Notre Dame looks very different in color than in black-and-white. The stone takes on a different texture, the shapes of the arches and buttresses are somehow different, and I think you feel the age of the place much more. This is, after all, a 900 year old building.
In the garden behind the cathedral, there is an apple tree. The groundskeepers must zealously patrol for fallen fruit, as I never saw one on the ground in a week of passing through. I was talking with someone at work about this apple tree and he observed an irony of having an apple tree in the garden of a cathedral, if you’re into Christian symbolism.
A closer-in view of the rear of the cathedral, including the spire. The towers top out at 226 feet, but the spire and its weather-vane go on to 300 feet tall. I don’t think you realize that when looking at the building because of the relative mass of the towers, and the perspective you have when viewing either spire or towers – you’re always looking up, and at the distances required to see both, the height differential is erased by perspective. You can clearly see in this photo the stacked wedding-cake structure of the building – the lower floor with its side chapels spreads out much wider than the center aisle.
A side view of the cathedral, showing both the towers and the spire. Even from this view it’s hard to see an extra 75 feet of height on the spire.
Another view of the rear, with the apple tree. This one includes people in the garden for perspective.