Tuesday, July 24, 2012
My Paris View of Notre Dame (Part Five)
Unlike Sacre Coeur Basilica, Notre Dame Cathedral allows visitors to take photographs while viewing the interior. So I am able to add these pictures to our tour, and I hope you enjoy them.
The first view here is looking back from the chancel over the nave. The congregation sits in the nave, and so they majority of the faithful do not see this view during a service. The height of these thin walls is the reason Notre Dame is one of the first buildings in the world to use flying buttresses. Stress fractures began to appear as the walls were built ever higher. The exterior supports were added and this improvisation seems to have done the trick. The walls have stood for over eight hundred years.
The nave itself is not very big, but this overhead space made it feel like you could have seated the whole of Paris within it.
Construction began on the cathedral in 1163. It would not be completed until 1345. I think anyone who has been through a construction project knows how these things can drag out. During this construction period, in 1185, the call for the Third Crusade was made from here.
The cathedral is nearing its 850th birthday. We were thrilled to be able to visit and share in the wonders of this amazing historical and spiritual site. There is no charge for the visit, unless you wish to climb the tower or tour the Treasury and Crypt.
Our last look at Notre Dame will be a final exterior view of the cathedral in our next post.