PHOTOS I FORGOT I HAD: INTERNATIONAL.
Gargouille (Gargoyle), Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, photographed Thursday, July 12, 1979.
Tourists can visit the “gargoyles” on the façade of Notre-Dame in Paris by reaching the passageway to the outdoor balustrade of the tower base. There is a second balustrade at the very top of the tower but it is not open to the general public.
The exuberant Gothic design of the Cathedral, a stone structure that dominates the Île de la Cité in this most ancient part of Paris, was built in stages. A project instigated by the Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully (in office, 1160-1196), commenced with the construction of the choir in 1163. The front portals followed around 1200. The next stage included the towers which began their ascent into the Paris skyline in the 1240’s.
Façade, Notre Dame de Paris.
From the ground level upwards to the top of the cathedral every detail of the building is meticulously construed. One of its world famous and popular attractions is the various gargoyles: birds, humanoids, chimeras, etc., that dot the medieval building. With changing artistic taste, the Gothic period architecture was mostly reviled in Paris after about the year 1400. Accompanying political and cultural events in the nineteenth century–especially the crowning of Napoléon I (1769-1821) as Emperor of France in Notre Dame de Paris in 1804 and the publication of the French Romantic Gothic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo in 1831–public interest in Gothic design and Notre Dame in particular (which had fallen into great disrepair) was revived. Under French architects Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) and Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus (1807-1857) most of Notre Dame was overhauled in the 1840’s. As with many of its medieval-style treasures, the cathedral’s many gargoyles also underwent some reconstitution but the question remains as to how many precisely were reconstituted and to what specific extent.
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