Sunday is market day in St. Denis, so of course we took advantage of that! There is a large Muslim and African population in this small town, and that is reflected in their market. It was wonderful--chaotic, noisy and fun. I think we were the only tourists there! There are vendors selling everything from clothing, fabrics, hardware and kitchen utensils to beautiful fruit, vegetables and herbs. Our pictures certainly don't capture the joy of this market, but here are a couple of shots:
Although Sunday is their big weekly outdoor market, they also have a very large permanent indoor market. It is fascinating, and reminded us of the markets in Mexico. We especially liked the spice stall and the one selling many different kinds of olives:
WE DID NOT BUY ANY PORK!:
Here's our first view of the exterior:
These detail photos of the exterior are not even the front of the cathedral-they are the north side, a secondary entrance! We forgot to take pictures of the front!
Now on to the beautiful interior.......
St. Denis Cathedral was started in 1163, 4 years before Notre Dame de Paris. It is one of the earliest Gothic cathedrals, and is certainly the most beautiful we have seen. It is the burial place of many kings and queens of France, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Henri II and Catherine of Medici. There are 42 kings, 32 queens, 63 princes and princesses buried here. There are very interesting funeral statures of each of them, here are a few examples:
For both of us the real fascination with Gothic cathedrals is the amazing architecture, especially the cross-ribbed vaulted ceilings. This was a very new technique in the 12th century, and was perfected during the 12th and 13th centuries in the construction of this cathedral. Here's a couple of pictures of that:
And one of the magnificent interior:
By now were suffering (gladly) from sensory overload, so it was time to leave. We'd spent over two hours enjoying the beauty of this place. We both agreed that it is, by far, the most beautiful cathedral (or building) we've been in.
We took 131 pictures--just be glad I didn't post more!
We wandered around the market a bit more--just because we'd enjoyed it so much in the morning. But we were cold and hungry--so it was time to Metro back to Paris.
We had a very late lunch/early dinner at a nice cafe on the way back from the Metro to our apartment. As we were both freezing, we had another bowl of delicious onion soup to warm us up, and shared a lovely composed salad. It had field greens, warm baby potatoes, slices of smoky bacon, and was had a nice vinagrette that actually managed to taste buttery as well as tangy. That was all topped off with a slice of toast and a thick piece of foie gras! Seriously yummy--just look:
As my dear friend Donna would say--it was a LARGE day! Just another wonderful day in Paris.......