Gargoyles are decorative elements with a practical purpose. Their function is to protect the walls from rainwater runoff which erodes the stone. They designate the end of the gutters to drain away water from the roof. This is why they appear overhanging, leaning into the void, mainly located on the large flying buttresses of the choir. The gargoyles were designed at the same time as the cathedral’s architecture. The word “gargoyle” comes from the Latin gorge and Old French gueule meaning mouth. They are often shaped like fantastical and scary animals.

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