Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012


Well it has been three weeks since I have written anything. Life has been crazy! I was short three employees in my department for about a month. I have hired a new admission coordinator and she is catching on really quick. Her name is Alicia and she has managed an orthopedic clinic for 6 years. We have also been without an administrator for sometime now, so I have had some extra responsibility, that has required extra time at work. You know what's funny is I may complain about the hours, or "Stupid" people, but I really like the job. I have days here and there, where I wish I was anywhere else on the planet, but I think everyone has those days. There are days like yesterday, that I think will never end. I had five admits on the Health Care side of the building, and two on the LTACH side.... I ran over to the arena to see the Thunder Vs. Celtics game and had not been there 10 minutes before having to drive back to Midwest City to admit a patient and take care of some administrative issues. By the time I got home, the game was over and Mike had brought Trey home. I slept like a rock! I did not want to get up this morning, but had a dentist appointment at 7:00am! I ran to work and we had a crazy busy day. I had five admits on the LTACH side and two on the Health Care side. I came home and had to do some laundry and some cleaning. This dang dog is gonna be the death of me! He makes such a mess everyday but he is the baby! I am getting ready to send an email to my boss and let him know that I will be headed to France for nine days in three weeks... I am interested to see what he has to say about that! :-) 50 and cloudy in Paris! I am going to add a section of our trip each day...

I love you all! ( It's good to be back!)


Mat’s Quest 2012
Tour De France


Day 1: Fly overnight to France
Day 2: Paris
Arrive in Paris
Take a walking tour of Paris:
- Île de la Cité
- Conciergerie
- Sainte-Chapelle
Visit Notre Dame Cathedral
Day 3: Paris
Take a guided tour of Paris:
- Place de la Concorde
- Champs-Élysées
- Arc de Triomphe
- Les Invalides
- Eiffel Tower
Take a guided tour of Versailles:
- State Apartments
- Hall of Mirrors
- Gardens
Day 4: Loire Valley
Travel to the Loire Valley
Visit Chartres Cathedral
Make a photo stop at Chambord
Day 5: Loire Valley
Visit Amboise
Visit Chenonceau
Tour a wine cellar
Visit and dine at Troglodyte
Day 6: St. Malo
Travel to Brittany
Visit Mont St. Michel
Take a tour of St. Malo
Day 7: Normandy
Visit the D-Day beaches of Normandy:
American Cemetery
Visit the Caen Memorial
Day 8: Rouen . Paris
Travel to Rouen
Visit Rouen Cathedral
Continue on to Paris
Visit the Louvre
Day 9: Depart for home

Île de la Cité
The Île de la Cité (French pronunciation: [il də la site]) is one of two remaining natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris (the other being the Île Saint-Louis).[1] It is the centre of Paris and the location where the medieval city was refounded.  The western end has held a palace since Merovingian times, and its eastern end since the same period has been consecrated to religion, especially after the 10th century construction of a cathedral preceding today's Notre Dame. The land between the two was, until the 1850s, largely residential and commercial, but since has been filled by the city's Prefecture de Police, Palais de Justice, Hôtel-Dieu hospital and Tribunal de Commerce. Only the westernmost and northeastern extremities of the island remain residential today, and the latter preserves some vestiges of its 16th century canon's houses.
Remains of a defensive Roman wall beneath the parvis facing Notre Dame de Paris.
Most scholars believe that in 52 BC, at the time of Vercingetorix's struggle with Julius Caesar, a small Gallic tribe, the Parisii, lived on the island. At that time, the island was a low-lying area subject to flooding that offered a convenient place to cross the Seine and a refuge in times of invasion. However, some modern historians believe the Parisii were based on another, now eroded island. After the conquest of the Celts, the Roman Labienus created a temporary camp on the island, but further Roman settlement developed in the healthier air on the slopes above the Left Bank, at the Roman Lutetia.
Later Romans under Saint Genevieve escaped to the island when their city was attacked by Huns. Clovis established a Merovingian palace on the island, which became the capital of Merovingian Neustria. The island remained an important military and political center throughout the Middle Ages. Odo used the island as a defensive position to fend off Viking attacks at the Siege of Paris (885–886), and in the tenth century, a cathedral (the predecessor of Notre-Dame) was built on the island.From early times wooden bridges linked the island to the riverbanks on either side, the Grand Pont (the Pont au Change) spanning the wider reach to the Right Bank, and the Petit Pont spanning the narrower crossing to the Left Bank. The first bridge rebuilt in stone (in 1378) was at the site of the present Pont Saint-Michel, but ice floes carried it away with the houses that had been built on it in 1408.[2] The Grand Pont or Pont Notre-Dame, also swept away at intervals by floodwaters, and the Petit Pont were rebuilt by Fra Giovanni Giocondo at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The six arches of the Pont Notre-Dame supported gabled houses, some of half-timbered construction, until all were demolished in 1786.[3] The Île de la Cité remains the heart of Paris. All road distances in France are calculated from the 0 km point located in the Place du Parvis de Notre-Dame, the square facing Notre-Dame's west end-towers.

The Pont Neuf

The Pont Neuf, the "new bridge" that is now the oldest bridge in Paris, was completed by Henry IV, who inaugurated it in 1607. The bronze equestrian statue of Henry IV was commissioned from Giambologna under the orders of Marie de Medici, Henry's widow and Regent of France, in 1614. After his death, Giambologna's assistant Pietro Tacca completed the statue, which was erected on its pedestal by Pietro Francavilla in 1618. It was destroyed in 1792 during the French Revolution, but was remade from surviving casts in 1818. The sculpture originally rose from the river on its own foundations, abutting the bridge; since then, the natural sandbar building of a mid-river island, aided by stone-faced embankments called quais, has extended the island, which is planted as the teardrop-shaped Parc Vert Galant in honour of Henry IV, the "Green Gallant" King. The Place Dauphine, laid out in 1609 while the Place des Vosges was still under construction and named for the Dauphin of France, the future Louis XIII,[4] was among the earliest city-planning projects of Henry IV. The space, a rectangle with two canted ends, was made over to Achille du Harlay to construct thirty-two houses of regular plan. It is approached through a kind of gateway centred on the "downstream" end, formed by paired pavilions facing the equestrian statue of Henry IV on the far side of the Pont Neuf. They are built of brick with limestone quoins supported on arcaded stone ground floors and capped by steep slate roofs with dormers, very like the contemporaneous facades of Place des Vosges. Few visitors penetrate Place Dauphine, which lies behind them, and where all the other buildings have been raised in height, given new facades, rebuilt, or replaced with heightened pastiches of the originals. The former enclosing east side was swept away to open the view to the monumental white marble Second Empire Palais de Justice (built 1857–68), like a glazed colonnade[5] centered on the Place Dauphine, the remains of which now form a kind of forecourt to it.[6]

Île de la Cité 1609

The oldest remaining residential quarter is the Ancien Cloître. Baron Haussmann demolished some of the network of narrow streets, but was dismissed in 1869 before the entire quarter was lost.
Old engraved maps of Paris show how, when the Pont Neuf was built, it grazed the downstream tip – the "stern" of the island-ship. Since then, the natural sandbar building of a mid-river island, aided by stone-faced embankments called quais, has extended the island, which is planted as the small Vert Galant park, named for Henry IV of France, the "Green Gallant" king. It retains the original low-lying riverside level of the island. Nearby, a discreet plaque (illustration below) commemorates the spot where Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burnt at the stake, 18 March 1314. The upstream tip of the island is home to the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation, a memorial to the 200,000 French citizens who were deported to German labour camps during the Second World War. The Île de la Cité is connected to the rest of Paris by bridges to both banks of the river and to the Île Saint-Louis. The oldest surviving bridge is the Pont Neuf ('New Bridge'), which lies at the western end of the island. The island has one Paris Métro station, Cité; and the RER station Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame on the Left Bank has an exit in the square in front of the Cathedral.


The Palais de Justice, the Conciergerie and the Tour de l'Horloge, by Adrien Dauzats, after 1858
• La Conciergerie (French pronunciation: [la kɔ̃sjɛʒəʁi]) is a former royal palace and prison in Paris, France, located on the west of the Île de la Cité, near the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. It is part of the larger complex known as the Palais de Justice, which is still used for judicial purposes. Hundreds of prisoners during the French Revolution were taken from La Conciergerie to be executed on the guillotine at a number of locations around Paris. Le Palais west part of the island was the site of a Merovingian palace; and from the 10th to the 14th centuries was the seat of the medieval Kings of France. Under Louis IX (Saint Louis) (1226–1270) and Philip IV (Philip the Fair) (1284–1314) the Merovingian palace was extended and more heavily fortified.
Louis IX added the remarkable Sainte-Chapelle and associated galleries, while Philippe IV created the towered facade on the river side and a large hall. Both are excellent examples of French religious and secular architecture of the period. The Sainte-Chapelle, built in the French royal style, was erected to house the crown of thorns brought back from the crusades, and to serve as royal chapel. The "Grande-Salle" (Great Hall) was one of the largest in Europe, and its lower story, known as "La salle des gens d'armes" survives: 64 m long, 27.5 m wide and 8.5 m high. It was used as a dining-room for the 2,000 staff who worked in the palace. It was heated with four large fireplaces and lit by many windows, now blocked up. It was also used for royal banquets and judicial proceedings. The neighboring Salle des Gardes was used as an antechamber to the Great Hall immediately above, where the king held his lit de justice (a session of parliament in the king's presence). The early Valois kings continued to improve the palace in the 14th century, but Charles V abandoned the palace in 1358, moving across the river to the Louvre. The palace continued to serve an administrative function, and still included the chancellery and French Parliament. In 1391 the building was converted for use as a prison. Its prisoners were a mixture of common criminals and political prisoners. In common with other prisons of the time, the treatment of prisoners was very dependent on their wealth, status and connections. The very wealthy or influential usually got their own cells with a bed, desk and materials for reading and writing. Less well-off prisoners could afford to pay for simply furnished cells called pistoles, which would be equipped with a rough bed and perhaps a table. The poorest, known as the pailleux from the hay (paille) that they slept on, would be confined to dark, damp, vermin-infested cells called oubliettes (literally "forgotten places"). In keeping with the name, they were left to die in conditions that were ideal for the plague and other infectious diseases which were rife in the unsanitary conditions of the prison.
Three towers survive from the medieval Conciergerie: the Caesar Tower, named in honor of the Roman Emperors; the Silver Tower, so named for its (alleged) use as the store for the royal treasure; and the Bonbec ("good beak") Tower, which obtained its name from the torture chamber that it housed, in which victims were encouraged to "sing". The building was extended under later kings with France's first public clock being installed around 1370. The current clock dates from 1535. The concierge or keeper of the royal palace, gave the place its eventual name. The Conciergerie thus already had an unpleasant reputation before it became internationally famous as the "antechamber to the guillotine" during the Reign of Terror, the bloodiest phase of the French Revolution. It housed the Revolutionary Tribunal as well as up to 1,200 male and female prisoners at a time. The Tribunal sat in the Great Hall between 2 April 1793 and 31 May 1795 and sent nearly 2,600 prisoners to the guillotine. Its rules were simple. Only two outcomes existed — a declaration of innocence or a death sentence — and in most cases the latter was chosen. The most famous prisoners (and victims) included Queen Marie Antoinette, the poet André Chénier, Charlotte Corday, Madame Élisabeth, Madame du Barry and the Girondins, who were condemned by Georges Danton, who was in turn condemned by Robespierre, who was himself condemned and executed in a final bout of bloodletting. En route to the tumbrils, the victims walked through the Salle Saint-Louis, (Saint Louis Room), which acquired the nickname of the Salle des Perdus, the "Room of the Doomed".
After the Restoration of the Bourbons in the 19th century, the Conciergerie continued to be used as a prison for high-value prisoners — most notably the future Napoleon III. Marie Antoinette's cell was converted into a chapel dedicated to her memory. The Conciergerie and Palais de Justice underwent major rebuilding in the mid-19th century, totally altering their external appearance. While the building looks like a brooding medieval fortress, this appearance actually only dates from about 1858. A description from 1825 gives an impression of the structure before the rebuilding: The buildings which form this prison still retain the hideous character of feudal times. The préau presents a kind of area or court, one hundred and eighty feet in length by sixty in breadth, round which is a gallery leading to the cells, and communicating by stairs to the upper storeys. It was partly constructed in the thirteenth century, and partly rebuilt in modern times, and is ten or twelve feet below the level of the adjacent streets; it serves as a promenade for the prisoners. The dungeons, which have not been used for the last thirty years, are twenty-three feet in length by eleven and a half in height.[1]
The Conciergerie was decommissioned in 1914 and was opened to the public as a national historical monument. It is today a popular tourist attraction, although only a relatively small part of the building is open to public access — much of it is still used for the Paris law courts.


The upper chapel of the Sainte Chapelle, restored by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century
La Sainte-Chapelle (French pronunciation: [la sɛ̃t ʃapɛl], The Holy Chapel) is the only surviving building of the Capetian royal palace on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, France. It was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including the Crown of Thorns - one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom. Begun some time after 1239 and consecrated on the 26th of April 1248,[1] the Sainte-Chapelle is considered among the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture. Although damaged during the French revolution and heavily restored in the 19th century, it retains one of the most extensive in-situ collections of 13th century stained glass anywhere in the world.
The Saint Chapelle rises above the rooflines of the royal palace. Miniature by the Limbourg brothers, ca 1400 The Sainte-Chapelle or 'Holy Chapel', in the courtyard of the royal palace on the Île de la Cité (now part of a later administrative complex known as La Conciergerie), was built to house Louis IX's collection of precious relics of Christ, which included the Crown of Thorns, the Image of Edessa and some thirty other items. Louis purchased his precious Passion relics from Baldwin II, the Latin emperor at Constantinople, for the exorbitant sum of 135,000 livres, though this money was actually paid to the Venetians, to whom the relics had been pawned. The relics arrived in Paris in August 1239, carried from Venice by two Dominican friars and for the final stage of their journey they were carried by the King himself, barefoot and dressed as a penitent (a scene depicted in the Relics of the Passion window on the south side of the chapel). The relics were stored in a large and elaborate silver chest, the Grand-Chasse, on which Louis spent a further 100,000 livres. The entire chapel, by contrast, cost 40,000 livres to build and glaze (until it was completed in 1248 the relics were housed at chapels at the Château de Vincennes and a specially built chapel at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye). In 1246, fragments of the True Cross and the Holy Lance were added to Louis' collection, along with other relics. The chapel was consecrated on 26 April 1248 and Louis' relics were moved to their new home with great ceremony. As well as serving as a place of worship, the Sainte-Chapelle played an important role in the political and cultural ambitions of King Louis and his successors.[2][3] With the imperial throne at Constantinople occupied by a mere Count of Flanders and with the Holy Roman Empire in uneasy disarray, Louis' artistic and architectural patronage helped to position him as the central monarch of western Christendom, the Sainte-Chapelle fitting in to a long tradition of prestigious palace chapels. Just as the Emperor could pass privately from his palace into the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, so now Louis could pass directly from his palace into the Sainte-Chapelle. More importantly, the two-story palace chapel had obvious similarities to Charlemagne's palatine chapel at Aachen (built 792-805) - a parallel that Louis was keen to exploit in presenting himself as a worthy successor to the first Holy Roman Emperor. The royal chapel is a prime example of the phase of [Gothic architecture|Gothic architectural style] called "Rayonnant", marked by its sense of weightlessness and strong vertical emphasis. It stands squarely upon a lower chapel, which served as parish church for all the inhabitants of the palace, which was the seat of government (see "palace"). The king was later recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.The contemporary visitor entering the courtyard of the Royal Palace would have been met by the sight of a grand ceremonial staircase (the Grands Degres) to their right and the north flank and eastern apse of the Sainte-Chapelle to their left. The chapel exterior shows many of the typical characteristics of Rayonnant architecture - deep buttresses surmounted by pinacles, crocketted gables around the roof-line and vast windows subdivided by bar tracery. The internal division into upper and lower chapels is clearly marked on the outside by a string-course, the lower walls pierced by smaller windows with a distinctive spherical triangle shape. Despite its decoration, the exterior is relatively simple and austere, devoid of flying buttresses or major sculpture and giving little hint of the richness within. No designer-builder is named in the archives concerned with the construction. In the 19th century it was assumed (as with so many buildings of medieval Paris) to be the work of the master mason Pierre de Montreuil, who worked on the remodelling of the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis and completed the south transept façade of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.[5] Modern scholarship rejects this attribution in favour of Jean de Chelles or Thomas de Cormont, while Robert Branner saw in the design the hand of an unidentified master mason from Amiens.[6]
The Sainte-Chapelle's most obvious architectural percursors include the apisidial chapels of Amiens Cathedral, which it resembles in its general form, and the Bishop's Chapel (c.1180's) of Noyon Cathedral, from which it borrowed the two-story design. As has often been argued however the major influence on its overall design seems to have come from contemporary metalwork, particularly the precious shrines and reliquaries made by Mosan goldsmiths. The Parisian palatine chapel, built to house a reliquary, was itself like a precious reliquary turned inside out (with the richest decoration on the inside).[8] Although the interior is dominated by the stained glass (see below), every inch of the remaining wall surface and the vault was also richly polychromed and decorated. Analysis of remaining paint fragments reveal that the original colours were much brighter than those favoured by the 19th century restorers and would have been closer to the colours of the stained glass. The quatrefoils of the dado arcade were painted with scenes of saints and martyrs and inset with painted and gilded glass, emulating Limoges enamels, while rich textiles hangings added to the richness of the interior. Above the dado level, mounted on the clustered shafts that separate the great windows, are 12 larger than life-sized sculpted stone figures reprsenting the 12 Apostles (six of these are replicas - the damaged originals are now in the Musée de Cluny). Each carries a disk marked with the consecration crosses that were traditionally marked on the pillars of a church at its consectration. Niches on the north and south sides of the chapel are the private oratories of the king and of his mother, Blanche of Castile. The most famous features of the chapel, among the finest of their type in the world, are the great stained glass windows, for whose benefit the stone wall surface is reduced to little more than a delicate framework. Fifteen huge mid-13th century windows fill the nave and apse, while a large rose window with Flamboyant tracery (added to the upper chapel c.1490) dominates the western wall.
Despite some damage the windows display a clear iconographical programme. The three windows of the eastern apse illustrate the New Testament, featuring scenes of The Passion (centre) with the Infancy of Christ (left) and the Life of John the Evangelist (right). By contrast, the windows of the nave are dominated by Old Testament exemplars of ideal kingship/queenship in an obvious nod to their royal patrons. The cycle starts at the western bay of the north wall with scenes from the Book of Genesis (heavily restored). The next ten windows of the nave follow clockwise with scenes from Exodus, Joseph, Numbers/Leviticus, Joshua/Deuteronomy, Judges, (moving to the south wall) Jeremiah/Tobias, Judith/Job, Esther, David and he Book of Kings. The final window, occupying the westernmost bay of the south wall brings this narrative of sacral kingship right up to date with a series of scenes showing the rediscovery of Christ's relics, the miracles they performed, and their relocation to Paris in the hands of King Louis himself. The Parisian scholastic Jean de Jandun praised the building as one of Paris's most beautiful structures in his "Tractatus de laudibus Parisius" (1323), citing "that most beautiful of chapels, the chapel of the king, most decently situated within the walls of the king's house, enjoys a complete and indissoluble structure of the most solid stone. The most excellent colors of the pictures, the precious gilding of the images, the beautiful transparence of the ruddy windows on all sides, the most beautiful cloths of the altars, the wondrous merits of the sanctuary, the figures of the reliquaries externally adorned with dazzling gems, bestow such a hyperbolic beauty on that house of prayer, that, in going into it below, one understandably believes oneself, as if rapt to heaven, to enter one of the best chambers of Paradise. O how salutary prayers to the all-powerful God pour out in these oratories, when the internal and spiritual purities of those praying correspond proportionally with the external and physical elegance of the oratory! O how peacefully to the most holy God the praises are sung in these tabernacles, when the hearts of those singers are by the pleasing pictures of the tabernacle analogically beautified with the virtues! O how acceptable to the most glorious God appear the offerings on these altars, when the life of those sacrificing shines in correspondence with the gilded light of the altars!"[10]
Damage during the Revolution: Much of the chapel as it appears today is a re-creation, although nearly two-thirds of the windows are authentic. The chapel suffered its most grievous destruction in the late eighteenth century during the French Revolution, when the steeple and baldachin were removed, the relics dispersed (although some survive as the "relics of Sainte-Chapelle" at Notre Dame de Paris), and various reliquaries, including the grande châsse, were melted down. The Sainte-Chapelle was requisitioned as an archival depository in 1803. Two meters' worth of glass was removed to facilitate working light and destroyed or put on the market.[11] Its well-documented restoration, completed under the direction of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1855, was regarded as exemplary by contemporaries[12] and is faithful to the original drawings and descriptions of the chapel that survive.
Notre Dame de Paris

Flying buttress Notre Dame de Paris (IPA: [nɔtʁ dam də paʁi]; French for Our Lady of Paris), also known as Notre Dame Cathedral,[2] is a Gothic, Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra (official chair) of the Archbishop of Paris, currently André Vingt-Trois. The cathedral treasury houses a reliquary with the purported Crown of Thorns. Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe, and the naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture. The first period of construction from 1163 into 1240s coincided with the musical experiments of the Notre Dame school. Jean de Jandun recognized the cathedral as one of Paris's three most important buildings in his 1323 "Treatise on the Praises of Paris": “ that most terrible church of the most glorious Virgin Mary, mother of God, deservedly shines out, like the sun among stars. And although some speakers, by their own free judgment, because [they are] able to see only a few things easily, may say that some other is more beautiful, I believe however, respectfully, that, if they attend more diligently to the whole and the parts, they will quickly retract this opinion. 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? Where, I ask, would they find such light-filled amenities as the many surrounding chapels? Furthermore, let them tell me in what church I may see such a large cross, of which one arm separates the choir from the nave. 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." ”
The cathedral suffered desecration during the radical phase of the French Revolution in the 1790s, when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. An extensive restoration supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc removed remaining decoration, returning the cathedral to an 'original' gothic state. 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. The cathedral was essentially complete by 1345.
In 1160, because the church in Paris had become the "parisian church of the kings of Europe", Bishop Maurice de Sully deemed the previous Paris cathedral, Saint-Étienne (St Stephen's), which had been founded in the 4th century, unworthy of its lofty role, and had it demolished shortly after he assumed the title of Bishop of Paris. As with most foundation myths, this account needs to be taken with a grain of salt; archeological excavations in the 20th century suggested that the Merovingian Cathedral replaced by Sully was itself a massive structure, with a five-aisled nave and a facade some 36m across. It seems likely 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. To begin the construction, the bishop had several houses demolished and had a new road built in order 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. However, both were at the ceremony in question. Bishop de Sully went on to devote most of his life and wealth to the cathedral's construction. 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. By this stage, the western facade had also been laid out, though it was not completed until around the mid 1240s. Over the construction period, numerous architects worked on the site, as is evidenced by the differing styles at different heights of the west front and towers. Between 1210 and 1220, the fourth architect oversaw the construction of the level with the rose window and the great halls beneath the towers. 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 South transept. 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.
Timeline of construction
• 1160 Maurice de Sully (named Bishop of Paris), orders the original cathedral demolished.
• 1163 Cornerstone laid for Notre Dame de Paris—construction begins.
• 1182 Apse and choir completed.
• 1196 Bishop Maurice de Sully dies.
• c.1200 Work begins on western facade.
• 1208 Bishop Eudes de Sully dies. Nave vaults nearing completion.
• 1225 Western facade completed.
• 1250 Western towers and north rose window completed.
• c.1245–1260s Transepts remodelled in the Rayonnant style by Jean de Chelles then Pierre de Montreuil
• 1250–1345 Remaining elements completed

1853 photo by Charles Nègre of Henri Le Secq next to le Stryge in the then-new Gallery of Chimeras.
In 1548, rioting Huguenots damaged features of the cathedral, considering them idolatrous. During the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV, the cathedral underwent major alterations as part of an ongoing attempt to modernize cathedrals throughout Europe. A colossal statue of St Christopher, standing against a pillar near the western entrance and dating from 1413, was destroyed in 1786. Tombs and stained glass windows were destroyed. The north and south rose windows were spared this fate, however. In 1793, during the French Revolution, the cathedral was rededicated to the Cult of Reason, and then to the Cult of the Supreme Being. During this time, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. The statues of biblical kings of Judah (erroneously thought to be kings of France) were beheaded. Many of the heads were found during a 1977 excavation nearby and are on display at the Musée de Cluny. For a time, Lady Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars. The cathedral's great bells managed to avoid being melted down. The cathedral came to be used as a warehouse for the storage of food. A controversial restoration program was initiated in 1845, overseen by architects Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The restoration lasted twenty five years and included the construction of a flèche (a type of spire) as well as the addition of the chimeras on the Galerie des Chimères. Viollet le Duc always signed his work with a bat, the wing structure of which most resembles the Gothic vault (see Château de Roquetaillade). In 1991, a major program of maintenance and restoration was initiated, which was intended to last ten years, but is still in progress as of 2009, the cleaning and restoration of old sculptures being an exceedingly delicate matter.
Though several organs were installed in the cathedral over time, the earliest ones were inadequate for the building. The first noteworthy organ was finished in the 18th century by the noted builder François-Henri Clicquot. Some of Clicquot's original pipework in the pedal division continues to sound from the organ today. The organ was almost completely rebuilt and expanded in the 19th century by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.
The position of titular organist ("head" or "chief" organist) at Notre-Dame is considered one of the most prestigious organist posts in France, along with the post of titular organist of Saint Sulpice in Paris, Cavaillé-Coll's largest instrument. The organ has 7,800 pipes, with 900 classified as historical. It has 111 stops, five 56-key manuals and a 32-key pedalboard. In December 1992, a two year restoration of the organ was completed that fully computerized the organ under three LANs (Local Area Networks). The restoration also included a number of additions, notably two further horizontal reed stops en chamade in the Cavaille-Coll style. The Notre Dame organ is therefore unique in France in having five fully independent reed stops en chamade. There are five bells at Notre Dame. The great bourdon bell, Emmanuel, is located in the South Tower, weighs just over 13 tons, and is tolled to mark the hours of the day and for various occasions and services. There are four additional bells on wheels in the North Tower, which are swing chimed. These bells are rung for various services and festivals. The bells were once rung manually, but are currently rung by electric motors. When it was discovered that the size of the bells could cause the entire building to vibrate, threatening its structural integrity, they were taken out of use. The bells also have external hammers for tune playing from a small clavier. In the night of 24 August 1944, as the Île de la Cité was taken by an advance column of French and Allied armoured troops and elements of the Resistance, it was the tolling of the Emmanuel that announced to the city that its liberation was under way. Coronation of Napoleon I on Sunday 2 December 1804, at Notre Dame.  :-)

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