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Cathédrale Notre Dame, Reims (Champagne)

 

MAP OF THE FRENCH PILGRIMS' ROADS TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

EARLY MEDIEVAL FRENCH SAINTS, KINGS AND QUEENS

 

 

 

PARADOXPLACE REIMS PAGES

 

 

Notre Dame de Reims Cathedral (this page)

 

 

Reims Cathedral - West End

 

 

Reims Cathedral - North Portal and Rose

 

Palais du Tau

 

Basilique & Abbey of St-Remi

 

 

St-Remi Museum, Reims

 

 

Paradoxplace Burgundy (Burgogne), Champagne & East pages

 

 

 

Reims Cathedral was built on the site of the church where, tradition has it, on Christmas Eve 496 (or maybe 498) St-Remi (c437 - c533 (96)) baptiized the powerful Clovis I (c466 - 511 (44)) who having previously fought his way to being the first King of all the Franks, now transformed into the first Christian King of all the the Franks.  In this tradition, for more than 1000 years (from 816 - 1825) thirty five sovereigns of the Franks and then France came to the Cathedral to be crowned.

 

The present cathedral was built between 1211 and 1280, but a (almost inevitable) fire in 1481 destroyed the roof and four transept tower / spire structures.  Later, the two western towers never reached their planned height, nor did their spires materialize, but it's still an impressive facade ensemble!

 

Reims, Cathedrale Notre Dame

 

View from the north-west

 

 

MORE PHOTOS FROM THE WEST END

 

 

World War I

 

Reims suffered terribly at the barrels of German artillery in World War I.  The main roof of the Abbey of St-Remi was destroyed, as was the south aisle roof of the cathedral (right) - the south aisle columns still show the marks left by artillery shells.  Many of the windows and statues were smashed.  The town itself was literally flattened, with the population dwindling to almost nothing by the time the war finished.  It took 20 years to rebuild the cathedral, work aided greatly by money from the Rockefeller Foundation, and the restored building was inaugurated in July 1938, just in time for WW 2 .....

 

Amongst the cathedral treasures smashed was the famous "smiling angel" statue in the central west doorway.  Luckily, in the  late 1800s Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, both saviour and ruiner (when he redesigned them as he thought they should have been built in the first place) of many medieval buildings,  had been behind the setting up of the Musée National des Monuments Français in Paris.  This museum contains faithful copies of everything medieval from tympanums down, and it was to this collection that Reims turned to get the new smiler who, in 2007, remained bubbly despite the loss of her right wing.

 

 

Right:  The south aisle (looking west), which lost its roof vaults and stained glass to WW I German artillery.  

 

Below:  The nave - lots of light because of the absence of stained glass - nothing is completely bad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cathedral's east end

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voussure sculpture of you know who from outside the north transept rose window.

 

 

MORE PHOTOS FROM THE PALAIS DU TAU

 

 

 

The story of the creation in the upper panels of the north rose - the oldest of the Cathedral's rose windows.

 

 

MORE PHOTOS FROM THE NORTH PORTAL AND ROSE WINDOW

 

 

 

Sculptor's revenge - from the right - a king, a bishop, an abbot and two well heeled ladies await, in chains, their turn to enter the cauldron of hell.

 

 

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