Recently, I had a chance to include two French cities during a trip to Europe: Paris and Vienne. The former included a much anticipated visit to Notre Dame Cathedral, the ancient site on the Ile de la Cite situated on the Seine River. I spent about an hour on a self-guided tour under the church in the preserved archeological site, then a couple of hours in the church proper. Massive, beautiful, moving. Surprisingly (to me), visitors were allowed into the church in tourist mode during Mass, thankfully sans talking and flash photography. The pics in the body of this post below were taken with my iPhone, so pardon the quality…
To my delight, however, I found an unexpected treasure during my brief stay in Vienne, in the form of the Cathedral of St. Maurice. On a lark, I had decided to take a walk through the town with an hour before a scheduled business meeting. The streets were right out of the travelogue: narrow, intricate, some cobblestone. Several blocks from my hotel I turned a corner and suddenly encountered the imposing façade of the cathedral. Fortunately the front door was unlocked and I was able to spend a rich 30 minutes enjoying this gorgeous church, which shares the Gothic architecture and general chronology of Notre Dame.
I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to visit these churches, and hope to return with more time and preparation, and to continue to learn more about their history.
Vive l’Eglise Catholique!