In today’s episode, Elyse talks to us about the Notre Dame Architectural Style. She explains the architectural innovations you can see at Notre Dame, she explains the function of stained glass windows, the architectural purpose of chimeras and gargoyles, the art you will see at Notre Dame, and many things that you need to understand about medieval architecture.
Many medieval visitors were illiterate, but back then, they knew how to read the statues and stained-glass windows they saw in Cathedrals. We have lost this knowledge today. That is why you need to listen to this episode and get a quick course in how to read a cathedral by looking at the art and the pictures.
Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
Episode Highlights with Time Stamps
Limestone church [1’50”]
The 3 entrances of Notre Dame and what they mean [5’45”]
The Kings on the upper part of the facade [10′]
The restauration of the facade in the XIX century [11’20”]
The structure of Notre Dame, Notre Dame architectural style and innovation [14’15”]
Stained-glass windows [16’40”]
Gargoyles, chimeras and what they mean in medieval architecture [19’30”]
Architectural innovations at Notre Dame: the flying buttresses [23’15”]
In episode 1 of the Join Us in France Travel Podcast Elyse and Annie introduce themselves and explain what you can expect from this podcast.
Here’s the bottom line: we want to make a better tourist out of you! Why? So you’ll have a better time and make better decisions.
Every week we’ll bring you topics having to do with France and/or specific places you can enjoy in France. We’ll talk about cheese, wine, French food in general, French history, places you’ve never heard of and places you’ve heard of all your life.
We want you to do two things:
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The first time I walked inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, I thought “this is so small compared to Saint Peter in Rome!” I had just visited Rome, and although I had driven past Notre Dame Cathedral many times, I had never stepped inside. You would be surprised the number of French people, even Parisians, who have never stepped foot inside of Notre Dame! But I suppose it’s no different than New Yorkers never going up the Empire State Building. Locals often ignore what’s right in front of their noses.
By the time I went into Notre Dame Cathedral, I was a woman in my 40s who had just visited Rome, so that was my point of reference. What I didn’t know at the time, because my passion for French history was born a few years later, is that the first stone of Notre Dame Cathedral was laid in 1163 whereas they laid the first stone for Saint Peter in 1506. 343 years separate these two massive churches! Notre Dame is a Cathedral whereas Saint Peter is a Basilica. There are lots of differences between the two and my point is, it’s best not to compare them too much.
In this episode of the Join Us in France Travel Podcast Elyse explains how the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral came about. The construction of this Cathedral is one of the most monumental undertakings ever completed in Paris and the stars had to line up just right to get it done. Why is Notre Dame so special? Why does it get so many visitors? There are so many churches in Paris, some are incredibly beautiful, what sets Notre Dame apart?
The Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral is the one place in Paris everybody should see. Even if you’re not religious at all, even if you’re of a different faith. It’s a masterpiece and will set the tone for everything else you’ll see in Paris. And, who knows, you might run into the Hunchback!
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