Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Notre Dame Cathedral

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, "Our Lady of Paris", known as Notre Dame, is a beautiful cathedral on the Île de la Cité in Paris. It was built during the 13th century, when Saint Louis VII (the king of France) was ruling the most powerful and faithful kingdom of Europe. Begun in 1163 and mostly completed by 1250, Notre Dame is an important example of French Gothic architecture, sculpture and stained glass.

The Notre Dame Cathedral is the most famous church in Paris and probably it is one of the most magnificent monuments in the world. But the famous cathedral is also an active Catholic church, a place of pilgrimage, and the focal point for Catholicism in France - religious events of national significance still take place here. It is also the most representative style of Gothic building worldwide. Victor Hugo's famous novel featuring the moving characterization of the hunchback, Quasimodo, has served the notoriety of the cathedral well.

Notre-Dame Cathedral suffered deterioration through the centuries, and after the French Revolution it was rescued from possible destruction by Napoleon, who crowned himself emperor of the French in the cathedral in 1804
There are many special characteristics that will help us to identify this monument as Gothic: ogee archways, ribbed vaults, and the wondrous flying buttresses or beautiful Rose windows.

Its privileged situation, close to the Seine River (surrounded by beautiful gardens), make this cathedral an unforgettable experience. Notre Dame can be photographed from all the bridges that cross the river. All its walls are really beautiful: from the west front, which is one of its most notable features with its two 69-metre tall towers or the three west gothic portals to the stained glass windows or the three exceptionally beautiful Rose windows.

The interior is certainly as impressive as the exterior, especially the central corridor and the altar. The West Front of the church is one the most beautiful sights, which has the tallest tower that houses the cathedral's famous bell, "Emmanuel. The west rose window is really beautiful. Dating from about 1220, it retains most of its original glass and tracery. The three west portals are perfect examples of early Gothic art. They show scenes from the Last Judgment, the Virgin Mary and from the life of St. Anne. The south and the north transept portals are extraordinarily beautiful, too.

After the Eiffel Towel, the Notre Dame Cathedral is the second most visited monument in Paris. Don’t miss it. Look after Paris Apartments to find the best accommodation.

Address: Place du Parvis de Notre Dame, 4th arrondissement
Metro: Cité or Saint-Michel (Line 4)
RER: Saint-Michel (Line C)
Bus: Lines 21, 38, 47, or 85

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