From the courtyard, you get a sense of the dizzying height of the facade and its imposing stature. Start to climb the 307 steps of the towers, taking in the art crafted by the cathedral’s sculptors and masons. As you ascend, you get another perspective. Emerge at the top to enjoy a panorama that is peaceful and engaging, the atmosphere changing subtly according to the time of day. Milky greens shrouded by morning mist give way to purple hues as evening draws near, only to be swallowed up by midnight blue. At the top of the towers, you’re so close to the Gallery of Kings that you can sense the benevolent humanity of these 12-foot (3.75m) giants through their facial expressions and smiles. Anxious to offer perfect work to God, the stonemasons took great care to incorporate and complete details – even if they couldn’t be seen from the ground. Even the spire that reaches to a height of 367 feet (112 metres) will feel close to you up here.
Often likened to a “Gothic Parthenon”, the cathedral gives you a true sense of the audacity of the builders in the Middle Age, craftsmen who lightened the stone to flood the interior with light. The alignment of the columns is simply stunning, drawing your eyes towards the top. French poet Paul Claudel once described the cathedral as “incomparable in its sublime simplicity”.