Parisians have a reputation for being arrogant. They also have reasons to be. It’s a city studded with so much wonder, the rest of the world must look black and white. The city always has twice as much beauty as you think: every time you find yourself staring at something stunning, you’ll find something almost as amazing just over your shoulder. A church or town hall, something which would be the center of any other town is here an almost anonymous neighbor to the Pantheon or the Louvre.
A titan of stone studded with more riches than most kingdoms. Notre Dame is architectural brainwashing. If you were a peasant in the fourteenth century, disappearing inside the immensity of this glory of would make you Christian. Even if you didn’t believe in god you’d still believe you wanted to be on his side. Because He was clearly winning, extant or not. In any argument victory triumphs over validity by definition.
Notre Dame was designed so that its weight would crush the viewer’s mind as surely as it could crush their body, humbling humanity in the face of a higher power. The Pantheon celebrates how humanity is that power, ability and genius which can make even stone soar. A glory of ambition and light celebrating that the only thing beyond our reach is our ambition, calling us ever further.
The Eiffel Tower is engineering as art, and an inspiration for anyone who has ever done anything new. The “Committee of Three Hundred” comprised some of the most authoritative and respected artists of the time, every one of them vigorously opposed to the Tower. It was ugly, it was stupid, it was ridiculous, it was monstrous. It was a lot of things. But it is one of the most amazing things ever made. And when was the last time you heard of the “Committee of Three Hundred”?