Fodor's Expert Review Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens
By far the largest church in France, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens could enclose Paris's Notre-Dame twice. It may lack the stained glass of Chartres or the sculpture of Reims, but for architectural harmony, engineering proficiency, and sheer size, it's incomparable. The soaring, asymmetrical facade has a notable Flamboyant Gothic rose window and is brought to life on summer evenings when a sophisticated 45-minute light show re-creates its original color scheme. Inside, there's no stylistic disunity to mar the perspective, creating an overwhelming sensation of pure space. Construction took place between 1220 and 1264, a remarkably short period in cathedral-building terms. One of the highlights of a visit here is hidden from the eye, at least until you lift up some of the 110 choir-stall seats and admire the humorous, skillful misericord seat carvings executed between 1508 and 1518 (access with guide only).