notre_dame_de_paris_plan_LecomteLike the majority of the French cathedrals, Notre-Dame of Paris has a outline drawing of Latin cross. Here are principal dimensions: frontage, 40 meters; overall length in work, 130 meters; width from one end to another of the transept, 48 meters; rise in the mistress arches, 35 meters; rise in the turns above the mistress arches, 34 meters; total height of the turns, 69 meters; length of the chorus, 28 meters out of 12 meters of width. Total surface, 6,240 square meters, giving a cube of 218,400 meters in work, not included/understood the heightening of the turns.

The cathedral contains 5 naves, 37 vaults, 3 pinks whose diameter is for each one of 13 meters and half, 113 windows, 75 columns or free pillars, not included/understood the imbedded columns, an up to date platform reigning along the walls of the central nave, and from which the bays are separated by 108 posts.
The nave comprises ten spans, the chorus five. The axis of this one is slightly deviated compared to the axis of the nave. The apse is semicircular with five sides. The nave is flanked collateral doubles which are prolonged by a double déambulatoire, the whole with side chapel (except on the first three spans) and radiant (either 37 on the whole).

The nave

paris_152Built before the chorus, the nave concerns the first Gothic style, with sexpartite vaults, however without alternation of strong piles and weak piles as one sees it in Sens.

paris_103The transept, quite identifiable of the outside of the monument, does not make not covered compared to collateral and the side chapel. It does not have the collateral ones.
Interior rise is on three levels, with large arcades, platforms and windows high.

paris_118The frontages north and south of the transept decorate splendid rosettes decorated with stained glasses, among largest of Europe (diameter: 13 m).



paris_024With the passing of years, it was suggested on several occasions that the original plans of Notre-Dame envisaged two arrows which would rise turns. The solids bell-towers could without any doubt have supported such structures. But it is not in so far as they were supposed being equipped with arrows. The cathedral of Amiens as of other cathedrals followed the model of Notre-Dame and do not have either arrows (however, the cathedral of Rheims should have had some, according to initial plans', but they were never completed). During the restoration which took place between 1844 and 1864, the idea of the arrows was again suggested. The restorer Viollet-le-duc, wanting at all costs to ruin the project, drew a very precise plan of the cathedral with such arrows in order to show with the population the nightmarish result to which this project would lead. Ironically, certain experts affirmed since, on the basis of its plan, that Viollet-le-Duc was itself in favour of these arrows.
The assymetry of the turns is generally due to the cosmo-telluric forces passing under them. One is dedicated to the sun, the other with the moon. Masculine, female, as in Chartres.

The gallery of the kings

paris_037bWith twenty meters of the ground, a series of twenty-eight royal characters represents the twenty-eight generations of kings of Judée who preceded Christ. Each statue measures more than three meters fifty top. The heads of the statues date from the XIXth century and are the product of the workshops of sculpture of the restorer Viollet-le-Duc. Indeed, the statues of origin were decapitated in 1793 during the French revolution by the Sans-culottes, who, wrongly, believed that these statues represented sovereigns of the kingdom of France. There remain today only fragments of the medieval statues. The original heads were found in 1977, at the time of work undertaken for the restoration of the Moreau hotel in IXth district of Paris, and are currently exposed to the Museum of Cluny.

The gate of the Last Judgement

paris_581It is about the principal gate of the cathedral. Its imagery is seizing. It represents the last judgement - when, according to the Christian tradition, deaths ressuscitent and are judged by Christ. On the lower lintel, one can see deaths leaving their tombs. Above, an angel uses a balance to weigh the sins and the virtues. The elected officials are on the left, and, pushed on the right by demons with the diabolic glances, damnés connected are carried out in hell. On the higher tympanum, Christ chairs this divine court.
It is a quite concrete demonstration of the Christian imagery developed with the Middle Ages by the Church, which then influences largely people.
The scene of the Last Judgement is also reproduced on many other cathedrals.

The square

paris_625_1The square is the great open zone being right in front of the western frontage. The word square comes from Latin paradisius, paradise. When the cathedral was built, the square was rather narrow. The cathedral was located among innumerable buildings out of wooden of small size, such as houses, shops and inns. The square preserved modest dimensions until the XVIIIth century, time to which the Beaufrand architect increases it. It was reorganized on several occasions thereafter, in particular since 1960.

The western frontage

paris_576The western frontage is large, at the same time rigorous and linear, in an astonishing way the circle of the stained glass of the rosette emphasizes. Many observers noticed that the general effect is similar to that of a host. Three doors give access in the cathedral; vastest, that of the medium, is called the door of the Judgement; on the left, with the foot of the tower of north, the door of the Virgin opens; on the right, the door Saint-Anne opens with the foot of the tower midday.

The gate of the Virgin

paris_033aThis gate is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary is in top of the tympanum, sitting with the right-hand side of Christ; and an angel, being above it, place a gold crown on its head. Note the pointed groove in the wall around the arcs of the tympanum. The builders wanted that this gate is different from different in the honor from the Virgin. Above the pillar pier draws up a stone Virgin carved in XVth century, coming from the old church of Saint-Aignan to the Cloister; it was placed there in 1818; it replaces there a beautiful statue of XIIIth century representing the Virgin carrying her son in his arms and pressing with the feet the dragon, which was relegated, one does not know when nor why, in the stores of the church of the chapter, in Saint-Denis.

The gate of Saint Anne

paris_034aThis gate, dedicated to the life of Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin, is known mainly because of the polemic concerning the two characters being reproduced on the tympanum. Around a group including/understanding a majestic Virgin holding Jesus-Christ child in his arms and two angels two characters are: a bishop and a king. The tradition wants that these characters represent the bishop Maurice de Sully, founder of Notre-Dame, and Louis VII, king of France at the time. But certain experts question this theory and support that the religious character is Saint Germain, bishop of Paris to the Life century, and that the king is Childebert Ist, wire of Clovis. Other experts even affirm that these characters cannot be identified.

The balcony of the Virgin

paris_578This statue of the Virgin devotes the totality of the frontage to the mother of Christ. She was ordered by Viollet-le-Duc to replace the original statue of the medieval time, severely damaged by the climatic years and conditions. The western rosette being behind this statue constitutes a splendid aureole.

paris_604Viollet-le-Duc also placed statues of Adam and Eve in front of bays on each side of the rosette. It acts there, according to the majority of the experts, the principal error of Viollet-le-Duc in a restoration which, if not, can be described as remarkable.

paris_600 All seems to prove that no statue existed on this site. The statues of Adam and Eve would have in fact due being placed in recesses of the wall furthest away from the southern arm of the transept.

paris_605The Rose of the Virgin and her stone aureole: It is enough to be in the good axis and with the passing necessary so that the Virgin, Notre Dame finally, have the most memorable crown which is: a pink hones 9,60 meters in diameter, built between 1220 and 1225.

This small chief of work, of a great purity, is visible only of one precise point of the square, to about thirty meters of the frontage. Let us remember that at the Average Age, Notre Dame rose in the middle of the houses and that the square had only one about thirty meters of depth. The statue was thus placed on a pedestal very precisely calculated so that the visitor, while leading to the place, is immediately struck by the spectacle of the crowned Virgin… Yes, yes, that it is what the books say! But…

But two small note: the prospect plays really only when one further places oneself, place where houses rose; then, these statues are not origin, but were drawn, like much, by Viollet-le-Duc. Then… What imports, after all. The history is beautiful, even if it lends a little too much to the genius our architects of the Middle Ages.


paris_023aIn the Middle Ages, all the bays of Notre-Dame of Paris were furnished with splendid stained glasses. All was destroyed at the 18th century, except for the three large pinks, of exceptional quality. At the 19th century, Viollet-le-Duc and his team created new stained glasses in the medieval style for the side chapels and those of the déambulatoire.

paris_579aThe three large pinks of Notre-Dame of Paris are the Western pink (1220), above the large organ which hiding place it with half, and the two symmetrical pinks of the transepts North (1250) and South (1270) which, according to the tradition, would have been given by Louis saint. The stained glasses of the three pinks remained mainly of origin, in spite of essential cleanings and restorations.

paris_111The Western pink consists of a central medallion representing the Virgin with the Child, surrounded by three concentric circular bands. On the basis of the center one first of all observes the series of the twelve minor prophets, who announced the Incarnation of Jesus. The two external circular bands oppose in top twelve virtues and twelve defects; in bottom, they associate work of the months the twelve signs of the zodiac. The number twelve, produced of three by four (three, symbol of the Trinity, four, symbol of the terrestrial things) is the symbol of the Incarnation.

paris_140aThe Northern pink is devoted to the Old Will. Its dominant violet is sign of waiting and hope of the arrival of the Messiah. In three circles eighty characters are represented: prophets, kings, judges and large priests. In the center is again the Virgin with the Child, realization of the promise and this fact junction between the Old one and the New Will.

paris_113The Southern pink is that of the New Will, with dominant red and much more luminous because of its orientation. It includes/understands eighty-four medallions distributed on four circles and appear of the apostles, the martyrs, of the bishops, as well as scenes of the Gospel. The central medallion, creation of the workshop of Viollet-le-Duc, represents the Christ of the Apocalypse surrounded of the tétramorphe.
The open-type screen under the two pinks represents one eighteen kings de Juda, the other the sixteen prophets, the four of the bearing center on their shoulders the four evangelists. These stained glasses were remade at the 19th century by the workshop of Viollet-le-Duc.

The gate of Saint Étienne

paris_063aThis door is at the level of the southern arm of the transept. The tympanum tells the life of the first Christian martyr, Saint Étienne, according to Acts' of the Apostles.

The gate of the cloister

paris_076This gate is at the level of the northern arm of the transept. The lower lintel represents scenes of the childhood of Christ. These sculptures are among the most beautiful works carved on this topic.

The red gate

The project superintendent Pierre de Montreuil built this small door, called for obvious reasons “the red gate”, between 1250 and 1270. Louis IX, better known under the name of Louis Saint, had commissioned it. He is presented on the tympanum of the Virgin, crowned on the left by an angel. The wife of Louis Saint, Marguerite of Provence, is on the right of Christ.

Southernmost gate of Notre-Dame of Paris

paris_064aThe door of the Virgin, as the door Saint-Anne or of the South, is furnished with admirable ornaments or strap hinges out of wrought iron, which cover the casements with wood. Worked in light arabesques, flowers and foliages, rinceaux and animal, they hold the first rank among the capital parts of the iron work in XIIth and XIIIth centuries. They arise gracefully on the red coating with which one covered the casements. These wonders of the art of the wrought iron are so beautiful that the people did not want to believe that they had been carried out by the hammer of a simple blacksmith. This one would have had recourse to the devil, which was worth the nickname of Biscornette to him. But the assistance of malignant did not serve as nothing for the central door by which Blessed Sacrament leaveleaves the days solemnity; Biscornette never managed to shoe it, It appears that the architects nowadays used of more powerful magic spells, because they shoed the large door with strap hinges very skilfully copied from the side doors.

The apse

paris_081The apse is consisted a half-circle located in the part more at the east of the cathedral. It was built during the first phase of construction, of 1163 to 1180. A series of propping up admirable supports its wall higher round-off. It is decorated with sculptures and panels representing inter alia episodes of the life of the Virgin.

The roof

paris_212In his will, Maurice de Sully left the sum of five thousand sums of money for the roof of the cathedral, which was covered only with temporary materials until its death in 1196. The roof is covered with 1326 lead tiles. The total weight of these tiles is estimated at more than two tons.

The arrow

paris_016The first arrow was built above transept crossing in the middle of XIIIth century. Such high arrows suffer from the wind which folds and weakens their structures. The arrow is deformed slowly, the solids are distorted, until the total collapse. The arrow of origin was dismounted in 1786, after more than five centuries of existence. The cathedral remained without arrow until the restoration directed by Viollet-the-Duke in the middle of the XIXth century. This arrow is kept by the statues of the 12 apostles (had in four lines - at each cardinal points - 3 apostles, those Ci being placed the one below of the others). All are turned towards Paris, except one of them, Pierre. That Ci resembles curiously Viollet-the-Duke, the architect of the arrow. It is a small historical joke of this large architect and restorer.

The bell

paris_186The large bumblebee whose speaks François Villon in his Grant Testament, gone back to 1461, had been given in 1400 to the cathedral by Jean de Montaigu, brother of the bishop of Paris, which had baptized it Jacqueline, of the name of his Jacqueline wife of the Barn. Jacqueline was remelted in 1686 by foundry foremen Chapelle, Gillot, Moreau and Florentin Guay, and accepted a new baptism in the name of Louise-Marie-Thérèse, queen of France, woman of Louis XIV. Jacqueline weighed only fifteen thousands (7,500 kilogrammes). Marie-Thérèse weighs a little more of the double (16,000 kilogrammes or 16 tons metric). The leaf only weighs with him 485 kilogrammes. The thickness of the bell is 28 cm; the perimeter is 4 meters. A Latin inscription, placed in relief, reports its adventures and its transformations.

paris_189 The bumblebee “Emmanuel-Louise-Marie-Thérèse” is located in top of the 422 steps of the southern Tower. One racconte that when it was remelted in 1631, the women threw in the molten metal their gold jewels, giving to the bell its single tone in F sharp.
It sounds only with the great festivals of the year: Christmas, Branches, Easter, the Rise, Pentecost, the Assumption and All Saints' day, like at the time of exceptional ceremonies.
Four other bells are in the Northern tower since 1856, to replace those of the Average Age sent to the cast iron in 1791 to make guns.
They sound three times per day for the Angelus at 8 a.m., 12 hours and 19 hours and also for the Office cathédral in week. Sundays and feastdays, they sound with 9h 45 and 15h 45.
The flight “with the cord” was replaced by the use of pedals at the 19th century.
Maintaining the ringing is operated by remote control electrically.