Notre Dame is a very old cathedral in Paris, France. It is one of France’s most famous landmarks and many people visit it each year. The cathedral is on a small island on the River Seine. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris, one of 23 archdioceses in France. The cathedral was built during two centuries. It is a very good example of Gothic Architecture in France. At the time it was finished, the cathedral was the biggest such building in Western Europe. Between 1844 and 1864, the building was renovated under the direction of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who incorporated elements into the design that the medieval building had not possessed before. The two rose windows which ornate the transept are among the biggest in Europe: each has a diameter of 13m.
The bronze plate in the parvis before the cathedral is the origin of all road distances in France calculated from Paris. The national geographic institute in France uses the building as a benchmark. The coordinates and altitude for this point are known precisely.
Victor Hugo wrote a famous story. The story takes place around the cathedral. The English title is ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, but in French it is called ‘Notre-Dame de Paris’.
Tradition has it that Notre-Dame’s first stone was laid in 1163 in the presence of Pope Alexander III. About 1,500 people were evacuated from the cathedral.
Here are some facts about Notre-Dame Cathedral.
- Notre-Dame Cathedral is located in Paris, France on the Ile de la Cite, the very heart of the city. It is one of the largest religious buildings in the world.
- Notre Dame is still a functioning Catholic church and the site of many important religious and ceremonial events. It’s also one of the most popular attractions in France, with 13 million visitors each year.
- The cathedral was built between 1163 and 1345. During its construction, many different architects and designers introduced new elements, including the cathedral’s innovative flying buttresses.
- Notre-Dame is almost 400 feet long, and about 140 feet wide. The famous twin towers at the front are 200 feet high and have 387 steps from the ground floor to the top.
- Although built of stone, an estimated 1,300 trees were also used in the cathedral’s construction and Notre-Dame is sometimes known as ‘The Forest’. The roof is made from over 1,000 lead tiles.
- The cathedral actually belongs to the French government, because of a law dating from 1905. The government has given the Church permission to use the building.
- Notre-Dame Cathedral is also the home of one of the world’s largest organs, and several huge church bells. The bell in the south tower is named Emmanuel and weighs 13 tons.
- One of the most revered of religious artifacts, the Crown of Thorns, is kept in the cathedral. Ceremonies venerating the relic take place during Easter and throughout the year.
- One of the world’s most well known books was set mostly in the cathedral. Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written to increase appreciation for the building.
- Notre-Dame Cathedral is properly called Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris).
- Many statues can be seen on the outside walls of Notre-Dame, and gargoyles and chimeras were added to serve as decorative water spouts.
Today April 15, 2019 – this iconic church was engulfed in flames. It’s extremely sad to see this beautiful historical landmark being burnt especially during HOLY WEEK.