Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Postcards from Paris: Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame de Paris

The first stone of this Gothic masterpiece on the Ile de la Cite was laid by Pope Alexander III in 1163 on the site of a Roman temple. Completed 170 years later, the Notre-Dame is remarkable for the spectacular flying buttresses on the east end and beautiful stained glass Rose windows on the south and west facade. Works by important sculptors adorn the cathedral including Jean Ravy's old choir screen carvings, Nicolas Coustou's Pieta and Antoine Coysevox's Louis XIV statue.

During the French Revolution, the cathedral was ransacked, religion banned, and the church changed into a temple for the Cult of Reason. At one point it was even used as a wine store!

Napolean restored the cathedral and religion in 1804 and was crowned here, as were many kings and emperors.
Le Sacre de Napoleon 1st, detail de Josephine, 1806-1807 Louis David (1748-1825)