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The Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens), or simply Amiens Cathedral, is the tallest complete cathedral in France, with the greatest interior volume (estimated at 200,000 m³). The vaults of the nave are 42.30 m high, the tallest nave vaults in France. This monumental cathedral is located in Amiens, the chief city of Picardy, in the Somme River valley a little over 100 kilometers north of Paris.
The west front of the cathedral, (illustration, right) built in a single campaign, 1220-36, shows an unusual degree of artistic unity: its lower tier with three vast deep porches is capped with the gallery of twenty-two over lifesize kings, which stretches across the entire façade beneath the rose window. Above the rose window there is an open arcade, the galerie des sonneurs. Flanking the nave, the two towers were built without close regard to the former design, the south tower being finished in 1366, the north one, reaching higher, in 1406.
The paucity of documentation concerning the construction of the Gothic cathedral may be in part the result of fires that destroyed the chapter archives in 1218 and again in 1258—a fire that damaged the cathedral itself. Bishop Evrard de Fouilly initiated work on the cathedral in 1220. Robert de Luzarches was the architect until 1228, and was followed by Thomas de Cormont until 1258. His son, Renaud de Cormont, acted as the architect until 1288. The chronicle of Corbie gives a completion date for the cathedral of 1266. Finishing works continued, however. Its floors are covered with a number of designs, such as the swastika. The labyrinth was installed in 1288. Numerous sculptures can be viewed at this cathedral. The cathedral contains the alleged head of John the Baptist, a relic brought from Constantinople by Wallon de Sarton as he was returning from the Fourth Crusade.
Statues of saints in the portal of the cathedral have been identified as the locally venerated Saints Victoricus and Gentian, Saint Domitius, Saint Ulphia, and Saint Fermin.
Notre-Dame d'Amiens has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. A Son et lumière presentation illuminates its façade on summer evenings and at New Year's, approximating the original painted colors of its sculptures.

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Additional Photos by Jean Francois Taillard (corniste) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 493 W: 119 N: 617] (4280)
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