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A monumental arch for the kings
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The reverse of the western facade of Reims Cathedral was conceived around 1260 by Gaucher of Reims. He imagined it as a triumphal arch for the kings leaving the cathedral at the end of the coronation ceremony. The facade's wall is dug with seven rows of niches filled with 52 statues recounting the life of the Virgin Mary on the left and Saint John the Baptist on the right. A first rose window overhangs the door, surmounted by a larger one narrating the Creation. Philippe III, the successor of Saint Louis, consecrated on August 15, 1271, was the first French king to pass under the monumental arch.
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