Mar 12, 2009

::Notre Dame de Paris::


Notre Dame de Paris ('Our Lady of Paris' in French) is a Gothic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of ParisFrance, with its main entrance to the west. It is the cathedral of Paris and the seat of the Archbishop of Paris. Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. It was restored and saved from destruction by Viollet-le-Duc, one of France's most famous architects. The name Notre Dame means "Our Lady" in French. Notre Dame de Paris was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. Its sculptures and stained glass show the heavy influence of naturalism, unlike that of earlier Romanesque architecture.

Notre Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress [arched exterior supports]. The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave. After the construction began and the thinner walls (popularized in the Gothic style) grew ever higher, stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral's architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued as such.

Notre Dame courtesy of Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door