Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Chimera of Notre Dame

One of the Chimera of Notre Dame - Paris, France
One of the Chimera of Notre Dame - Paris, France 

Chimera are grotesque mythical figures which have been made from the body parts of a mixture of animals.  Most often they were a mix of Monkeys, Goats, Wolves and Eagles. A number of churches built in the Medieval period feature Chimeras and out of these, Notre Dame is probably the most famous. They were added to the Galerie des Chimères during the restoration of the cathedral in 1845.

More images and info after the jump.

One of the Chimera of Notre Dame - Paris, France
One of the Chimera of Notre Dame - Paris, France

The Chimera, unlike the more famous Gargoyles, serve no purpose and are only used for decoration. The Gargoyles on the other hand, are actually used to disguise gutters which drain rain water off the cathedral. They stick out of the facade of the building in order to ensure that the water is moved far away from the walls with the aim of minimising damage.

One of the Chimera of Notre Dame - Paris, France
One of the Chimera of Notre Dame - Paris, France

The climb to the top of the tower isn't tough as you are forced to take a break half way up. Due to the confined space at the top and along the Galerie des Chimères, climbers have to wait until the previous group has moved on before they can continue. The last stage of the climb is along a spiral stairway which leads you to the top of the south tower. The steps are stone and worn in the middle from the thousands of people who have climbed it over the centuries. Not a good place for claustrophobic people!

These shots were taken with a Canon 7D and the 24-105mm lens.
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