Take a boat ride on the Seine at night — the cathedral totally illuminated makes an inspiring sight.
The cathedral of Notre Dame is a masterpiece of French-Gothic architecture and the ceremonial focus of Catholic Paris for the last seven hundred years. The cathedral's immense interior is a marvel of medieval architecture; it holds about 6,000 people.
Many individually crafted statues are placed around the outside, serving as column supports and gutters. Among these are the famous gargoyles, designed to let water run off them, and chimeras.
As you walk around, try and imagine the exterior and statues as they originally were - bright and vibrant with colour. The cathedral was essentially complete in 1345.
You can ascend to the top up a narrow climb of 387 steps. It is possible to view its famous bell and the gargoyles at close quarters, as well as spectacular views across Paris nearer the top. You can see how Paris has grown outwards from its centre - the Île de la Cité.
Although it is lauded for its sublime architecture, there are all sorts of minor anomalies as a result of centuries of aesthetic intervention. You enter through trio of main entrances all shaped slightly differently. If anything, however, these differences only add to the cathedral’s charm. As you walk around inside, make sure to take in the beautiful stained-glass rose windows at the east end.
Notre-Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress. The architects added them to support the fracturing walls around the choir at the east end during its building in 1163.
During the Revolution, the cathedral was rededicated to the Cult of Reason, and subsequently to the Cult of the Supreme Being. Many of the treasures of the cathedral were sadly destroyed or plundered.
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