I’m off to Paris and Barcelona


I am getting ready for a two-week excursion to Paris and Barcelona with my brother. We fly to Paris on Saturday. I will be sure to post pictures.

Not your average tourist, I have been preparing for the trip by reading some academic works on Medieval art and Gothic architecture. Otto von Simson’s The Gothic Cathedral is fantastic, though I am not even half-way through it. It definitely deserves a blog post in the near future. I would also like to read Erwin Panofsky’s classic study, Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism. And, finally, I will need to read Abbot Suger on the Abbey Church of St. Denis. I am very excited about seeing St. Denis, on the northern outskirts of Paris. It is reckoned as the birthplace of Gothic architecture.

Of course, I will be seeing Chartres, and I will finish reading Henry Adam’s Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres on the plane.

The reason I wanted to go to Barcelona is not merely because Samantha Brown calls it her favorite city in Europe, as do many others. My primary reason is, of course, Antoni Gaudí. I’ve been fascinated with La Sagrada Familia for years, albeit from a distance. There are a few houses and other sites related to Gaudí as well. A couple years ago, CBS did a short documentary on Gaudí and the Sagrada Familia:

Gaudí’s works are the biggest tourist attractions in Barcelona, though perhaps rivaled by the beloved Gothic Quarter. El Barri Gòtic is home to five Basilicas, all within a few blocks of each other. That’s a bit excessive perhaps. And there are four more Basilicas in Barcelona: Saint Joseph Oriol, The Immaculate Conception (near our hotel), the Sacred Heart on Mt. Tibidabo (overlooking the city), and the Holy Family (Sagrada Familia) as the most recent and most famous.

It will be an exhilarating and exhausting two weeks!


Image: Barcelona (source)


  1. There are novels, even films, about trips like this…

    I wonder whether one can chant an Itinerarium for pilgrims in absentia?

    You can live or you can write. Forget about us. Post a week or so after you return.


    • Thanks, Bowman. I will surely be absorbing it all as slowly as I can. I assume that our hotels will have wi-fi, but I will probably be too exhausted to post anything anyway. Per usual, I will need a vacation after the vacation.

    • You probably already have it on your list, but don’t miss Saint-Chapelle. I liked it more than Notre Dame – which is of course very impressive, but also kind of scary!

      • Oh, yes, I am thrilled to see Saint-Chapelle. Our hotel is actually a few blocks from Île de la Cité, near Blvd. Saint-Germain. My brother got a good deal on the hotel.

  2. As they say, “Bon voyage.” If you happen to wander the Left Bank, do yourself a favor and take a meal at La Closerie des Lilas. It remains the best meal I’ve ever had, and was a place frequented by, among others, Hemingway, Joyce and Fitzgerald.

    • Thanks for the recommendation. I just checked its location on google maps, and it’s not far from where we’re staying. So we might check it out.

  3. Well, just watched the little video on Gaudi’s basllica. Had never seen this before. What is the word? I’m gobsmacked. An unforgettable experience for you and your brother.

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