Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris is located on the Île de la Cité within the Banks of the River Seine UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was one of the first Gothic style cathedrals. Its construction started in the 12th century, comprised four major construction campaigns, led by four builders, and lasted many years. The majority of stone used was taken from nearby quarries. Much of the cutting and rough preparation of the stone blocks was accomplished at the quarry sites. Final dressing of the stone elements was executed within the masons' lodge, adjourning the cathedral. A symbol of the King's power, it can be seen in the far background of Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). In an age of popular revolution many of the cathedral's sculptures and gargoyles together with much of the interior were removed or demolished: Gothic style was no longer appreciated and the canons did not hesitate to have stained glass pulled down and replaced by clear glass that let more light inside.
- 16 Dec 1431 - Henry VI crowned as King of France in the cathedral.
- 1558 - The Dauphin Francis weds Mary Stuart at Notre Dame.
- 1572 - Henry of Navarre weds Marguerite of Valois, days before the 24 August massacre of the Huguenots.
- 1787 - Old spire demolished.
- 10th November 20 Brumaire 1793 - Cathedral named as Temple de la Raison "Temple of Reason", and the Fête de la Liberté "Festival of Liberty" was held in the cathedral, with ceremonies devised and organised by Pierre-Gaspard Chaumette. The cathedral resumed its religious purpose in 1802.
- September 1804 - Napoleon Bonaparte commissioned Jacques-Louis David to paint "Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on 2 December 1804".
- 2 December 1804 - The coronation of Napoleon I took place at Notre Dame.
- 1831 - Victor Hugo published Notre Dame de Paris, which was a huge success.
- 1844 - The government of King Louis-Philippe I decreed the restoration of the Paris cathedral and the construction of a sacristy.
- 1871 - Cathedral set on fire during the Paris Commune.
Stained Glass Windows
- Rose Windows
- Measuring 43 feet in diameter, with predominantly blue glass encased in iron settings, the masterwork by Jehan de Chelles in the north transept (c. 1255) is original.
- The south rose window was a gift from the Saint Louis the King of France.The original central medallion of the window having been lost, a replacement was created, by Alfred Gérente, under the supervision of Gothic Revival architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The restoration work at Notre Dame brought national attention to Viollet-le-Duc. The original medallions surrounding it, which remain, include one of Blandine and two lions. General themes are the New Testament, the Triumph of Christ, and the symbolic number four.
- The west window contains themes:
- Zodiac signs
- Labours of the months.
- The top half has juxtapositioned vices and virtues.
Left West Portal
- Ascending Zodiac signs on the left jamb
- January - Aquarius
- February - Pisces
- March - Aries
- April - Taurus
- May - Gemini
- June - Cancer
- Descending Zodiac signs on the right jamb
- July - Leo
- August - Virgo
- September - Libra
- October - Scorpio
- November - Sagittarius
- December - Capricorn
Virtues and Vices medallions on the bases flanking the door (Central Portal)
Medallions on either side of the door represent the Virtues and Vices. In all cases for the Virtues a woman bears a symbol.
- Charity and Avarice with a sheep in the shield and for the vice of avarice, a woman standing by a strong box.
- Humility and Pride with a dove in the shield and for pride, a rider being thrown by a fiery steed.
- Patience and Anger represented by an oxen in the shield and for anger, a woman about to strike a monk.
The whole central pier was destroyed during the alterations in the reign of Louis XIV of France and was restored by Viollet-le-Duc. Christ is represented in the act of giving a blessing or benediction. Under His feet are the lion and the dragon. The pedestal of the statue is pentagonal in form and in the lower part are seven bas-relief medallions. Those on the left of Christ represent veiled women:
- Geometry, a compass in hand, with which she traces lines.
- Dialectic Philosophy, a serpent entwined around her form.
- Medicine, with plants, the poppy and the digitalis, at either side of her seat.
- Alchemy (on the front of the pedestal), a sceptre in one hand, an open book in the other, and a ladder. The ladder is an important symbolic motif.
- Astronomy (on the right-hand side of Christ), holding a disc.
- Grammar, teaching a child from a book, a bundle of rods in one hand.
- Music, striking bells with a wand.
The great Crown of Light, created during the major restoration campaign of 1845, and following Viollet-le-Duc's designs, was positioned above the transept crossing.
Gallery of Kings
The original series of 28 statues of the kings of Israel and Judea was destroyed following the French Revolutiion. Restoration was under the guidance of Viollet-le-Duc.
Viollet-le-Duc added the tall filigree spire with its climbing figures to the roof during the 19th Century restoration project.