Great Churches of the World: Notre-Dame de Paris

cathedral notre dame de paris

The Notre-Dame de Paris is a Catholic cathedral located on the Île de la Cité in Paris, France that was constructed in the year 1163. It is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris and houses some of the most important Catholic relics, including the Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails. The cathedral has an incredibly important role in classic literature because of its setting in the famous novel written by Victor Hugo in 1831. It’s also considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world.

Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris

The Notre-Dame Cathedral was one of the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress. In addition to this, it also showcases the famous gargoyles and chimeras which are used to carry water run-off. It has a narrow climb of 387 steps which lead to an incredible view of the city of Paris at the top. Inside, you can find a gigantic historic organ that has over 7,000 pipes as well as a statue of Joan of Arc, who was beatified in 1909 by Pope Pius X. The cathedral also has ten bells, the largest of which weighs an incredible 13 tons.

notre dame paris

But perhaps the most captivating feature of the cathedral is its incredible massive stained glass windows. Although restorations have been completed, many of these windows date back to the 13th century when the cathedral was originally constructed. The windows are different from earlier Romanesque designs because they were heavily influenced by naturalism.

north rose stained glass notre dame

The stained glass windows feature designs which are reminiscent of a more modern geometric pattern. The only exception to this are the rose windows which depict highly religious scenes. The window in the southern portal features scenes from the life of St Stephen and various local saints. And the north portal has windows that depict the lives of Christ and the story of Theophilus.

notre dame stained glass window

In World War II, many of the windows were hit by stray bullets and had to be restored extensively. Many additional restorations have been completed since in efforts to preserve the cathedral. In 2012, the Notre-Dame Cathedral celebrated its 850th anniversary.

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