Notre Dame of Reims, Interior

The interior of Reims Cathedral is breathtaking, with long vistas viewed from the front doors towards the high altar far in the distance in the choir.

The groin vaulting high overhead is uniform and rhythmic, with finely cut stone giving the sense of an almost perfect work of masonry.

The high altar, like many in Gothic cathedrals, is actually from the Baroque era, and therefore stylistically incongruous. One of two lecterns, as is so common for centuries, is in the shape of an eagle, representing the Gospel of John. Since St. John was particularly concerned with the divinity of Christ, and also with preaching, it is frequently chosen; there are also a multitude of other reasons.

Much of the stained glass remains, but there is also clear glass in other windows; I suspect it was destroyed by German bombardment.

The transepts also contain smaller rose and lancet windows.

Moving more towards the front doors of the cathedral, we see the clear glass windows. The compound columns are really something to behold.

The side aisles are also bright and light-filled. But honestly, that is not accurate: there should be blue, red and other multi-colored light shining through the windows, creating a mystical experience, not white light.

Below, the clerestory windows provide a more accurate picture of the intended colored light effect of the original builders.

The back wall of the front façade is famous among French cathedrals, as it has the appearance of an exterior edifice.

There are two, not one rose windows, and one is gargantuan, while the smaller one glows with blue light.

The sculpture appears in various niches, working their way up the giant portal of the westwork, with various posts and other activities.

The drapery is of particular interest, and certainly the figures and fabric would have been painted originally to bring out the detail.

The lowest registers show substantial damage and degradation. I suspect the defacing came either from the French Revolution (this was the coronation church of the monarchy and thus incurred substantial wrath) or perhaps from the explosion of shells during World War I.

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