Gargoyles, “les guardiens” of the churches of Paris

From the North Tower of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, one can see many other beautiful churches in the skyline. Nearby, also on Ile de la Cite is another Gothic style church with exquisite 13 c. stained glass windows, Sainte Chapelle. It was consecrated in 1248 and was part of the royal family residence until the 14th century. This church was also restored in the 19 century.

This pensive gargoyle on the tower of Notre Dame, seems to watch over Sainte Chapelle in this photograph. Photo by Catherine Kelly, 2004.

On a distant hilltop to the north, stands Sacre Coeur Basilica, a magnificent 20th-century Roman Catholic Church decorated with mosaics inside. Sacre Coeur and its quaint neighborhood Montmartre are also must-do destinations for any visit to Paris. I recommend climbing to the tower of Sacre Coeur as well for a fantastic view.

Gargoyle of Notre Dame Cathedral frames the distant view of Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris. Photo by Catherine Kelly, 2004.

Finds at Phipps Conservatory

If your city offers an indoor botanic garden in a conservatory, you have an escape from winter in your backyard. The Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh offers lush and exotic vegetation displayed with artistic vision at all times of the year. In a recent visit, I found a Japanese theme in a long gallery, where 24 mm lens created a compelling composition.

Japanese umbrellas at Phipps Conservatory
Japanese umbrellas at Phipps Conservatory

Through the years, I have also enjoyed photographing Chihuly glass and gargoyles harmonizing with the plants.

Chihuly glass at Phipps Conservatory, 2008
Chihuly glass at Phipps Conservatory, 2008

Gargoyle at Phipps Conservatory
Gargoyle at Phipps Conservatory

Make a visit to your conservatory today. My favorites are the New York Botanic Garden and the Naples Botanic Garden. Feel free to share your favorites.