Notre Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave. After the construction began and the thinner walls (popularized in the Gothic style) grew ever higher, stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral's architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued the pattern. Many small statues were placed around the outside. These were crafted individually and served as supports for columns and water spouts. Among these are the famous gargoyles. These were originally colored, as was most of the exterior. The paint has worn off, but the grey stone was once covered with vivid colors. The cathedral was essentially complete by 1345.
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- West Face of Notre Dame de Paris and Petit Pont, Paris, France, 2012, Kadellar.
- The Back of Notre Dam de Paris, France, 2011, JSquish.
- Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg, 2010, Stephane Martin.
- Reims Cathedral at night, 2009, Jayanta Sen.
- Basilica Notre Dame de Fouvieres, Lyon), 2007, MckaelG.
- Interior of the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvieres, Lyon, 2011, Ludovic Courtes.
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