"Notre Dame de Paris" Notre Dame de Paris Tip by Carmanah
Notre Dame de Paris, Paris: 652 reviews and 1,336 photos
When Disney released their animated film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, many people were likely exposed to Paris' most famous cathedral for the first time, for it was here where the fabled story takes place.
For myself, I really got to know the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris a decade after I had visited. While taking an introductory course in art history at university, I was able to study the architecture of gothic cathedrals. The most prominant feature of these cathedrals are their flying buttresses - external support beams that "fly" out from the side of the walls - a crucial mechanism that, without them, the heavy stone walls would not be able to support the beautiful large pieces of stained glass. University professors will often use Notre Dame de Paris as the prime example of flying buttress architecture.
When I visited this cathedral in October of '94, we quickly jaunted inside where we were given a very brief tour. We were told how there was an original cathedral that was demolished in the year 1160 so that a new cathedral could be constructed. The cathedral that now exists was built in sections between 1163 and 1345.
Candles were lit and the daylight from outside brought to life many of the beautiful stained glass windows from within. Outside of the cathedral are many beautiful friezes and sculptures, but without a thorough tour or previous research, it is difficult to know the context of all this beautiful art.
Notre Dame is definitely one of the most distinctly designed cathedrals of all time and is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris. A visit would be worth it, especially if you're interested in history, architecture, and gothic art.
Address: l'île de la Cité, 6, Place du Parvis F-75004 Paris
Directions: Métro: Cité; RER: Châtelet-Les Halles, Saint Michel-Notre Dame
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