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London, United Kingdom
May 24, 2004
Its riverside position has been home to a religious institution since Louis the German founded an abbey there during the 9th century. Both have changed much in the intervening years, and in fact only the crypt of the original structure has survived, whilst the fine cobbled square outside seems too nice to have ever been the location of a pig market.
The main façade lacks the elaboration usually associated with Gothic architecture, and did not seem too impressive when first seen. However, the subtle charms of its pale stone, harmonious form and slender clock tower have become much more apparent to me since the initial view.
Meanwhile, the interior is for the most part similarly low key. Nevertheless, its simplicity feels bright and elegant rather than heavy and austere, and an ornate organ adds some aesthetic interest to the main part of the structure.
However, the reason that the place of worship is remarkable instead of merely nice is the stained glass that is located close to the main entrance in the almost separate Romanesque choir. In 1970, the then octogenarian artist Marc Chagall created the five incredibly unusual works, portraying a different biblical scene using mostly warm variations of one primary colour in each. Every window is stunning in its own right, and I loved the bold contrast between the understated venerable setting and the vibrant modern pieces, which is surprisingly effective.
From journal Zürich - More interesting than might be imagined
July 5, 2002
From journal Amazing Zürich