On the 11th of April, Ames and I took a cab to the airport. We were running just a few minutes behind, but I thought our taxi driver would make up the difference. I don't remember if he did or not, because all I remember is that when we got there, Mom and Dad were waiting for us, all of their luggage gathered, patiently waiting for us. They had been their for an hour because their flight got in really early.
Sheesh. (Although, hooray for Delta. And, frankly, it makes me that much more likely to buy tickets on the direct flight next time I fly to Paris.)
We got our rental car, plugged in the navigation system after figuring out how to power it with no working cigarette lighter, and headed towards Strasbourg. When we arrived we just bummed around the hotel, because it was late enough that we didn't want to bother going into the downtown area to see sights.
In the morning, we went into town. Here's what we were able to enjoy:
Correct me if I'm wrong (please), but I think the style of the architecture is Art Nouveau. Please note that I'm 28 and this year is the first time my brain registered that Art Deco and Art Nouveau are different. Yep, I'm lame.
However, I must admit that I'm a big fan of Art Nouveau design. Not necessarily all of the prints of random women that you see all over the place (at least in Paris), but stained glass, woodwork, architecture, and iron work. I came across several lovely examples (assuming I've correctly recognized Art Nouveau) over Easter vacation. Some in Strasbourg as you can see, as well as an awesome building in Prague, and then a surprising Art Nouveau room in a museum in Paris I went to with Mom and Dad when we arrived back to Paris.
(The jury is still out on Art Deco, mostly because I can't seem to wrap my mind around what it is exactly. It seems like it covers a really broad spectrum.)
I digress. This lovely library isn't all we saw. (Though, before moving on, I want to point out that the script above is a series of names of French authors. I thought that was a nice touch on the exterior of the library. Here we have J[ean] de la Fontaine and [Jean] Mabillon.)
[Edit: I was having a hard time putting these together logistically, because in my head we walked farther past the library to get to the cathedral, but in Strasbourg, we parked right next to it. Turns out I have serious memory issues. Library = Reims. Cathedral = Strasbourg. Thanks, dad!]
Okay. Moving on.
The cathedral is really beautiful.
And even though it's completely irritating to visit these beautiful places and see scaffolding all over them half of the time, the results of the cleaning and restoration work are amazing.
Just look at the difference between the portion that has been cleaned and the portion that hasn't.
The interior of the cathedral was beautiful, as well. I didn't take very many pictures because they were in the middle of a gorgeous Easter Mass.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that I was barely able to contain my emotions after hearing the organ play and then listening to the Hallelujiah Chorus in that beautiful setting. And when I picked up a copy of the program, across the front of the program was this beautiful scripture from Matthew 28 (5-6):
"Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here for he is risen as he said."
I think the cumulative effect of the beautiful atmosphere, the gorgeous music that celebrates the Resurrection, and Matthew's testimony was almost too much for me to take in.
Here's a little taste. (And remember, they are singing in French--so the Hallelujiah's will be nice and clear, but the rest will probably be a little more difficult to decipher.) The acoustics aren't a dream, but obviously the best acoustics were in the part of the cathedral reserved for those actually participating in the mass.
(The video absolutely doesn't do justice to the sound OR the beauty of the light that was shining through all of the stained glass. Hm. I guess you just had to be there. *Smirk*)
The town itself was very charming--especially the area just around the cathedral.