Notre Dame, one of the most iconic places in Paris is located in the heart of the city in the 4th arrondissement (administrative district). This historical building has been an iconic building in Paris since the 12th century.
It was constructed between 12th and 14th century and it has seen centuries of French history with its eyes. This Cathedral is designed in the Gothic fashion.
12 million people visit Notre-Dame annually to experience its grandiose and photograph its rose windows and flying buttresses. It is one of the largest religious buildings in the world.
In 1793, during French revolution, Notre Dame suffered desecration. The statues of biblical kings that were located in the cathedral were destroyed. Notre-Dame was repaired in 1804 when Napoléon Bonaparte decided to have his coronation in this building.
The actual glory however returned to this place after 1831 after author Victor Hugo used this building as a personification of France in his famous novel ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’. The novel was a huge success and it encouraged architects to restore this place.
We were fortunate to witness this architectural masterpiece in 2016.
Sadly while undergoing renovation and restoration, the cathedral caught fire on 15 April 2019 and sustained significant damage, including the destruction of the spire and two-thirds of the roof. Many historic and valuable items and pieces of art were saved, but most of the church will have to be rebuilt.
Here are some interesting facts about this iconic French landmark.
- The Notre Dame Cathedral is the most popular structure in Paris even popular than the famous Eiffel Tower.
- Notre-Dame de Paris means ‘Our Lady of Paris’.
- Access to the cathedral is open and free of charge every day of the year, during the opening hours.
- Cathedral’s Construction begun in 1163 under Bishop Maurica de Sully and was completed by 1345.
- The famous twin towers go as high as 69 meters (226 feet) and it have 387 steps.
- The two towers of the Notre-Dame are not identical. The north tower is slightly bigger than the south tower.
- The South tower is where Notre Dame’s largest bell, The Emmanuel Bell is situated. The bell weighs 13 tons (28,000 pounds).
- The stained glass windows of the Notre Dame are very beautiful and a significant number of them date from the 13th century when the cathedral was constructed.
- The Crown of Thorns, one of the most revered of religious artifacts, is kept in the cathedral.
- Each beams in frame of the cathedral is made from an individual tree. In 12th century 52 acres of trees were cut down to select wooden beams for this structure. That’s why this woodwork is also referred as ‘The Forest’.
- Notre-Dame is considered as the center point of the Paris city. Outside the building embedded in the cobblestones, there are circular markers. They are engraved with words ‘Point zéro des routes de France’. This means this is the point zero (center) of Paris and distances to other places are measured from this point.
This article is dedicated to Notre-Dame and its glory. Here’s to hoping that it will regain its beauty.