C'est si bon!

Bonjour à tous! Je suis Vanessa, étudiante de 20 ans en France pour le moment. Je viens de Pékin, mais j'étudie à la fac à Chicago.

Hello! My name is Vanessa, a 20-year-old student in France for the moment. I come from Beijing, but I go to college in Chicago.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Inspired by nature: Gaudi's Sagrada Familia

Me at Park Guell

Bonjour à tous! (Or should I say Hola a tots! since this post is about Barcelona.)

Over the weekend I went on a little excursion to Barcelona, which could be reached from Arles in four hours by train. I know three days isn't a lot for Barcelona - in fact far from enough - but I had one of the greatest time of my life and discovered my favorite piece of architecture ever. 

Drumroll, please... Sagrada Familia by Antonio Gaudi!

Nativity facade of Sagrada Familia
The construction of this genius of a church was first started in 1951, Gaudi being the chief designer. Even today it is still far from finish, and constantly under construction. But already, it is so famous that the line to buy tickets circumscribes the entire exterior of the church. (So be smart and buy 'em online in advance!)

It is really hard to get a good picture of the entire church, because it is just SO BIG. It is said that when it is completely finished, it will be the tallest church in the world. Because of its size, I only put a small portion of the Nativity facade of the church, shown above. 

The entire church, inside and out, gave me this feeling of life. The stone it is built with doesn't seem like men put them there; instead, they seem to have sprouted from the ground. Gaudi incorporated countless elements of Mother Nature, like stone-carved snails crawling down columns, tortoises as the base of columns, vegetation covering stones, domes that look like berries... 

The interior is even more awe-inspiring. Numerous enormous fluted columns race up to the ceiling, supporting the weight of the church without it seeming effortful. The shape and the branches at the top of the columns resemble tree trunks, and the ceiling is done in shapes of leaves with little skylights everywhere, mimicking a canopy of tree leaves filtering through sunlight. Walking through the church, one feels as if this is a stroll through a forest of inspiration, imagination and mysterious prayers.

stained glass window
I say this is my favorite piece of architecture because it is just so creative and daring, that nothing even comes close in comparison. The church itself seems alive, and breathing, and it inspired great awe and spiritual uplifting in me even though I'm not religious. It is simply astonishing, and everyone should pay it a visit at least once.

Vanessa :]

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