Soaring Vaults and Great Treasures

We planned to make the city and cathedral of Amiens a particular focus for our cathedral pilgrimage. Besides Rouen, we spent the most time exploring here than any other church or place in France. I initially considered spending our whole time exploring Chartres Cathedral, arguably the best-preserved Gothic cathedral in the country. That would have been glorious but limited. We wanted a broad experience of cathedrals and France rather than a focused one.

Amiens and its Cathedral was a good choice for a week-long stay. The 140 feet high vaults of Notre-Dame d’Amiens are the highest of any completed cathedral. Its history, features, and treasures are fascinating and exceptional. And as I shared in a previous post, the city has many historical places and monuments (and we found the residents to be exceedingly friendly – some of the nicest people we met on the trip).

If climbing the towers of Amiens Cathedral raises you closer to the heavens, walking through its portals grants you entrance to them. The rock roof floats high above the ground while Rococo ornamentation dances around you.

With a pilgrimage maze under your feet, the glazed triforium of the apse allows the light to dazzle your eyes.

Like the parade of statues on the exterior of the building, the inside narrative displays of sculpture and quatrefoils are equally full of meaning. Again, Lisa was lost in her study of them while I became a frantic shutterbug attempting to capture digitally what our eyes could barely absorb.

The choir sits behind the bars of a locked gate. What I could make out peering between them was the most ornately carved choir stalls I’ve ever seen. A gentleman saw us looking through the bars dumbstruck and approached us to say a tour was available in 15 minutes. The wait was handsomely rewarded, but more of that next time.

Index of blog posts for our Cathedral Pilgrimage