If the Notre Dame has a twin it must be Westminster Abbey, because they are very similar in form. So much so that you’d be tempted to say that they look exactly alike, as they are both extraordinary examples of Gothic architecture. But if you take a closer look at Westminster Abbey, you’ll find that the Notre Dame is like Westminster Abbey on steroids. There is so much detail on the facade alone that the Westminster Abbey almost looks plain in comparison.
I stood before the Notre Dame having seen Westminster Abbey and Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, so my awe at the time was mostly in the architectural detail and the beautiful stain glass windows. Now I wonder what it must have been like when the Notre Dame was first constructed. I’m sure most people couldn’t afford to travel long distances and stayed in one area throughout their lives. You and I have come across so many architectural buildings through photos in the media, but back then the only pictures and architectural wonders were probably at the cathedral. What would it have been like to walk up to this cathedral, which must have been the tallest building in the country? After all, there was no Eiffel Tower or any other tower standing back then. You could have probably seen the Notre Dame for miles around. Children would have grown hearing the bells everyday, and look up at the statues feeling a mixture of emotions; this feeling of protection and sanctity or perhaps fear and unease.
Moving to the side of the cathedral I saw these peculiar.. creatures extending out from the side of the building. Some of them look like humans, some of them look like a cross between a monkey and a bird. That man in the top right corner of the photo sort of looks like some sort of traveler, or perhaps a soldier with a helmet. Apparently they serve as some sort of drainage system, but I can’t help but wonder if they stem from this idea of creatures keeping away evil spirits as I mentioned in an earlier post about Pont Neuf.
Your turn ♥ Have you ever been to a building that had a surprising architectural element to it? Is there a Gothic cathedral you’d like to visit some day?