By Valorie Bourke
Notre Dame de Paris is an early gothic style church that begun construction in 1163. This style made it a fashion for other cities and towns during this time. It is considered the most monumental work erected in the west at that time.
During the 12th and 13th century, there were four major construction campaigns that lead to four different builders that were a major part in building the magnificent cathedral. The first major construction campaign was done by Maurice de Sully. He built the choir in 1163-1182. He was said to be the one who built a new road and knocked down houses to transport material for the cathedral. He also knocked down the former Saint Stephens church and started building the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral in its place. In 1196, Maurice de Sully passed away and his successor, Eudes de Sully took over.
The second and third major construction campaign was overlooked by Eudes de Sully. He was not related to Maurice de Sully, the former bishop. These major campaigns constructed the last three bays in the nave, which connected the two bays to the upper façade and the Gallery of Kings, along with the side aisles, and the tribunes. This began in 1182 and ended around 1225. Eudes de Sully died around 1208. He did not see the completion of the third campaign.
The west façade was started in the third major construction campaign around 1200. There were two towers built: the North tower which was completed around 1220 and the South tower completed around 1250. The west façade is divided into three equal horizontal bands: the three doorways, the rose window, and the blind arcades. It has dimensions of 41 m wide, 43 m high up to the base of the towers, and 63 m up to the top of the towers.
The fourth construction campaign began in 1225 and lasted until 1250. This campaign modified and expanded the upper windows and fitting out the nave side chapels between the flying buttresses. It also brought about the rose window and the great halls beneath the towers.
The original floor plan of the Notre Dame de Paris did not include the flying buttresses around the choir and the nave. The cathedral was the first building in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). Once the construction began, and the walls grew thinner and higher, stress fractures began to form on the walls pushing them outward. So the architects had to build supports around the outside walls to prevent the fractures from destroying the cathedral. All the later additions continued the pattern of the flying buttresses and the support around the outside walls.
Inside the early gothic style church, Notre Dame de Paris, can hold up to ten thousand people. The strong vertical lines and the airy atmosphere represent the essence of the gothic style taste. The nave (which is the central longitudinal area of a church, extending from the entrance to the apse and flanked aisles) rises to a height of 115 feet from the pavement to the vaulting. The nave is divided into three equal tiers: the nave, and double aisles, the open spectator gallery above the aisles, and at the top, the clerestory-the luminous window zone.
The Notre Dame de Paris has been through a lot over the years as it has been completed. It has gone through a lot of renovations to keep the style of the church alive. It also went through WWII and is still standing today. The cathedral is still used today as a worship center for individuals. They offer mass to everyone and does not cost anything to attend. The mass is in French but there is one mass at 11:30 a.m. that has some readings in English.
The gothic architecture of the building caught my eye as I read the chapters in our humanities book. The name of the church is French for “Our Lady of Paris,” the Virgin Mary. I thought it was different to have a church named for the Virgin Mary and not for saints or anyone else. It is defiantly different from any other church that I have ever seen before and throughout the unit.
Works cited page
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 25 Feb 2011 Wikipedia Foundation, Inc.
Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris. Nathalie Bittendiebel. Diocese de Paris. 07 March 2011.