Saint Denis

Notre Dame is covered with fascinating sculptures. One of the most interesting to me is the one of Saint Denis. He was once the bishop of Paris and was beheaded up on Montmartre which means Mountain of Matryrs. Then, according to legend, he picked up his head and preaching all the way, walked down hill where he finally stopped two miles later which is the location of the Saint Denis Basilica which is well worth a visit.


You can find a sculpture of him on the left side of the left front door of Notre Dame. There are two angels on either side of him saying, “Oh, my! Would you look at that!” Look at the line of little sculptures to the right of the angel on the right-they are signs of the zodiac. Apparantly, it was okay back then to put them on a church.


A close up.


A view of Notre Dame from the back. I love it when the sun comes out on a cloudy day and outlines the cathedral with gold.

7 thoughts to “Saint Denis”

  1. And the flying buttresses at the back where one can sit on a bench in the sunshine and have sandwiches, ah the memories. The rose window too, but funnily I never noticed Saint Denis. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. I quite like that photo of the back of Notre Dame. Nobody thinks to go around to see the back of it – the front is so impressive! – but they should take the time to walk all the way around, shouldn’t they? It’s beautiful from all angles!

  3. Ya, once upon a time Christianity was a lot freer than it seems to be now. They were happy to incorporate all sorts of symbolism and make it part of their faith. The Cathedral at Lyon, I believe has a lot of Chinese I Ching type symbolism worked into its architecture, too. Even the cross and the fish and other symbols we associate with Christians today were adapted from pagan symbols (not to mention all the other stuff like Christmas trees, rising from the dead, halos, etc.) You notice such interesting details with your photographs.

  4. Gosh I missed this little tidbit when I was at Notre Dame in 2001! Well, if I’m every blessed to be in Paris again I’ll look for it. Interesting story…maybe the sculptor should have portrayed him with his mouth open as though he was preaching.

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