The construction of Notre-Dame Cathedral began with its apse, built in the shape of a semicircle. It is therefore the oldest part of the sanctuary. It encircles the apsidal chapels and corresponds to the apse of the interior of the building. In the 14th century, Jean Ravy replaced the old 13th century flying buttresses. He placed fourteen new buttresses around the choir with a span of fifteen meters, including six for the apse itself. As with the façades of the nave, their function allows rainwater to drain away. Panels representing episodes from the life of the Virgin decorate the apse.