For a change, I am reading Henry Adams' book about Mont Saint Michel.
"All this time we have been standing on the parvis, looking out over
the sea and sands which are as good eleventh-century landscape as
they ever were; or turning at times towards the church door which is
the pons seclorum, the bridge of ages, between us and our ancestors."

Par"vis\, Parvise \Par"vise\, n. [F. parvis, fr. LL.
paravisus, fr. L. paradisus. See {Paradise}.]
a court of entrance to, or an inclosed space before, a
church; hence, a church porch; -- sometimes formerly used as
place of meeting, as for lawyers. --Chaucer.