At the eastern end of the Île de la Cité in Paris stands the most famous Gothic cathedral of the Middle Ages whose gleaming gargoyles and pointed steeples inspired the famous French writer, Victor Hugo, to write The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Once you enter through the cumbersome doors of Notre-Dame Cathedral, you will be transported to a time where high ceilings and arches tower over you and where three large, intricate rose stain-glass windows bring sunlight into the darkest corners.
The first stone of the cathedral was laid in 1163 by Pope Alexander II and took until 1345 to complete; a whopping total of 182 years. The cathedral received severe damage by revolutionists during the French Revolution but was later restored in 1845 by French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
Notre-Dame Cathedral is widely distinguished for its size, antiquity and architecture. The cathedral is among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress architectural style, which is when an inclined bar, in the shape of a half arch, extends from the upper part of a wall to a far away pier. The cathedral is widely identified for its steeple; gargoyles, which are used for water run-off; and two Gothic towers that crown the western facade. The Notre-Dame Treasury carries some of Catholicism’s most important relics, including the Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross and one of the Holy Nails.
A spectacular experience of this historic building is to climb the spiral staircase in the towers of 422 steps to get outstanding views of the heart of Paris. Although my legs were shaking after climbing and descending so many stairs, the panorama scene was well worth it.