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It is possible therefore that the faults with the previous structure were exaggerated by the Bishop to help justify the rebuilding in a newer style.

According to legend, Sully had a vision of a glorious new cathedral for Paris, and sketched it on the ground outside the original church.

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The most significant change in design came in the mid 13th century, when the transepts were remodeled in the latest Rayonnant style; in the late 1240s Jean de Chelles added a gabled portal to the north transept topped off by a spectacular rose window.

Shortly afterwards (from 1258) Pierre de Montreuil executed a similar scheme on the southern transept.

Finally, I would willingly learn where [there are] two such circles, situated opposite each other in a straight line, which on account of their appearance are given the name of the fourth vowel [O] ; among which smaller orbs and circlets, with wondrous artifice, so that some arranged circularly, others angularly, surround windows ruddy with precious colors and beautiful with the most subtle figures of the pictures.

In fact I believe that this church offers the carefully discerning such cause for admiration that its inspection can scarcely sate the soul.

Many small individually crafted statues were placed around the outside to serve as column supports and water spouts.

Among these are the famous gargoyles, designed for water run-off, and chimeras. The cathedral has a narrow climb of 387 steps at the top of several spiral staircases; along the climb it is possible to view its most famous bell and its gargoyles in close quarters, as well as having a spectacular view across Paris when reaching the top.Notre-Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress.The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave but after the construction began, the thinner walls grew ever higher and stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward.To begin the construction, the bishop had several houses demolished and had a new road built to transport materials for the rest of the cathedral.Construction began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII, and opinion differs as to whether Sully or Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone of the cathedral. Bishop de Sully went on to devote most of his life and wealth to the cathedral's construction.Where indeed, I ask, would they find two towers of such magnificence and perfection, so high, so large, so strong, clothed round about with such a multiple variety of ornaments?Where, I ask, would they find such a multipartite arrangement of so many lateral vaults, above and below?Both these transept portals were richly embellished with sculpture; the south portal features scenes from the lives of St Stephen and of various local saints, while the north portal featured the infancy of Christ and the story of Theophilus in the tympanum, with a highly influential statue of the Virgin and Child in the trumeau.The Archaeological Crypt of the Paris Notre-Dame (La crypte archéologique du Parvis de Notre-Dame) was created in 1965 to protect a range of historical ruins, discovered during construction work and spanning from the earliest settlement in Paris to the modern day.Construction of the choir took from 1163 until around 1177 and the new High Altar was consecrated in 1182 (it was normal practice for the eastern end of a new church to be completed first, so that a temporary wall could be erected at the west of the choir, allowing the chapter to use it without interruption while the rest of the building slowly took shape).After Bishop Maurice de Sully's death in 1196, his successor, Eudes de Sully (no relation) oversaw the completion of the transepts and pressed ahead with the nave, which was nearing completion at the time of his own death in 1208.

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