Monday, October 17, 2011

Downey Daily on vacation—Notre Dame

Notre Dame

[Editor's note: Pam, Joan, and Allison are on vacation in Paris this week. This week's posts will come to you direct from the City of Lights.]

If you've been following Downey Daily Photos for a while now, you might have noticed that we really like taking pictures of old churches and odd outdoor decorations. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris combines both of these inclinations in one location. Built between the 10th and 12th centuries, Notre Dame is definitely old. With its French Gothic architecture and flying buttresses, it is one of the most beautiful churches in Paris.

But the gargoyles and chimera are distinctly odd! According to the Notre Dame website:
Notre-Dame’s gargoyles are very famous! I’m sure you’ve heard of them before. But do you know what they’re used for? They were built into the ends of the gutters to drain rainwater off the roof; since the gargoyles extend far off the side of the roof, the litres of rainwater from storms fall far from the walls to prevent damage. The chimeras are used as simple decorations. Most of them are on the façade, seated on a gallery, watching the people below and scanning all of Paris. The sculptors really used their imagination on these statues. They are animal and human figures, half-man and half-beast, grotesque, horrific, fantastic creatures with eagles’ beaks and wings, lions’ talons, serpents’ tails… Although some of them may be frightening, they remind us that all creatures are the work of God, so they deserve His love and salvation.

Notre Dame gargoyles

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