chartres, has more carved figures. 

Detail from the south portal.

Detail from the north portal of the west front. The figure on the right is the famous 'Smile of Reims', restored after war damage.

This serenely smiling angel has become a potent symbol for the French, representing the triumph of hope over despair, of reconciliation over conflict, of peace over war.  

Inside the main west door are more carved figures enclosing a rose window of stained glass.

This portrait of Joan of Arc in stained glass is by the English artist Greg Tricker.

For me, the crowning glory of the cathedral's interior is Marc Chagall's triptych of stained glass windows created for the eastern apse. They are just so full of colour, swirling energy and life.

Chagall's central window.


Ruth Mowry said...

Having traveled by train to Chartres, seen the cathedral loom up out of the countryside, then explore it inside and out, I think it must be utterly amazing to walk across the country and come up to Reims and its cathedral!

George said...

Splendid photos of the cathedral! Love the rather modern portrait of Joan of Arc.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, both, for continuing to follow my journey!

I have never been to Chartres but would love to do so.