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The Gargoyles of Notre Dame Cathedral in the Heart of Paris

Updated on May 9, 2016
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FlourishAnyway welcomes the opportunity to travel both stateside and abroad and especially enjoys documenting her fun through photography.

Foreboding Clouds: A "Gargoyle" Surveys The Paris Landscape

Poised on the Notre Dame Cathedral, a goat-shaped gargoyle looks out over the Paris sky.
Poised on the Notre Dame Cathedral, a goat-shaped gargoyle looks out over the Paris sky.

The Worthwhile Climb To the Top

Perched high atop the towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral, ornamental stone statues peer over the Paris landscape.

Some laugh, one spits, others look bored, feed on prey, or they grimace. What would they say if they could talk?

Notre Dame: A Beauty to Behold

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Going to Paris?  With its stained glass windows, Notre Dame is a must see.As you enter the cathedral on the left, look for Saint Denis.  Christian tradition says the martyr picked his decapitated head and walked six miles (10 km), preaching the entire wayNotre Dame is a full functioning cathedral.  On average, visits take 50 minutes.Attend mass, write down prayer requests, meet with priests any day of the week, and receive sacraments.Notre Dame is a place of prayer and reflection.
Going to Paris?  With its stained glass windows, Notre Dame is a must see.
Going to Paris? With its stained glass windows, Notre Dame is a must see. | Source
As you enter the cathedral on the left, look for Saint Denis.  Christian tradition says the martyr picked his decapitated head and walked six miles (10 km), preaching the entire way
As you enter the cathedral on the left, look for Saint Denis. Christian tradition says the martyr picked his decapitated head and walked six miles (10 km), preaching the entire way | Source
Notre Dame is a full functioning cathedral.  On average, visits take 50 minutes.
Notre Dame is a full functioning cathedral. On average, visits take 50 minutes. | Source
Attend mass, write down prayer requests, meet with priests any day of the week, and receive sacraments.
Attend mass, write down prayer requests, meet with priests any day of the week, and receive sacraments. | Source
Notre Dame is a place of prayer and reflection.
Notre Dame is a place of prayer and reflection. | Source

Commune with the What-cha-ma-call-its

Stoic, the birds, mythical monsters and hybrid beasts are eerie witnesses to history. However, they are not as old as many people often think.1

The structures were added during the reconstruction of the church in the 1840s.2 So don't blame them for crowning of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte or his predecessors.

Don't cast aspersions on them for being mere spectators as 17,000 French citizens lost their heads during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. They weren't even here yet.

Yet when the Nazis invaded the country during World War II, the gargoyles stood strong, withstanding a four-day German siege on the church.3

Today they tolerate the prying eyes and camera clicks of tourists -- tourists like me -- who ascend the 387 steps to catch an up-close glimpse of these stone marvels.4 Catching a personal glimpse of these silent grotesqueses was one of the highlights of my Paris trip -- and well worth the climb to the top.

There are no elevators here, and you can't see the statues well from the ground. If you are able, you simply must climb!

Gargoyles Are Rain Diversion Devices With A Spouts

The term "gargoyle" is often used incorrectly.  Notice that these gargoyles are actually functional drainspouts.  Chimera are pictured in the distance.
The term "gargoyle" is often used incorrectly. Notice that these gargoyles are actually functional drainspouts. Chimera are pictured in the distance.

What's In A Name: Gargoyle, Chimera, or Grotesque?

In my trip up the tower steps, I learned that I had been calling those carved creatures by the wrong name all this time. And you probably have been, too.

The Catholic Church was kind enough to set me straight in their official pamphlet. Correct terminology is as follows:

Chimera are ornamental-only sculptures. They are the statues often depicted as monsters or mythical beasts such as birds, hybrid creatures, or monsters.

Thus, the statues that are pictured in this article are from the Notre Dame Chimera Gallery, located 150 feet (46 meters) above the Paris streets. Some of the more famous type of chimera:

  • Wyvern - a winged, two footed dragon
  • Stryga - the most famous Notre Dame chimera, often referred to incorrectly as is the "Spitting Gargoyle." It faces the Eiffel Tower. (See the photo gallery at bottom of page.)

Gargoyles, on the other hand, are carved drain spouts designed to carry rainwater away from a building to protect the masonry from water damage. They have adorned the cathedral for more than 600 years.5 Ornate carvings of creatures with water coming out of their mouths are examples (see photo, right).

As architectural elements, gargoyles serve a functional purpose, whereas chimeras are merely decorative.

Grotesques is the generic term for such stone carvings, regardless of whether they carry water.

How would you feel if everyone referred to you by the incorrect name for all of your life? Just sayin'.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Notre Dame's three rosettes are one of the three greatest masterpieces of Christianity.Victor Hugo brought attention to the cathedral's dilapidated condition in the early 19th century, Notre Dame is still a functioning church.The gardens of Notre Dame are adorned with  roses and other flora.Yellow roses signify friendship, and pink roses mean admiration.The roses grow in the Notre Dame square where in World War II the French resisted the Nazis.
Notre Dame's three rosettes are one of the three greatest masterpieces of Christianity.
Notre Dame's three rosettes are one of the three greatest masterpieces of Christianity. | Source
Victor Hugo brought attention to the cathedral's dilapidated condition in the early 19th century, Notre Dame is still a functioning church.
Victor Hugo brought attention to the cathedral's dilapidated condition in the early 19th century, Notre Dame is still a functioning church. | Source
The gardens of Notre Dame are adorned with  roses and other flora.
The gardens of Notre Dame are adorned with roses and other flora. | Source
Yellow roses signify friendship, and pink roses mean admiration.
Yellow roses signify friendship, and pink roses mean admiration. | Source
The roses grow in the Notre Dame square where in World War II the French resisted the Nazis.
The roses grow in the Notre Dame square where in World War II the French resisted the Nazis. | Source

The History of Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame ("Our Lady") is an 850-year old Catholic cathedral which typifies the grand gothic architectural style. It is built in the heart of Paris on the city island in the Seine River.

1163-1345 - The cathedral was built.

1548 - During riots, Huguenots (French Protestants) damaged parts of the cathedral they considered idolatrous.

1558 - Mary Queen of Scots was crowned Queen of France at the cathedral.

1793 - The cathedral was spared from destruction during the French Revolution, having been rededicated as a "Temple of Reason."

1795 - The cathedral was sold to a private citizen who sought to demolish the building for its stone. It was returned to the Catholic Church in 1802.

1804 - Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of France in the cathedral.

1940-1944 - During World War II, Notre Dame square became the center of French resistance against the Nazis. The cathedral withstood the tanks and guns of a four-day German siege.

History Of the Gargoyle

The term "gargoyle" originates from the French word "gargouille," meaning "throat" or "gullet." Related English words are "gargle" and "gurgle."6 True gargoyles serve the practical purpose of carrying rainwater away from the building, thereby preventing deterioration of the cathedral's masonry.

Gargoyles have been used throughout the ages. In Ancient Egypt, they took the form of a lion's head, almost without exception. They could also be found on Greek temples such as on the Temple of Zeus. Terra cotta water spouts were even found in the ruins of Pompeii.7

In more contemporary times, gargoyles can be found on old buildings in American cities of New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, as well as on the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.8

Modern architecture replaced gargoyles with gutter downspouts because gargoyles sometimes fell off buildings from the weight of the stone. The carvings also scared some people. The 1724 London Building Act, for instance, required all newly erected buildings in that country to be equipped with gutters rather than gargoyles.

A Heron "Gargoyle" Protects His Church

Although the Heron Gargoyle does a good job at scaring away evil spirits, he needs the wire on his neck to keep him pigeon-proof.
Although the Heron Gargoyle does a good job at scaring away evil spirits, he needs the wire on his neck to keep him pigeon-proof.

Reader Poll

What name will YOU be using for the decorative-only statues on the Notre Dame cathedral?

See results

Chimeras and the Catholic Church

Throughout history grotesques have been viewed in two ways by the Catholic Church whose cathedrals they adorn.9

First, they have been considered guardians of the church, warding away evil and protecting the inhabitants. Especially among illiterate populations that the church sought to convert, the statues were thought to come alive at night. The winged creatures were believed to even fly around the city to protect citizens at night before returning to their stony perches before daylight.

Others in the Catholic Church, particularly medieval clergy, asserted that stone chimeras were a form of idolatry. A famous rant against them was made in the 12th century by St. Bernard of Clairvaux:

What are these fantastic monsters doing in the cloisters before the eyes of the brothers as they read? What is the meaning of these unclean monkeys, these strange savage lions, and monsters? To what purpose are here placed these creatures, half beast, half man, or these spotted tigers? I see several bodies with one head and several heads with one body. ... Surely if we do not blush for such absurdities, we should at least regret what we have spent on them.

So perhaps our love of these eerie beings that still perch upon the Tower of Notre Dame is a blend of both rebellion (against those who would banish them) and fascination with the macabre?

Whatever the reason, their sculptor, Joseph Pyanet, has created a legacy of mythical, magical wonders.10 May they outlast us all.

The Spitting Gargoyle and His Friends Have Such Personality

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The infamous Spitting Gargoyle looks bored.  Just another day hanging out in Paris.A panic-stricken Bird Gargoyle calls out behind the Spitting Gargoyle, "Caw, Caw."  No response.  He must have stone in his ears.Don't cross the evil Goat Gargoyle.  He looks down over his territory.The one leaning over looks like a Hyena Gargoyle with a horn.  He seems to be laughing at all the tourists who are lined up outside.The bird gargoyle here tries in vain to warn tourists that the Paris Pass will not allow them to skip this line.  Perhaps that's what the hyena is laughing about?
The infamous Spitting Gargoyle looks bored.  Just another day hanging out in Paris.
The infamous Spitting Gargoyle looks bored. Just another day hanging out in Paris. | Source
A panic-stricken Bird Gargoyle calls out behind the Spitting Gargoyle, "Caw, Caw."  No response.  He must have stone in his ears.
A panic-stricken Bird Gargoyle calls out behind the Spitting Gargoyle, "Caw, Caw." No response. He must have stone in his ears. | Source
Don't cross the evil Goat Gargoyle.  He looks down over his territory.
Don't cross the evil Goat Gargoyle. He looks down over his territory. | Source
The one leaning over looks like a Hyena Gargoyle with a horn.  He seems to be laughing at all the tourists who are lined up outside.
The one leaning over looks like a Hyena Gargoyle with a horn. He seems to be laughing at all the tourists who are lined up outside. | Source
The bird gargoyle here tries in vain to warn tourists that the Paris Pass will not allow them to skip this line.  Perhaps that's what the hyena is laughing about?
The bird gargoyle here tries in vain to warn tourists that the Paris Pass will not allow them to skip this line. Perhaps that's what the hyena is laughing about? | Source

One Traveler's Perspective

There is no entrance fee for the cathedral itself, and the fee to ascend the bell towers is nominal. Its cost is included in the price of a Paris Pass.

We noticed, however, that some Paris Pass tourists were upset to learn that they had to wait in line like everyone else. During peak tourist season, lines can extend to two hours.

My family instead opted to take a half day walking tour of the Île de la Cité (island city) which included a true skip-the-line of the Tower, in addition to a walking tour around the island flower market, several famous bridges, and inside the cathedral.

The biographical anecdotes, architectural and religious explanations, and historical references were well worth the additional cost. I am not affiliated with any tour company -- just a happy tourist sharing my experience.

Whichever option you choose, I hope you can spare the time to visit the towers of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Elephants Can Be "Gargoyles," Too!

This guy doesn't look all that scary.
This guy doesn't look all that scary.

The Notre Dame Cathedral - Paris, France

A markernotre dame cathedral paris france -
Notre Dame Cathedral, Parvis Notre-Dame - place Jean-Paul-II, 75004 Paris, France
get directions

The View From the Top: The Paris Cityscape

What a splendid view of the Eiffel Tower and the city below.  Worth the climb!
What a splendid view of the Eiffel Tower and the city below. Worth the climb!

Video of Notre Dame and Its "Gargoyles"

Notes

1Encyclopedia Britannica. "Reign of Terror (French history)." Accessed July 6, 2013. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/588360/Reign-of-Terror.

2Center of National Monuments. Towers of Notre-Dame: The Symbol of Medieval Paris. Paris: Center of National Monuments, 2012.

3France And Paris Travel Guide With Tourist Information. "Notre Dame Cathedral In Paris France." Accessed July 6, 2013. http://placesinfrance.com/notre_dame_de_paris.html.

4Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. "The Towers and the Crypt." Accessed July 6, 2013. http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/spip.php?article477.

5Essortment. "The Gargoyles Of Notre Dame." Accessed July 7, 2013. http://www.essortment.com/gargoyles-notre-dame-24188.html.

6Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Gargoyle." Last modified July 5, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gargoyle.

7Crystalinks Home Page. "Gargoyles and Grotesques." Accessed July 7, 2013. http://www.crystalinks.com/gargoyles.html.

8RoadsideAmerica.com. "Washington, DC - Gargoyles, Washington National Cathedral." Accessed July 7, 2013. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/16898.

9Dixon, Laurinda S. "A Review Of The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame: Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity." NCAW. Accessed July 7, 2013. http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/index.php/autumn10/the-gargoyles-of-notre-dame.

10Home Page for Northstar Gallery. "Historical Base for Gargoyles - Northstar Gallery." Accessed July 7, 2013. http://northstargallery.com/gargoyles/aboutgargoyles.htm.

© 2013 FlourishAnyway

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 4 months ago from USA

      jhon - I wish I could tell you, as I have yet to see a sourced number I can trust. When I visited, I didn't find an official number listed in any of the documents available to tourists. Thanks for asking this very good question, though.

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      jhon 4 months ago

      how many gargoyles was/is there

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      TW - Thank you for stopping by and for the time you took to share your views.

    • profile image

      TW 6 months ago

      It's important to maintain the original or eldest definition/structural integrity of the buildings attributes, even if they are not current or modern beliefs, it gives people/students/etc a place to begin studying anthropology and history. Not only by looking at the physical product, but looking at the designer and his or her thought process, along with demographics can illuminate a multitude of ideas of how and what we are evolving into as a human species. One could even look into the group requesting this kind of work.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Alun - It was one of my favorite stops in Paris. Although I had been to Paris before and to the Notre Dame, this way definitely a better trip for having viewed the chimera close up and having been able to both photograph them and see Paris' breathtaking cityscape. Hang on to that camera, though, as it's a long way down! Have a wonderful week and thank you for commenting.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 6 months ago from Essex, UK

      Good article Flourish, and illustrated with your own very good photos. Much of the information was new to me. The terminology of grotesques, and their history, was interesting. I did not know the chimera on Notre Dame were only added in the 19th century, but perhaps that mirrors what was going on in Victorian England where there was considerable interest at that time in recreating the look of Roman or Medieval architecture.

      I like also the 12th century comment by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Though I disagree with his opinion of gargoyles, it is a very eloquent and clever comment.

      I once wrote an article about photographing the detail of buildings in Paris, so of course it's nice to see a hub specifically concentrating on gargoyles (or grotesques) and also showing some of the Notre Dame stained glass windows. Peoples' experience of buildings like this is enhanced if they can appreciate the fine work which has gone into them - and particularly in the case of these figurines which in their day required such skill and daring to place them, and sometimes in positions so far up in the sky that they can scarcely even be seen from the ground.

      With that in mind, next time I go to Paris, I will definitely aim to climb the steps to get up close to these statues. Cheers, Alun

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

      Debbie DeCarlo - To the best of my knowledge, it has to do with politics and the conflict between the Catholic church and the French state as well as the symbolism of some of the birds (e.g., owl as the harbinger of death). Let me refer you to a fabulous book, The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame: Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity By Michael Camille.

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      Debbie DeCarlo 9 months ago

      Why were the gargoyles not replaced by great birds inside?

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      mcarts 18 months ago

      thanks yo

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 19 months ago from USA

      Suzanna - Thanks so much for your encouraging feedback. I loved not only the view above Paris but also the architecture. I do hope you're able to take your little one back with you one day.

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      Suzanna 19 months ago

      Wow, thank you!. I loved your research, and writting about Notre Dame. I agree, it is a must see if in Paris. I had the chance to visit this summer. I will return when my toddler is older.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Susie - I had little idea myself until we took the trip there. It was one of the highlights of our Paris trip. Thanks for stopping by and have a terrific weekend!

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Thank you for the educational hub about gargoyles and chimeras. I didn't know the difference till now, but then I had not read much about them.

      This really is another AWESOME article, Flourish.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Cherylann - Walking in such a historical and beautiful place was an adventure in itself. It was so grand and beautiful, both inside and out, and even as we walked they were having a mass, as it is a working cathedral. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Cherylann Mollan profile image

      Cherylann Mollan 3 years ago from India

      Hi FlourishAnyway! Such a beautiful hub and I'm glad I came across it. Well, the first time I was acquainted with these grotesque, but splendid architectural masterpieces was in the book Harry Potter, and I've been taken up by them ever since. Having read your hub and the myths surrounding these beasts, a thought crossed my mind. There is such a difference between our ancestors and us. Although we pride ourselves on modernity and all our innovations, there is a loss of belief in all things magical and mystical. So practical and rational have we become, that we've actually missed out on the wonder and fancy of folklore and mythology.

    • spiritwood profile image

      spiritwood 3 years ago from Wales, UK

      i can imagine!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      spiritwood - So glad you enjoyed this. Climbing to the top of the tower was one of the best parts of our France trip --such a gorgeous view.

    • spiritwood profile image

      spiritwood 3 years ago from Wales, UK

      beautiful! i love the pictures and the information. many thanks

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Anna - Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It was such an enchanting cathedral, inside as well as out.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      Really fascinating and your photographs were excellent.

      I have always thought gargoyles were interesting, but now that you have given me the facts I know they are.

      Great content and the level of research you must have undertaken shines through clearly.

      Anna

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Shasta - Thanks for reading and commenting. The climb to the top was as interesting as the tour inside the cathedral, although very different. Glad you found this a good hub.

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      Shasta Matova 3 years ago from USA

      I've been to Notre Dame, but we didn't have time to wait in line and go to the steps to get an up close view of the gargoyles / chimera / architecture. Thanks for the up close tour. It is fascinating work.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      DDE - Thanks for reading and commenting. They are very intriguing -- one of the highlights of my trip to Paris! Glad you enjoyed the photos.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The Gargoyles of Notre Dame Cathedral beautiful photos and your hubs are most interesting and informative.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - Thanks for reading and commenting. Notre Dame Cathedral is a beautiful place, whether you are inside the church or atop. Hope you get a chance to visit it some day.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      This is a great article that truly takes you to the place you're right about. For a few minutes, I actually felt as if I was looking at part of Notre Dame Cathedral, a church I've always wanted to visit.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Seshagopalan - Thanks for taking a look at the hub. So happy that you enjoyed it!

    • Seshagopalan profile image

      Seshagopalan Murali 3 years ago from Chennai, Tamil Nadu

      You present me a playing video before my eyes.. Awesome.. Great photography..

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Carolyn - Thank you for reading and commenting. It is a magical place and I'm glad the photography did its beauty justice.

    • CarolynEmerick profile image

      Carolyn Emerick 3 years ago

      Terrific article! How lucky you are to have been able to see this with your family. I love that you incorporated some background history into the tour and used your own photos. I can be a snob with photos, it drives me nuts when people don't do simple things to improve pictures now that it's so easy with digital photography. But your's are excellent! Great angles, excellent compositions, cropped perfectly, lighting and color is wonderful. They are very pleasant to behold! Definitely upvoting and sharing :-)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Ella Quick - I do hope you are able to go to Paris one day! The gargoyles/chimera are calling your name.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Sally - Thank you for reading, commenting and voting. Notre Dame is a fantastic, mystical place definitely worth a visit!

    • SallyTX profile image

      Sally Branche 3 years ago from Only In Texas!

      Intriguing information! Voted up and interesting! ;D

    • Ella Quirk profile image

      Ella Quirk 3 years ago

      What a great topic for a hub. The gargoyles are fascinating and if I ever get to Paris, you've definitely inspired me to check them out.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Leslie - Thank you for the kudos. I appreciate the kind words and encouragement. Notre Dame was a fantastic place to visit.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Rebecca - Thank you for reading and looking at the photos! It was a very special place to visit.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Nell - I enjoy them too. They usually have such unusual expressions, some funny, some scary or happy. They are quite bemusing. Thank you for the visit and share!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Those gargoyles are some more characters. I love your photos of Paris!

    • LeslieOutlaw profile image

      Leslie 3 years ago from South Carolina

      Great hub! Voted up and beautifully written. I love the topic and learned a lot about these historic figures. I look forward to reading more of your work :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Now this was fascinating, I love Gargoyles, but I never realised that people used that term to cover all the different types of statue. And I never realised it meant water spout etc, fascinating! I have a gargoyle on my balcony! lol! only about 12 ins tall, but its blue with red eyes, yes I painted it! it keeps watch over my house, childish I know, but hey, that's me! lol! voted up and shared, nell

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      prasetio30 - Glad you enjoyed this hub. It is a spectactular cathedral, inside and out. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I really enjoy this tour. I had never heard about this before. Thanks for sharing with us. Voted up!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      bingskee - So glad you enjoyed this. Even if you may never visit, it is always nice to look at faraway places. Have a great day.

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 3 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      lovely hub! and interesting, too. even if i might not have the chance to visit, just reading filled me with enough information.

      i love how the definitions were laid. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Peggy - It was quite an amazing trip ... so busy that I had to take a vacation to recover from it 2-3 weeks later. Thank you for commenting, voting, sharing. I appreciate it!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Another amazing hub! Now I know the difference between gargoyles and chimeras thanks to you. Glad that you climbed those steps and were able to take those fabulous photos. Enjoyed reading and viewing this hub. That was some amazing trip that you took! Many up votes, sharing and pinning.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      kidscrafts - Thanks for visiting and sharing your experience with Notre Dame. It is a magical place, whether inside the cathedral or from the roof. I can just imagine how lovely the singers must have sounded.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for sharing this great hub and your fantastic pictures. My husband and I visited Notre Dame Cathedral a few years ago but we didn't climb those steps and I don't remember the reason (but we climbed the Eifel tower).

      During the visit of the Notre Dame Cathedral there was a Russian ensemble singing and the sound of their voices in the Cathedral was just divine.

      Voted up, awesome, beautiful and interesting!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Victoria - Thanks for reading, voting, and commenting. There was one that I didn't feature (because it had people in the background) that looks like he was nearly choking on a meal of some animal. Great expressions. Now I am completely into the whole grotesque statue thing.

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      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Wow, this is so thorough. The history, the dates, the photos. The hyena gargoyle cracks me up! Great job. Voted up and more!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Heidi, Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing. It was a wonderful trip to the top and something I highly recommend for anyone visiting Paris.

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      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      What amazing pictures and an incredible hub! Thoroughly enjoyed and shared!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Bill - I do hope you can visit Paris. It is fantastic. The first time we went we had no plan and just roamed the city, visited landmarks at leisure. The second time we had a well mapped-out agenda. Both had their advantages, but I agree with you about using local guides. No need to waste time in long lines. Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi FlourishAnyway. A great look at these mystical creatures. I can't wait to visit Paris and the Notre Dame Cathedral someday. We also try to use local guides when traveling. It really adds to the experience and skipping any lines when on vacation is a must for me. Great job. Voted up, shared and pinned.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Elias - Thank you for your kind comments and for pinning. It was an awesome place to visit -- mysterious, magical, and a beautiful view of Paris.

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

      Excellent hub and great photos. Enjoyed the read and the detailed information you provide. Voted and pinned!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      bravewarrior - Thank you for the encouragement and for reading. I thought the dipping the hand in the holy water was kind of funny too. I think he was just ill-informed, kind of kid-like. For a second I wondered whether he might even take a sip. My husband was raised Catholic and even has relatives who are "of the cloth" so he tries to keep me on the straight and narrow. I have been known to innocently not pay for a church pamphlet I found interesting (who knew -- I thought they were free?), and I once lit a bunch of candles in one Catholic cathedral, thinking I was doing a favor. He shakes his head and gently sets me straight. I'm not a quick study in this area.

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      What a delightful and informative hub! All my life I've been calling Chimeras by the wrong name. This is so interesting and you certainly have done your homework! What an awesome experience visiting Notre Dame must have been for you. I got a kick out of the guy in the video who kept dipping his hand in the Holy Water. Apparently, he's not Catholic or he'd know what to do with it!

      Great hub. Thank you so much for this magical read.

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      Celina Martin 3 years ago from London

      Very rightly said flourishanyway, life indeed is quite short, so make the most of it.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      zeusspeak - Thanks for reading. I see that you are in London. You simply must find a way to do this one day! They are so marvelous! I loved them so much I am going to professionally frame some of my travel photos and hang them in my house to remind me of my travels. Life is so short. I hope your travels take you to everywhere you want to go.

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      Celina Martin 3 years ago from London

      Flourish anyway, I always have this earnest desire to visit these gargoyles of Notredam. Have read a lot about it and your hub has amplified that desire. It was so informative and yet so interesting. loved it

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Rose-the-planner - I think I am with you. The Spitting Gargoyle has such personality. It is such a shame that the sculptor of these great works of art is a virtual unknown these days.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Jabelufiroz - Thank you for the read and vote. Hope you have a chance to visit these mystical beings. Glad you enjoyed!

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      rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Great article and amazing images! When we went to France we stayed in Paris for a week before heading south and it was beautiful. Notre Dame Cathedral was breathtaking and the Gargoyles are stunning. Unfortunately, we did not climb the stairs as we were exhausted. Perhaps next time.........I think the Spitting Gargoyle is my favourite. Thanks for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

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      Firoz 3 years ago from India

      Useful travel guide FLOURISHANYWAY. Voted up.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Thank you, vespawoolf! My husband and I were there in 1995 and never climbed the Towers, not realizing there was a reason good enough to do it. I do hope that one day you can return. Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing.

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      vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

      Thank you for sharing your gorgeous photos of the chimeras of Notre Dame! Unfortunately, due to a lack of time we only saw them from the ground. Now I will definitely set aside the time for a climb to the top if ever we make it back to Paris. I really enjoyed your photos and the historic information. I didn't realize that gargoyles also serve a practical purpose. Voted up and shared!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      purl3agony - Thank you for the visit, comment and share. It is such a majestic place, inside and out. It was my second time visiting, and I could keep going back and back.

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      Donna Herron 3 years ago from USA

      Great hub! I remember learning about Notre Dame in my college art history courses. It's fun to revisit this information and enjoy your great photos!! Thanks for sharing this info!

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