Pictures of the gothic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The actual name is Notre Dame de Paris, which means 'Our Lady of Paris' in French. Yes, I've been listening to French language tapes.
This is a gorgeous Catholic cathedral that is almost always very crowded. It's really only outdone by St. Peter's basillica in the Vatican.
You can see the flying buttresses in these pictures--those are the arched supports on the outside of the building. Notre Dame was one of the first buildings to use that (now very outdated) design technique. They were actually retrofit onto the building once the walls started to crumble. They look quite intentional, though, and they're extremely intricate.
They began building the cathedral while Louis VII was ruling France in 1163, and they didn't finish construction until 1345. It's been around 850 years, and France has had a colorful history in that time. The cathedral has felt it. It was vandalized or damaged during each of the major wars, including the French Revolution in 1793, when rioters cut the heads off of many of the statues. Years later they found the heads buried at a different location. The cathedral survived WWII--but the French proactively removed the windows and stored them someplace safe so they wouldn't be damaged by bombing. They restored the windows after we saved them from Germany. You're welcome, French.
In these pictures you'll also see the massive organ, which has 7,800 pipes. It's now completely computerized.