Friday, May 10, 2013

Poitiers: Notre-Dame-La-Grande and Cathedrale St. Pierre

By Thursday morning we had figured out that Thursday, too, was a national holiday, seriously, the feast of the assumption or the ascension or somesuch. Another day of closed boulangeries and day-old bread. But we figured the parking situation nearest old town Poitiers might be relatively clear, and so we drove there and indeed found a nice big empty parking lot at the foot of the hill, by the gare, not a kilometer from our major sights for the day.
On the square of Notre-Dame-La-Grande

Notre-Dame-La-Grande is a 12th century Romanesque job,
reputed to have the weirdest and most idiosyncratic facade
in France; we didn't think so; but then our standard for
weird has gotten much higher recently

The interior looked interesting, arched barrel
vaults and paint, but, Vicki noted, they were
having lunch, and it wouldn't do for us to go
 in to gawk and take pix and laugh

So instead we took in the antiques and collectibles market
next door

The oboe I have always dreamed of finding at such a
market; but not at the price I had dreamed of...

Joan of Arc is very big here; I will not post pix of the many
statues and other likenesses of her we encountered

Our next stop was the Cathedral of St. Pierre; many
Medieval church buildings are asymmetrical, so to speak,
but this one's west facade is particularly wanting; even
had the left tower been built, it would have been of a
different size and scale than the right one

Nice Judgment tympanum

Inside, it has the feel of a Gothic, if not the height; the
vaulting is of the Plantagenet pre-Gothic style; many of
the arches are pointed; many are not

It has some nice blue windows

And the giant Clicquot organ (runs on champagne)

But the big draw is the 12th century
lancet window at the head of the apse,
a Crucifixion, given by Eleanor of Aquitaine,
with her and her husband, Henry II of
England, and their four sons (including
famous Richard and infamous John),
pictured at the bottom

Thus; we last saw them as Peter O'Toole and Kathryn
Hepburn in The Lion in Winter

It is most unusual to see a woman--other than Eve, Mary, or
the Sybils--depicted in one of these churches; nonetheless,
here is one, working, possibly sewing, along with other
depictions of bakers, butchers, hunters, etc., in the choir

Grilling a martyr

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