c. 1140 – 1450
Western Europe — Influences: new vault and arch engineering developed in France, including flying buttresses

In the Middle Ages between the 12th and 15th centuries, new engineering feats and increased wealth in Western Europe helped evolve the Romanesque style to soaring heights found in Gothic architecture.

French Gothic, France

Originating in France in 1140, Gothic architecture continued into the 13th and 14th century as the style began to evolve. The Gothic style is characterized by its high interior sexpartite ribbed vaults, curved stone ceilings, and tall pointed arches supported by columns, where considerable height was made possible utilizing the exterior support of flying buttresses.

Pointed roof gables and spires used decorative elements such as tracery, stone bars forming a pattern in windows or stone surfaces, pinnacles tops, crockets projecting from hips or along gabled ends, stained glass imagery in pointed arch and round rose windows, and gargoyles for protection from evil spirits.

Chartres Cathedral

In addition to enjoying rich cafés, fresh local cuisine, regional wine and chévre cheese, we set out to experience the home to some of the world’s greatest architecture… the Loire Valley. This fertile terrain is rich in scenic antiquity and France’s aristocratic past. Abundant with historical fortresses, chateaux and churches, high on my list of places to visit was the UNESCO World Heritage…

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