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Notre Dame Cathedral (Notre Dame de Paris) — Photo Collection

One of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and one of the first buildings to incorporate flying buttress exterior support, Notre Dame de Paris (French for Our Lady of Paris) sits on the Île de la Cité — one of two remaining natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris.

Requiring nearly 200 years to build with an unknown original designer (1163 – 1345) the Cathedral of Notre Dame was restored by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century to repair damage incurred during the French Revolution. Viollet-le-Duc was, by the way, the first architect hired to design the internal support for the Statue of Liberty—when he died unexpectedly Gustave Eiffel took over the project.
Many coronations, weddings and other significant historic events took place in Notre Dame Cathedral including Henry VI of England crowned King of France (1431), Mary, Queen of Scots married to the Dauphin Francis (1558), Napoleon I crowned (1804) and Joan of Arc beatified (1909) and canonized (1920).
Victor Hugo’s 1831 popular novel ‘Notre Dame de Paris’ (English title ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’) which was set in and around the cathedral enjoyed many dramatic adaptations in film (10 adaptations — 1905 to 1999), television (2 miniseries and 2 films — 1966 to 1986) theatre, musical theatre and ballet. The novel’s success and Hugo’s efforts were instrumental in the decision to restore Notre Dame.

Notre Dame de Paris

The image below was shot from the Left Bank near the Pont au Double, a bridge originally constructed in 1515, latest in 1883.

Notre Dame Cathedral southwest side


The west facade of Cathédral Notre Dame de Paris illuminated at night.

Notre Dame Paris west facade illuminated at night


Portal of the Virgin (below), Portal of the Last Judgment and Portal of St-Anne are at the base of the west facade.

Notre Dame Portal of the Virgin


A large rose, created about 1225, forms a halo above a statue of the Virgin with Child between two angels.

Rose window, west facade, Notre Dame


This view of Notre Dame is a telephoto shot from the Eiffel Tower about 4 Km or 2.5 miles away.

Notre Dame viewed from the Eiffel Tower


The south side of Notre Dame illuminated at night. The South Rose Window, a gift from King Louis IX, was constructed in 1260.

Notre Dame south side at night


The east end of Notre Dame showing the tower at the intersection of the transepts and nave — supported by flying buttresses.

East end of Notre Dame de Paris


The current spire at the transept crossing replaced an earlier bell tower during restoration circa 1860.
It is surrounded by verdigris copper statues of the twelve apostles and symbols of the four evangelists.

Notre Dame rooftop view of copper Apostles statues


Statues stand at the peak of the facade on each transept.

Transcept statue at Notre Dame Cathedral


Gargoyles and Chimeras
Gargoyles, such as the one below, serve the function of funneling water collected in gutters away from the building.

Gargoyle and river view from Notre Dame Cathedral


Mixes of different animal body parts, Chimeras warned people who underestimated the devil, encouraging regular worship.
Most of the decorative Chimeras at Notre Dame Cathedral are on the west facade.

Chimera at Notre Dame Cathedral

Chimeras and Paris from Notre Dame Cathedral

Three Chimeras at Notre Dame Cathedral


You will need to climb nearly 380 winding steps to see the views that these Chimera enjoy everyday, such as
the one below of la Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmarte — another famous Roman Catholic church in Paris.

Chimera and Paris view


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Website and all photos copyright © 2001–2016 Lee W. Nelson