The back is almost more interesting than the front! All the flying buttresses, weathered stone and roof shingles, and plenty of gargoyles. Originally, gargoyles were decorated waterspouts to carry water off the roof and away from the structure to avoid wear on the stone and mortar. Most medieval church gargoyles were designed as guards to scare off evil spirits and protect those within.
By the time we made it to the front, it was all lit up! They had gates going around the entire front courtyard, with lots and lots of policemen checking bags on entry, and security vehicles lining the perimeter.
We still had enough time to get something to eat before the eight o'clock service, so we went across the bridge and picked a close-by café. It was a bit chilly on the patio, but the food was warm and delicious. We even got a sparkling Christmas crêpe for dessert!
(photos by e.hunt)