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Gothic France

The Gothic style originated in France in the mid-twelfth century. The most significant works of the Gothic style in France are the cathedrals of Chartres, Amiens and Reims, but in General in France there was a huge amount of Gothic monuments, from chapels to large cathedrals. In the fifteenth century came the period of so-called “flamboyant Gothic”, from which we were reached only a few samples, such as one of the portals of Rouen Cathedral or the tower of Saint-Jacques in Paris.

Chartres Cathedral
Chartres Cathedral or the Cathedral of our lady of Chartres is the most famous monument of the city of Chartres, 90 km southwest of Paris. The Cathedral is considered one of the finest Gothic buildings.

On the site of modern Chartres Cathedral has long stood the Church. With 876 years in Chartres is kept the Holy shroud of the virgin Mary.

Instead of the first Cathedral burnt down in 1020, was built the Romanesque Cathedral with a huge crypt. He survived the fire years 1134, which destroyed almost the entire city, but was badly damaged during the fire of June 10, 1194. From this fire began from a lightning strike, survived only the tower of the Western facade and crypt. Miraculous salvation from the fire of the Holy shroud was considered to be divinely inspired and gave rise to the construction of a new, even more grandiose building.

The construction of a new Cathedral began in 1194 donations are flowing in Chartres from all over France. Urban residents voluntarily brought stone from the surrounding quarries. The basis was taken the project of the previous building, in which were inscribed the preserved part of the old building. Major works, including construction of the main nave, was completed in 1220, the Cathedral consecration took place on 24 October 1260 in the presence of king Louis IX and the Royal family.

Chartres Cathedral, the temple has survived almost intact. He avoided destruction and robberies, never was restored and rebuilt.

A distinctive feature of the Cathedral is that its two towers differ greatly. The Northern tower has a typical drevnegrecheskogo base (with buttresses and a small number of holes) and the spire in flamboyant Gothic style, executed somewhat later. South tower, in contrast, already has a base of Gothic style and topped with a simple finial.

The Amiens Cathedral
Amiens Cathedral or the Cathedral of our lady of Amiens is one of the most famous Gothic cathedrals in the world and one of the largest in France.

Existed here before the Romanesque Cathedral burned down in 1218 in a fire caused by a lightning strike. But located near the Cathedral the small Church survived. In it were kept the relics of St. Firmin, first Bishop of Amiens, therefore, the Church cannot be demolished until the completion of the new Cathedral, where later moved the Saint’s relics.

According to the original plan of the tower of the Cathedral was supposed to build twice as wide and much higher than the existing. However, they were built only to half the designed height, leaving the tower hardly rises above the roof of the Cathedral. In 1366 started the construction of the tent above the South tower and the North tower was completed only in the early fifteenth century. Different height and figure, they give the facade of the Cathedral of extraordinary picturesqueness.

The Amiens Cathedral is beautiful from all sides. Slim tower tent lantern above the crossing enhances the overall impression of striving upward and emphasizes the height of Gothic design. Light graceful buttresses, surmounted with pinnacles that rise from the base of the Cathedral to its roof.

During the great French revolution, when the statues and reliefs smashed by the thousands, injured many of the cathedrals in France. However, thanks to the efforts of influential citizens of Amiens, which was blocked by the revolutionaries access to the Cathedral, the losses there were minimal.

Although in the Gothic style were erected many churches both in France and in other European countries, the Amiens Cathedral is one of the most daring, original and harmonious buildings of the Gothic Church.

Reims Cathedral
Reims Cathedral or the Cathedral of our lady of Reims is one of the most famous examples of Gothic art in France because of its architecture and the sculptures. This is a classic example of high Gothic architecture in the period of its greatest prosperity.

Cathedral world-known fact that since the middle ages and until the XIX century here took place the coronation of almost all French monarchs.

The Cathedral in Reims has an ancient history. The oldest building of the Cathedral dates from the year 401. In IX century on the site of the old dilapidated Church began the erection of a new. However, the great fire of 1210 completely destroyed it. Then began the third phase of construction, which appeared the majestic building, which also came to our days.

Two 80-meter tower of the Western facade of Reims Cathedral — the highest in France. They could be even higher, as it was originally planned to cap their high tents with spires, but this plan did not materialize. Also, wanted to build five more towers, but this plan also was not implemented.
The feature of the Reims Cathedral is his famous sculpture. Only in the “Gallery of kings” presents more than five hundred pieces. Most of them were created in XIII century. This sculptural images of saints, bishops, knights, kings, artisans. Reims Cathedral is often called the “Cathedral of angels” — because of the many sculptures depicting them. The most famous figure of a smiling angel above the Northern portal. Reims Cathedral was badly damaged during the great French revolution. More serious damage was done to the Cathedral during the First world war. Fully restoration work completed only by 1996.
Nowadays, majestic and harmonious Cathedral remains a remarkable monument of French Gothic sculpture which served as a model for other churches in France, Italy and Spain.

Rouen Cathedral
Rouen Cathedral, or the Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the most important monuments of Gothic architecture in France. The massive walls of the Cathedral, go along the street of San Romano, one of the most prestigious in medieval Rouen.
Any, even the most modest camera easily and naturally to convey the beauty and power of this incredible edifice, for centuries, inspired writers and artists of different calibers. People’s Cathedral in the background look small like worms. Solid front doors seem as tiny punched nail holes in the canvas.

The Cathedral badly hit during the war. Before the landing in Normandy, the allies arranged for carpet bombing the whole night. One of the side towers fell and damaged the support columns. The idea is that the temple was supposed to collapse and crumble into dust, but he miraculously survived. Repairs took twelve years. In 2000, not the same, then the other tower collapsed again. It happened at five in the morning, and the Cathedral, fortunately, was empty, and then trouble would happen. Of course, for such an ancient design have to be closely monitored.

Rouen Cathedral over 800 years. Central tower with a spire is 70 meters deep from the facade — it is located exactly at the spatial center of the Cathedral, which is very unusual.

On the square in front of the facade of the Cathedral are two towers: the left, built in the XII-XV centuries, and right, dated in the year 1506, which was built in just 20 years. This later style with many small parts and complicated form called the “flaming Gothic”.

The interior of the Cathedral

For more yellow color right tower was called the olive. Despite the fact that the limestone in Normandy is more than enough oil stone for the tower was carried from Wales. In addition to color, the name of the tower there is another explanation: according to legend, the money for its construction was taken from the proceeds of the sale of indulgences. And most of all the indulgences the Church was selling for violation of the rules of Lent. Rancy loved to eat butter and not deny myself this pleasure, even in the days of fasting. Besides, the heads of the wealthy families had to pay indulgences to all households.


The Central spire was added later in the mid 19th century. Its height is 151 meters.

Gustave Flaubert, born in Rouen, he lived in this city the most significant period of his life. In particular, in Rouen was written “Madame Bovary”. He watched the construction of the spire and put it sarcastically in the sense that this architecture — the mad Caprice of the manufacturer of steam boilers. Near the spire really looks too technological, but no less original.

Tower Saint-Jacques
Tower Saint-Jacques is the surviving tower of the destroyed during the revolution (1797) a Grand Church of Saint-Jacques-de-La-Bushri. This beautifully sounding names show that she was devoted to St. James (the Apostle) and that built on the money of the Guild of butchers (“bushre” — butcher’s shop). In England this is called the Apostle St. James, in Spain — Santiago. The Catholic tradition believes that, in Spain, in the homonymous Church of Santiago de Compostella buried the Saint.
The Church served as a gathering place for pilgrims travelling on the Camino de Santiago to your destination — the tomb of the Apostle James in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The Church was rebuilt in the XVI century, changing the style from Romanesque to Gothic, then to it was attached the bell tower — the current tower of Saint-Jacques.

The Church, declared national property, was sold by the revolutionary government and disassembled into a profitable product — stones — in 1797 The bell tower was leased to a master for casting hunting fraction: molten lead, falling from 50-meter height through a special grille, froze small balls in barrels filled with water.

The tower Saint-Jacques are the names of two great men: the Nicola flames and Blaise Pascal. About Nikola Female said as the only alchemist that has attained the secret of the philosopher’s stone and learned to turn lead into gold. He made a pilgrimage here in Spain, and was buried in the demolished later de-La-Bushri.

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