Breathtakingly beautiful, la Cathédrale d’Amiens

I’ve lived a long time and seen a lot of sights, and this – so far – is the most beautiful building I have ever seen in my life.  Nothing else compares – it is transcendently beautiful and when it is lit against the starry night it literally takes your breath away.  When the lights come on, there is an audible gasp among the crowd of several hundred people gathered in the winter evening chill to witness it.  Once the cathedral is lit, you completely forget how cold you are.

The problem is no picture can do it justice.  You simply cannot get the idea of the height of this magificent cathedral – how it seems to soar to the heavens – unless you are standing in front of it.   Imagine … if it can inspire such awe in people from the 21st century – people who have seen skyscrapers and jumbo jets and Disneyland  – what did this look like to people 500 years ago?  It must have truly seemed like the portals to heaven.  It even looks like that today and we are much harder to impress.

019To get some idea of the scale, it would take the height of two people just to reach the feet of the first row of figures under this portico.  (You can see this in the photo below)

023025The light show (which they call the polychromie sur la Cathédrale d’Amiens) is supposedly based on the actual colors that these figures were originally painted.  The paint had worn off over the centuries, but apparently enough traces remained for it to be reconstructed by this light show.

022It is utterly splendid.  It would be a shame for anyone to come to France and not make a trip to Amiens to see this.


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