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Foundations of the Façade and first two spans of the nave

01/01/119001/01/1225

During this period, the foundations of the Façade were built, along with the first two spans of the nave and the connection between them and the Gallery of Kings. Learn more about the iconic façade below.

The Façade

The west façade is the first treasure of the cathedral. Its proportions, its elevation, and the arrangement of its sculptures make it a true monumental masterpiece.

Each of the three large portals entirely decorated with statues has two very heavy wooden doors with panels that give access to the interior of the Cathedral.

In the Middle Ages, a very large portion of the façade was painted on, particularly all the statues, which tell the story of the Bible and the Christians in such a way that those who did not know how to read could learn and understand the Saint History and the lifes of the saints. 

On this façade, 28 statues represent the Kings of Judah and Israel, ancestrals of Christ. Below these figures, we find the statues of Adam and Eve. On the center, a large rose with an almost 10-meter long diameter forms an aureole to the statue of the Virgin Mary, which is framed by two angels and presents us her child, Jesus, the Son of God.

La Façade

La façade ouest est le premier trésor de la cathédrale. Ses proportions, son élévation, l’ensemble de ses sculptures en font un véritable chef-d’œuvre monumental.

Trois grands portails entièrement décorés de statues ont chacun deux très lourdes portes de bois, des vantaux, qui donnent accès à l’intérieur de la cathédrale.

Au Moyen-Âge, une très grande partie de la façade était peinte, en particulier toutes les statues. Celles-ci racontent la Bible et l’histoire des chrétiens : ainsi ceux qui ne savaient pas lire pouvaient apprendre et comprendre l’Histoire Sainte et la vie des Saints.

Sur cette façade, 28 statues représentent les rois de Juda et d’israël, ancêtres du Christ. Au-dessus de ces personnages, de part et d’autres de la façade, on trouve les statues d’Adam et Eve. Au centre, une grande rose, dont le diamètre mesure presque 10 mètres, forme une auréole à la statue de la Vierge Marie qui est encadrée par deux anges et nous présente son enfant, Jésus, le Fils de Dieu.

La Façade on the Notre-Dame de Paris website (in French)

West façade of the Notre-Dame. Image by Wikipedia user Greudin.

Image source

On the image above, you can see the statues of the 28 kings of Judah, just below the rose. On the lower part, take notice of the three portals: the Portal of the Virgin (on the left of the viewer), the Portal of Judgment and the Portal of Sainte-Anne, in this order. The links below give more details about each portal (in French).

The Portal of the Virgin

The Portal of the Last Judgement

The Portal of Sainte-Anne

Detail of the Portal of Judgement. 19th century photograph by Gustave Le Gray, made available by Eur...

Image source. Europeana Collections.

Detail of the Portal of Sainte-Anne. Public domain image made available by Europeana Collections.

Image source. Europeana Collections.

Detail of the Portal of Sainte-Anne. Photograph by Eugène Atget, made available by Europeana Collect...

Image source. Europeana Collections.

Detail of the three portals. Photograph by Benh Lieu Song.

Image source

The video below is in French, but it shows detailed images of the statues of the façade:
Les portails de la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

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Published in 22/04/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic Architecture:


01/01/184431/05/1864Major restorationMajor restoration
15/04/2019 • 18:20:0016/04/2019 • 08:30:00Fire
19/05/1182Consecration of the master altarConsecration of the master altar
01/01/199001/01/1992Restoration of the great organRestoration of the great organ
01/01/1260Construction of the South RoseConstruction of the South Rose
01/01/1250Construction of the North RoseConstruction of the North Rose
01/01/1225Construction of the West RoseConstruction of the West Rose
01/01/1250Construction of the first spireConstruction of the first spire
01/01/178601/01/1792The first spire was dismantled
15/04/2019 • 19:53:00The spire collapsed under the fire