The Basilica of Saint-Denis is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture that brought light, glass, pointed arches, and diagonal ribs to France. To medieval architects, this stunning construction represented not just innovation in style, but also a powerful message from the heavens. And it wasn’t just the nobility who saw value in such grand buildings; the middle classes, who had recently emerged in society, also seized upon the opportunity to construct their own splendid edifices.
But the Cathedral of Saint-Denis was just the beginning; over the next century, more than twenty large Gothic churches rose across the Paris region, with many others following suit across Europe. As builders competed to construct ever-more impressive and awe-inspiring structures, cathedrals like those in Freiburg, Strasbourg, and Ulm emerged as the largest churches of their time. Today, this stunning period of architectural achievement remains an enduring symbol of artistic vision and ambition – one that continues to fascinate and inspire new generations of designers and builders alike.