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Gargoyles in France

Updated on July 3, 2017
Notre Dame Paris France
Notre Dame Paris France

Gargoyles, sometimes called grotesques, are thought to date back to the 12th century. You will find them all over Europe on buildings as a means of directing water away from the building – water spouts. During the Middle Ages gargoyles became the popular form of these water spouts.


Notre Dame Cathedral, Dijon France
Notre Dame Cathedral, Dijon France

In French, the term gargoyle is gargouille which comes from the Latin gargula (throat) and is also connected with the French verb gargariser (to gargle).

When architects began to realize the efficiency of the gargoyles, they began to appear in a more systematic fashion as you can see here on the Notre Dame Cathedral in Dijon, France.

Reims Cathedral
Reims Cathedral
Notre Dame Paris France
Notre Dame Paris France

Probably the most recognizable gargoyle is the one at right which appears on 

Metz, France
Metz, France
Dijon, France
Dijon, France
Reims Cathedral
Reims Cathedral

Most gargoyles and chimera were carved in situ because of their tremendous weight and the lack of cranes during the Middle Ages. Lead gargoyles can be seen from the 16th century forward. Gargoyles were predominantly animals and grotesque animals however toward the end of the 13th century even humans were depicted as seen in these gargoyles from the Bruges, France Cathedral.

Gargoyle found in the crypt of the Bourges cathedral.
Gargoyle found in the crypt of the Bourges cathedral.

Gargoyles

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    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia

      Amazing pictures and an interesting read. I had no idea about the history of the gargoyle.

    • France Travel Inf profile image
      Author

      France Travel Inf 6 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed it!

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 6 years ago from India

      Very nice beautiful pics.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 6 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Lovely Hub and great pictures!

    • France Travel Inf profile image
      Author

      France Travel Inf 6 years ago

      Thanks for all the wonderful comments!

    • twentyfive profile image

      twentyfive 6 years ago

      Gargoyles of France, I enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing :)

    • BrendyMac profile image

      BrendyMac 6 years ago

      Lots of amazing photos...perfect for painting and sketching...I'm going to be a regular visitor to your fantastic Hubs!!

    • France Travel Inf profile image
      Author

      France Travel Inf 6 years ago

      @BrendyMac - so glad you enjoy them!

    • JLaszlo profile image

      JLaszlo 6 years ago from Northwest

      Great Hub I have one that has some interesting information about different gargoyles as well. You can find it here: https://hubpages.com/literature/Things-You-May-Not...

    • France Travel Inf profile image
      Author

      France Travel Inf 6 years ago

      Thanks JLaszio! I just read your hub and it is really good also. I loved the gargoyle video ---I am a "gargoyle lover" to the core :)

    • iZeko profile image

      iZeko 5 years ago

      Very interesting info. I really enjoyed it!

    • France Travel Inf profile image
      Author

      France Travel Inf 5 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed it iZeko! Gargoyles are just fascinating in my opinion!

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      Yvonne Taylor 4 years ago

      I loved the Gargoyle video. I have a nice collection of gargoyles, some I actually brought back from le LOIRE VALLEY! I miss France and its beauty and mystique. I hope to go back in the near future. J'ai deux amour, mon pais et Paris!

    • profile image

      Punky 4 years ago

      I´am french and I didn´t live in Paris, Iám so sad because I would like to see those gargoyles

    • France Travel Inf profile image
      Author

      France Travel Inf 4 years ago

      @Punky and Yvonne -I'm so glad you enjoyed the gargoyles. I love the fact that so many buildings all over France have these wonderful sculptures!

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