Cathédrale de Reims
Notre-Dame of Reims was the site of the coronation of French kings. It was the centre of an important “cathedral complex” and the representation of Heavenly Jerusalem for the people of the Middle Ages.
It was also the symbolic centre of the Archbishop’s power, as Primate over the bishops of several dioceses in Northern France.
Erected between 1211 and 1516, in accordance with an architectural program of immense artistic richness, the Cathedral of Reims survives as one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic art.
The architecture of the Reims Cathedral is characteristic of Gothic Art: it represents a moment of equilibrium between the experiments of Early Gothic (second half of the 12th century), and the decorative evolutions of Radiant Gothic (about 1230-1350) and Flamboyant Gothic (about 1350-1500).
The monument displays a classic unity to which the successive builders remained faithful, through the decades, by conserving as closely as possible the architectural vision adopted during the years 1210-1230 and the construction of the choir.
The interior elevation is remarkable for the impression of vertical tension created by the upward thrust and relative narrowness of its volumes (there is only one side-aisle).
The division into three levels is typical of 13th century architecture: grand arcades on the ground floor, triforium, and large, high windows.
To the three galleries of circulation habitual in similar edifices (two high: a parapet walk at the summit of the goutterot wallswith a passageway at the base of the high windows, a median, and the triforium); the Cathedral adds an interior passage at the base of the low windows: the “Passage Champenois”. Each of these passageways allows one to walk completely around the edifice.
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