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Cathedral of Our Lady of Rheims

Cathedral, Reims (photo by Otd 7 - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
Cathedral of Reims.

Description

Dominating the city, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Rheims (Notre-Dame de Reims) stands on the site of the basilica where Clovis was baptized by Saint Rémy, bishop of Reims, in 496 CE.

The present edifice was started around 1211 and completed by the end of the century, with the exception of the west front, that dates from the 14th century.

The towers, which are 81 m (approx. 267 feet) tall, were originally designed to rise 120 m (approx. 394 feet). The southern tower contains two great bells; one of them, named "Charlotte" by the cardinal of Lorraine in 1570, weighs more than 10,000 kg (approx. 11 tons). The interior of the cathedral is 138.75 m (approx. 455 ft) long, 30 m (approx. 98 feet) wide in the nave, and 38 m (approx. 125 feet) high in the centre.

There is a profusion of statues and sculptures on every facade of the cathedral. Inside, the stained glass windows are magnificent, especially the rose window over the main portal and the gallery beneath. Russian-Jewish artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985) added its own stained glass window section in 1974. Among the numerous other masterpieces housed in Our Lady of Rheims, let's note the paintings by Tintoretto (1518-1594) and Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665).

The treasury contains the Sainte Ampoule, a holy flask containing the oil with which French kings were anointed. The original one was shattered during the French Revolution, but a fragment of it was incorporated to the replica.



Statues on the façade of the Cathedral of Reims (© Magdalena Jankowska / iStockphoto.com)
Statues on the façade of the Cathedral of Reims.

Interior of the Cathedral of Reims (© Mike Dabell / iStockphoto.com)
Ceiling of the nave, Cathedral of Reims.

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