If you are visiting Paris, you will no doubt want to visit Notre Dame. Notre Dame is a famous landmark in the city and millions flock there each year to visit. Situated in the heart of Paris, this cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop and is known as one of the finest architectural masterpieces in the world. For those who visit the famous landmark, be sure to take in the sights and tour the cathedral during the day. However, you should also make sure to pass by the area at night as the view of the cathedral when lit up for the evening is positively spectacular.
The construction of Notre Dame began in 1163 and was completed circa 1345. During its construction there were many architects involved which is evidenced by the varying styles present in the completed cathedral. In the 1790’s much of the cathedral was ruined, especially the religious imagery and façade of the building. The French Revolution was the cause of this destruction but a restoration project was undertaken in the nineteenth century to restore the cathedral to its former magnificence. Victor Hugo, with his book The Hunchback of Notre Dame, brought attention to the restoration project, inciting many Parisians to donate to the restoration cause. The organ and the bells of Notre Dame are among the famous features of the cathedral.
For those interested in architecture, Notre Dame is a splendid example. The flying buttresses are among the first ever in that style. The stained glass and religious imagery abundant in the cathedral are a sight to be seen. The Gothic style brings a feeling of old world romance and reverence. The interior of the cathedral depicts the story of the bible with its stained glass and statuettes. Art and architecture buffs alike will appreciate the beauty and romance of Notre Dame.
For those who are interested in history, Notre Dame is rich in it. Kings have been crowned in the cathedral, royal marriages have taken place and saints have been canonized. Crusaders would come to Notre Dame to reflect and pray before embarking on a holy war. Napoleon and his wife Josephine were crowned emperor and empress in Notre Dame and Pope Pius VII officiated the service. Joan of Arc was canonized by the church in 1920.
Today, Roman Catholic masses are held in the cathedral as well as concerts featuring the famous Notre Dame Gregorian choir and the 7,800 pipe organ. For those interested in a moving spiritual experience, masses in the grand cathedral are awe inspiring. There are both week day and weekend masses available. Weekday masses are held in the main alter as well as in the choir. Sunday masses are all held in the main alter. If you have the opportunity to go to a Sunday mass with the Gregorian choir, this can be a magnificent experience not soon forgotten.
The Empire State Building is located at Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street in New York City. After its construction in 1931, it was New York’s tallest building. This was surpassed by the World Trade Center after it was built. However, after the tragedies of September 11, 2001 destroyed the twin towers, the Empire State Building once again reigns as New York’s tallest building. It joins the Golden Gate Bridge, Channel Tunnel, CN Tower, Delta Works, Panama Canal and Itaipu Dam as one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Nearly four million people visit the Empire State Building each year.
The movies An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle featured the Empire State Building prominently in their romantic exploits. Because of this, the popularity of the building increased and the observatory of the building is used by many to recreate the romance in both those movies. The Empire State Building is also featured in many more movies, television shows and novels.
For other tourists, the breathtaking view of the city is enough to attract them to the observatory. It is located over one thousand feet from street level on the 86th floor and has an enclosed area to view the city as well as an outdoor promenade. From a more morbid perspective the height of the building has attracted over thirty suicide deaths. However, there have been security enhancements made to the building to help dissuade would be jumpers.
In addition to the observatory there are shops and restaurants, a movie theater and concert venues as well as a display of King Kong memorabilia. You can go on a virtual tour of the city in a helicopter when in the theater. You can enjoy casual and fine dining or a cup of coffee from one of the many eateries in the building. You can even go to the post office and do your banking at the Empire State Building. People of all ages will enjoy the rich cultural history of the Empire State Building which is largely considered to be the embodiment of the New York spirit.
For those who are interested in architecture, the design of the Empire State Building is spectacular. Its full height is 1,453 feet and is the first building ever made to surpass one hundred stories. It cost over $41 million to build. The architectural style is considered to be art deco. At the top of the building there are flood lights in various colors that change regularly based on various events. In memoriam to the tragedies of September 11th, the top was lit in red, white and blue. The colors will also change for seasonal events and to commemorate local sporting teams when they have a home game.
The Empire State Building is one of the most recognized landmarks in the world. It is also one of the signature landmarks in New York. While it has a practical purpose and has several tenants and is home to most of the major media stations in the area, it is probably most well known as a tourist attraction and a symbol of New York.