Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

No trip to Paris could be considered complete without visiting some of the city’s most celebrated attractions, including Notre Dame. I chose not to take pictures of the interior due to respect for those who find it a solemn and sacred space. The pictures in my mind, however, will last a lifetime.

Construction of the cathedral began in about 1160 and the most significant work was completed about 200 years later. The flying buttresses on the exterior of the building (supporting walls extending outward from the building that were a revolution in construction of tall open structures) support an dizzyingly tall central arched ceiling that is 112 feet high that forms a cross (base of the cross at the nave (where the congregation sits) and the top of the cross over the altar and choir. Stained glass windows, frescoes, intricate carvings, paintings, and small chapels, prayer alcoves and confessionals ring the interior walls of the church. We spent some time sitting quietly in the nave taking in the extraordinary craftsmanship, engineering and artistry in evidence all around us.

A light rain was falling as we exited the cathedral and made our way around the structure. The gargoyle rain spouts were spitting at us. Sculptures, carved decorations and flourishes had been added around every door and window and on every corner of the building. A garden surrounds the southern and eastern sides of the cathedral; Square Jean XXIII, dedicated to Pope John XXIII includes the Fountain of the Virgin.