Notre Dame Cathedral
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Architect Maurice de Sully
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Location Paris, France   map
Date 1163 to 1250   timeline
Building Type church, cathedral
 Construction System bearing masonry, cut stone
Climate temperate
Context urban, riverside
Style Early Gothic
Notes "Notre Dame de Paris"


Photo, from across the river

Photo, exterior, main facade

Photo, exterior, main facade



Detail Drawing

Elevation Drawing

Plan Drawing

Site Plan Drawing



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Discussion Notre Dame Cathedral Commentary

"Notre-Dame (is) probably the most famous image in French Gothic art. The Paris facade (1200-50) seems locked into a severe pattern, with restrained formal shifts and restricted movement in depth. Rather than generating strong vertical energy, the portals, windows, and tracery gallery of its main block are gathered into a square, subdivided by a few strong vertical and horizontal elements into a gridlike pattern with the rose window at the center. The monumental strength of the façade is unforgettable, but its progressiveness is less than obvious. Yet, it is present in the intellectual rigor, concentrated sculptural density, and subtle progression of weight and texture from the lower to the upper parts."

—Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. p242.

"Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris...was seminal in the evolution of the French Gothic style. It is 110 ft high—the first cathedral built on a truly monumental scale. With its compact, cruciform plan, its sexpartite vaulting, flying buttresses and vastly enlarged windows, it became a prototype for future French cathedrals."

—John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. p116.

"The original plan comprised double aisles and ambulatories and was on a bent axial line. The transepts, as so often in the Paris region, did not project beyond the aisle wall. The interior elevation was originally of four levels, with an arcade of columnar piers; a tribune, originally covered with transverse barrel vaults, and lit by round windows; decorative oculi opening into the tribune roof spaces; and small clerestory windows. The high vault is sexpartite, covering double bays. The vault is very high—just over 30 m (100 ft)—and the wall which supports it very thin and articulated by very slender 'en délit' (face-bedded) shafts. Double-span flying buttresses support the nave. These are often said to be the earliest flying buttresses, though it is now clear that earlier buildings, for example Sens, also had them."

—Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. p390, 394.


Address: Parvis de Notre Dame. 75004 Paris, France.

Road distances in France are measured from the "0 km" point on the square.

Sources on Notre Dame Cathedral

Drawings of Great Buildings. Werner Blaser and Monica Stucky. Boston: Birkhauser Verlag, 1983. ISBN 3-7643-1522-9. LC 83-15831. NA2706.U6D72 1983. plan, section, and interior elevation drawings, p76.

Precedents in Architecture. Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. grid geometry diagram, p195. — Updated edition available at

Howard Davis. Slide from photographer's collection. Photo June 1981. PCD.2260.1012.1537.029. PCD.2260.1012.1537.030

A History of Architecture. Sir Banister Fletcher. Boston: Butterworths, 1987. ISBN 0-408-01587-X. NA200.F63 1987. discussion p390, 394. — The classic text of architectural history. Expanded 1996 edition available at

Johnson Architectural Images. Copyrighted slides in the Artifice Collection.

Schwabische Kunstgeschitchte 2. Hans Koepf. Stuttgart: Jan Thorbecke Verlag Konstanz, 1961. N6882.S9K6. elevation drawing of a transept end, f20, p 16.

Kevin Matthews, University of Oregon. Slide from photographer's collection, August 1992. PCD.3189.1011.1916.001

Modern Marvels : Gothic Cathedrals. Modern Marvels, 1994. VHS-NTSC format video tape. ISBN 6303937020. — Video - Available at

Great Architecture of The World. John Julius Norwich, ed. New York: Random House, 1975. ISBN 0-394-49887-9. NA200.G76. discussion, p116. Reprint edition: Da Capo Press, April 1991. ISBN 0-3068-0436-0. — An accessible, inspiring and informative overview of world architecture, with lots of full-color cutaway drawings, and clear explanations. Available at

A Handbook of Architectural Styles. A. Rosengarten. London: Chatto and Windus, 1910. NA200.R7 1910. elevation drawing of west front, f503, p342. elevation drawing of one bay of the nave, f502, p341.

Alene Stickles, University of Oregon. Slide from photographer's collection, June 1993. PCD.2365.1012.0634.025, Facade detail. PCD.2365.1012.0634.024, Facade detail. PCD.2365.1012.0634.023.

The Architecture Sourcebook. Russell Sturgis. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1984. ISBN 0-442-20831-9. LC 84-7275. NA2840.S78. detail drawing, p331.

Architecture, from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1986. interior photo, plan drawing, p234-235. facade photo, f379, p243. exterior photo, f387, p248. — Available at

Town and Square : From the Agora to the Village Green. Paul Zucker. New York: Columbia University Press, 1959. LC 59-11183. NA9070.Z8. site plan drawing, plate 2.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Notre Dame Cathedral


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