5 Things We Love About Notre-Dame de Paris
As most of you have heard by now, the beautiful and historic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris went up in flames this Monday, April 15. People across the world watched, either in person or virtually via social media, as the building burned and the spire fell. Myself, I was petrified by a potential loss of an architectural masterpiece and all of the artwork which resides within its walls. Luckily, it has been reported that a majority of the beloved artifacts within the Cathedral’s walls has been saved. Art patrons across the globe have come together to collect funds to support fixing any damage that has been done. While it may never be the same as it was before the fire, it is amazing to see people come together to try to save the monument. In light of this tragic event, I wanted to bring you guys a few reasons why myself, and many others across the world love the Notre-Dame de Paris.
1. It reminds people internationally of the heart and history of Paris.
The monument has been seen far and wide as almost synonymous with the city of Paris. When we think of Paris we think of this beautiful Cathedral as well as the renowned Le Tour d’Eiffel. The Cathedral is featured in a flurry of movies, TV shows, and can be seen as the background of photo shoots and postcards. Records from the monument state that the Cathedral actually received around 30,000 visits per day! So I think I am not alone when I say that it is one of the most stunning buildings in the world and most loved by many internationally.
2. The Cathedral is a monument to the Gothic Style in architecture.
What makes Notre-Dame so beautiful and rememberable, is its stunning Gothic style architecture. It’s multiple spires which reside all across the buildings exterior, give it a sense of height which extends far past its rooftops. The beautiful ornamentation tricks the eye into believing that it has a permeable surface, but is actually made out of sturdy stone. We love the rose windows which act as the face of the front of the building and the center piece of the whole structure. It is often regarded as the pinnacle of the Gothic art movement and presents all of its architectural features such as rib vaults, pointed arches, stained glass windows, and flying buttresses.
The flying buttresses that accent the sides of the building are actually one of the first noted uses of flying buttresses in architecture. Used to bring more support to the thin walls of the Cathedral, these noteworthy architectural supports later on became one of the signature notes of the Gothic style and can be seen in many other famous buildings such as the Salisbury Cathedral in England, the Chartes Cathedral in France, and Westminster Abbey in England.
3. It lives in one of our favorite childhood movies.
The first time you may have been exposed to Notre-Dame was actually when you were a child watching one of your favorite Disney movies. In the movie, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Quasimodo is found residing within the animated rendition of the Cathedral walls. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo in 1831, the author actually wanted to draw attention to the magnificent structure. Victor Hugo wrote the novel in hopes of getting public recognition for the Cathedral, so renovation work could be done on it. He not only wanted to draw attention to the Cathedral, but wanted people to understand and appreciate Gothic architecture across the board.
4. In 2013, it became a home to honey bees.
While this doesn’t have to do with the overall structure of the building, it is still a great thing to come out of the Cathedral. In 2013, a hive of honey making bees was put onto the roof of Notre-Dame as a part of a process to bring back the honey bee population which has been quickly dying out. This specific breed of bees —Buckfast Bees— were bred to be more gentle than others. The Benedictine monastery that produced this strain of bees keeps them on the roof of Notre-Dame as a way to give back to the world given to them by the Creator.
The bees are unlikely there now, due to the events occurring on April 15, but hopefully, after restoration, they will have plans to bring them back.
5. Unique gargoyles mark the towers.
My personal favorite aspect of Medieval architecture has always been gargoyles. The thing about Notre-Dame is that the gargoyles are not part of the original structure. The gargoyles were added to the lavish cathedral in the 19th century and accent a Modern style opposed to the Gothic style of the rest of the architecture. The gargoyles are not just there for appearances either and actually have a functional purpose. The figural sculptures act as catchers of rainwater that spurt the water away from the building to help protect the exterior of the building.
What do you love about Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris? Let me know in the comment section below.