The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
On the same spot of the current cathedral stood numerous predecessors that were destroyed by invaders or fire.
The current cathedral is constructed on the ruins of a Romanesque cathedral destroyed by fire on June 10, 1194.
The construction of the current cathedral started with the erection of the nave and the lower part of the transept.
The construction of the choir was finished in 1221.
The northern porch is dedicated to the Old and New Testament, while the southern porch was built to honor the saints of the cathedral.
Despite limited space, because of the presence of the ancient crypt the vaults attained, for that time, a record height of 37m.
The construction of the nave was finished in 1220 and consists of seven traves.
The nave is decorated with 173 stained-glass windows covering an area of 2000 m². Most of the windows were installed between 1200 and 1250.
In 1326 a chapel was added on the chevet of the cathedral.
The cathedral is finally inaugurated on October 24, 1260 in the presence of French King Louis IX (later known as Saint Louis).
Porches were added on both the north and south sides on the transept, while completing the transept.
The architectural feature ‘flying buttresses’ where used for the first time on this cathedral.
During the 19th century the cathedral receives its “green roof”, which can be seen from a distance of 50 km. This roof is mainly composed of iron covered with copper strips, whose oxidation is responsible for the green color.
The construction of the southern tower on the western façade started in 1145 and was finished in 1160 and so is the only part left from the previous cathedral. The height of this spire tower is 105m.
The cathedral is famous for its stained glass and the west front features a rose window 13.4 metres (44 feet) in diameter which dates from around 1210.
The reconstruction of the northern tower was finished in 1513 after it had been damaged several times by lightning. This spire tower is the highest point of the cathedral.
External flying buttresses are used to support the weight of the vault.
In 1529 a spire was planned on top of the choir. The construction of this spire was finished in 1714.
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