It’s currently raining outside at a brisk temperature of 27 degrees. Probably the warmest it has been all week. After a few days indoors, the cabin fever started to get to me. I decided to go on an adventure myself while Connor was in class.
A short 30-minute walk from the house, up the hill, cutting through Chinatown, passing at least four Tim Hortons, onto cobblestone streets I was met with the courtyard of Notre Dame Basilica.
In the middle of the courtyard was a monument for Paul de Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve (okay I’ll admit it I had to look this guy’s name up because I couldn’t read the plaque that was in French (but if you were wondering he’s a military officer and founder of Montreal; whoo go history!)). I’ve visited the courtyard late last year with my dear friend Riane and her boyfriend Jordy. We didn’t have the patience to wait in the never ending line to see the inside, for the weather was too beautiful to stay indoors.
Today there was no line, ice and snow on the ground, rain falling from the sky,and only $20 CAD in my pocket for a ticket, tea later, and a souvenir. Walking up the steps, through the heavy wooden doors I paid my $4 CAD tickets, and headed on in. I didn’t really think much of how it would look inside during my walk there, or even when standing outside of the church. Once opening the second entry door I was met with blue. Blue geometric tiles sprawled across the floor. Dramatic blue lighting shone behind the alter. Pale blue vaulted ceilings sprinkled with gold stars. Stained blue windows depicting stories of of the bible. The blue went on and on.
As an art student you’d think I would know why blue was used so much inside of the church. Well buddy you thought wrong because I actually do not have an explanation– but I do have an inclination. *Interest sophisticated nerd background music* Ultramarine blue was used in various paintings throughout art history. This specific blue symbolized power and wealth because the pigment itself was costly to make. Royalty requested this blue to be used in their self portraits quite often; 90% of the time it was the brightest color on the canvas.
It’s safe to assume the previous stated is the actual reason as to why it was used, for the church herself stood tall at the top of a hill (that I had to climb in the rain), surrounded by cobblestone streets, and has her own courtyard with the founder of her city protecting her. Needless to say this ol’ church is pretty damn important.
Her skeletal structure as wrapped in endless gold prints that stretch from end to end. They carefully framed the flower windows that brought in natural light from above. the basilica had six thick rows of benches and three levels high lined with paintings for all to gather and appreciate her beauty. Stained glass windows that depict the story of the bible allowed the natural light to sprawl across the floor.
Now, I’m not one to be religious but I am the slightest art student who could appreciate the motivation and skill it took to build an exquisite structure in the late 1800’s. Where there weren’t cranes to help lift the heavy stone to build up, factories that manufactured the wood paneling all throughout the church, laser printers that spit out large canvases of Jesus, or let alone a radio to keep you entertained. It’s mind boggling to visit sights such as this one because of the lack of modern technology they had, and yet she stands graciously to this day. At the same time it’s frustrating because there’s never enough time to fully appreciate all the details that symbolized what the church stood for.
I may not know the stories that Notre Dame stands for, but I can say she deserves to stand proudly with beauty and grace.
While sitting in the arms of Notre Dame Basilica, I assure you all is swell.