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Notre-Dame Cathedral: the most famous church in Paris

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The famous and beautiful Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral of Paris is located in the eastern part of the Île de la Cité, in the center of the city.

The cathedral was built, at the behest of Bishop Maurice de Sully, in place of the old Romanesque cathedral of St. Etienne. The works that began in 1163 and ended about 200 years later. It was Pope Alexander III who laid the foundation stone of the work. The church was sacked and damaged during the French Revolution. Subsequently, between 1841 and 1864, it was restored by the architect Viollet-le-Duc. Finally in 2019 a violent fire destroyed the cathedral’s roof and flèche.


The facade includes three different portals, surmounted by the Galerie des Rois. At the top center, placed between two double lancet windows, there is the western rose window built between 1220 and 1225. Then above the rose window are the arches of the Grande Galerie, above which rise two towers 69 meters high.

On the hips are located the Portail du Cloitre and the Porte Rouge surmounted by a rose window each, these two rose windows (north and south rose window) were built between 1250 and 1260. Both the north rose window and the west rose window still have the original windows intact. While the south rose window has been rebuilt. Several push arches characterize the apse of the church. The spire (flèche), added during the 19th century restoration, was made of lead-covered oak and was 90 meters high.

The interior is monumental with five naves, 48 meters wide and 130 meters long, with beautiful stained glass windows. Inside, the large organ of Cavaillé-Coll from 1863 is worth mentioning.

The treasure of Notre-Dame is also interesting, in fact important relics of Christianity are kept in the cathedral: a nail and a piece of the cross of Jesus and a thorn from the crown of thorns. Also included in the treasure are some sacred relics (crosses and chalices), reliquaries, medieval manuscripts and the coronation cloak of Napoleon I.

Through 380 steps you can climb the south tower from which you can admire a wonderful panorama of the city and the Seine.

HOW TO GET THERE: Metro stations of Cité and Saint-Michel can be used to reach Notre-Dame Cathedral.



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