Article Tools

The greatest glory of the royal cathedral at Reims is to be found on the outside, particularly on the magnificent west front, built by Bernard de Soissons between about 1255 and 1290.

World’s Most Beautiful Architectures: Reims Cathedral and The Chillon Castle

By Mr Ghaz, April 20, 2011

Image Credit

World’s Most Beautiful Architectures: Reims Cathedral and The Chillon Castle

Image Credit

Reims Cathedral

By the early 13th century, elements of the Gothic style were being used in a fully co-ordinated way in French cathedral architecture. Windows with bar tracery were probably used for the first time by the master builder, Jean d’Orbais, who combined them with flying buttresses in a distinctly Gothic way in the east end of Reims Cathedral, site of the coronations of the kings of France since the fifth century.

Image Credit

By this time, French master builders were also achieving very lofty interior heights. At Reims the vaults were 122ft (37m) high over a nave 46ft (14m) wide higher that Chartres but lower than Amiens.

Image Credit

The greatest glory of the royal cathedral at Reims is to be found on the outside, particularly on the magnificent west front, built by Bernard de Soissons between about 1255 and 1290. The sculptural decoration on the west facade, set around, above and below a fine rose window, is extraordinary in its symmetry and its convincing naturalistic detail, seen in the portrayal of human figures, including the nude, and over 30 plants and foliage.

Image Credit

Construction of Cathedral, much hindered by the Hundred Years’ War, took more than 200 years, with the upper stages of the towers being completed in 1427, just two years before Charles VII was crowned at Reims in the presence of Jeanne d’Arc. Despite this time lapse, Reims Cathedral displays a fine uniformity, both of its structure and of its sculptural embellishment, and this in spite of the battering it took from German artillery during the First World War.

Image Credit

Above: Notre-Dame de Reims is the cathedral church of Reims, where kings of France were once crowned. It replaced an older church, destroyed by fire in 1211, and which had been built on the site of the basilica where in 496; Clovis was baptized by St. Remy, bishop of Reims.

Château de Chillon

Image Credit

The Most Beautiful and Spectacular Architecture in Switzerland: Château de Chillon

Image Credit

The theatrically picturesque castle of Chillon rests on a rocky islet in Lake Geneva, near Montreux, set against a splendid backdrop of the Alps, pierced by the distinctive peaks of the Dents Du Midi. The castle was originally built in the ninth century to guard the road over the Great St. Bernard Pass into Italy.

Image Credit

In the 13th century, its then owner, Count Peter II, one of the counts (later dukes) of Savoy, had the castle completely rebuilt and enlarged. On its landward side, the castle has a double wall, with the outer one interrupted by round, machicolated towers. The original drawbridge over the moat, leading, leading through a gatehouse into the outer courtyard, was replaced by a bridge in the 18th century.

Image Credit

A second great gateway leads to Chillon’s inner courtyard, which is virtually divided into two by the keep. Beyond are several great halls, the ducal apartments and the 11th century Tower of the Dukes.

Image Credit

Despite its position, the views from its keep, its Knights Hall and dungeon, and its finely kept halls and salons, Chillon would probably not be as famous, had not the poet Lord Byron not visited it 1816. Inspired by the story of its most famous prisoner, the Protestant reformer Francois Bonivard, Byron, having carved his name on a pillar in Bonivard’s cell, went on to write his great lyric poem, ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’, making Chillon the 19th century’s most popular Swiss monument.

Image Credit

Above: The Château de Chillon was built on a rocky island, making it difficult for enemies to attack and penetrate it. The castle guards a natural, narrow pass that lies between the lake and the former trade route to Italy.

Image Credit