Thus, all the Gothic cathedrals, even those bound most closely to the soil, those which seem furthest removed from the classical type, are related in spirit or in detail of plan, construction or decoration, to the great cathedrals of the Ile-de Franceand of the Royal Domain. With the help of the Capetians, in close communion with the spiritual and cultural renaissance which was rousing the country at that time, and thanks to the intersecting diagonal ribs, these rose higher and higher, grew lighter and lighter, more and more luminous, from Senlis and Noyon to Laon and Notre-Dame de Paris, during the second half of the twelfth century. They flowered at the beginning of the thirteenth century at Chartres and Bourges, and at Rheims and Amiens resulted in the highest degree of perfection, in a composition filled supremely with the whole of mediaeval thought, mystical, religious and theological as well as social. Their iconographic decoration embraced the Old and the New Testaments, the story of God, of the Virgin and the saints, the final ends of man, everything man needed to know, everything man needed to believe. These magnificent monuments erected by master craftsmen of genius immediately compelled the admiration of all. All the provinces of France, all the countries of Christian Europe dreamed of owning cathedrals like these. All the artists, painters and miniature-painters, tapestry- makers, goldsmiths and silversmiths, enamellists, workers in ivory and metal, and sculptors sought to reproduce their features in their works.
The Gothic cathedral truly epitomizes the spirit of the Middle Ages.