In our travels we have seen many interesting churches (and other places of worship), both large and small. Of course, while in Paris we visited Notre Dame – a fairly unique church.
What hadn’t occurred to me was that Notre Dame is more generic than I had realised before I was hit with the reality as we toured around France. Naturally, if I had thought more about the translation (Our Lady) I would have realised that there were probably as many Notre Dames in France as there are Santa Marias in Italy (well maybe only as many as in Rome).
Every city or largish town in France seems to have a “Notre Dame”. There also seems to have been a competition going for several hundred years to see who could build the most imposing edifice. While Notre Dame Paris is certainly the most famous and the one that immediately comes to mind, it is not necessarily the largest or oldest of the Notre Dames.
Paris certainly holds the interest in terms of it’s gothic architecture and the romance of the building but we came across quite a few Notre Dames with larger naves, or taller bell-towers, more ornate interiors or, for us, more beauty. Surprisingly some of the larger churches (albeit not necessarily as attractive as others) have been in relatively small towns. and some of the more interesting have been smaller churches.
While it is not possible to visit every church in every town, the (relatively) few we have visited each hold their own interest in some way – and not just those named Notre Dame.