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Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Church Notre Dame is a gothic cathedral dedicated to Virgin Mary. The story of this cathedral draws attention of numerous tourists, since it was constructed with discontent of the people, it was badly damaged during the French revolution and completely neglected afterwards, only to become one of the most well-known tourist attractions in the city.

Notre Dame is a gothic cathedral that apart from its original purpose is also an important tourist attraction of Paris. The cathedral is located on a natural river island in the River Seine. On the grounds where the cathedral stands today, once was located the temple of Jupiter which was constructed by Gaius Julius Caesar during his work on the reconstruction of Lutetia (the Roman name for the city). In 1160, Maurice de Sully became a new bishop of Paris who argued for the construction of a new cathedral, large enough to receive all worshipers. Therefore, it was decided that two nearby churches to be demolished in order for the new cathedral to be built, a cathedral dedicated to Virgin Mary which became known as Notre Dame. Pope Alexander III was present at the start of the construction works.

The architecture of this cathedral is really unique- the structure is 130m long, 48m wide and 36m high, decorated with 2,230 statues in the gothic style. Since the construction of the cathedral was financed by the taxation of the local population, a large riot broke out against the clergy and the bishop in 1223. The conflict ended with the papal intervention and harsh punishments of the rioters-rebels. The construction works continued, but the building was finished only in 1345. During the French revolution the cathedral was sacked and damaged. All of the statues that once had adorned the façade of the church were demolished, while the bells of the church were melted for the production of arms. In 1793. A French politician and economic theorist Henri de Saint-Simon had the intention to buy the cathedral in order to completely demolish it. After Napoleon came to power the purchase contract was annulled. In 1801, Napoleon made peace with papacy and signed a treaty with Pope Pio VII. According to this treaty France acknowledged the Catholic religion as the dominant religion of the country while the church recognized the territories won by the revolution. Napoleon ordered additional decoration of the church for his coronation ceremony in 1804.
Twenty five French kings were coroneted in the beautiful Notre Dame cathedral.
Numerous details are worth mentioning regarding Notre Dame: above the entrance door the image of the Judgment day was carved (according to the belief that at the end of the time all people will be judged - bad people will end up in hell while good people will gain an internal life), sculptures that represent the temptations of Adam and Eve, the gallery of kings (composed of 28 statues of kings, 3.5 meters high), and the incredible interior of the church decorated with three breathtaking windows covered with stained glass, large organs, numerous statues and art works.

In case you are interested in visiting terraces of the cathedral, on the left side, when facing the entrance to the church, you will find the stairs that lead to the top of the structure. Form these terraces you will enjoy a magnificent view on Paris.

Interesting facts

  • In 2013, four old bells were replaced with eight new, each weighing one metric ton. The reason for this decision was to bring back the old sound of the bells which could be heard all until 1686, when during the French revolution the existing bells were melted down.
  • The only bell that was not melted during the revolution is called Emanuel bell, which is nowadays considered one of the most beautiful bells in Europe.
  • It is believed that the famous French writer Victor Hugo is responsible for the reconstruction of the cathedral. In the 19th century, the authorities had the intention of demolishing the badly damaged Notre Dame cathedral. With his novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” Hugo managed to influence the public opinion and therefore change the destiny of the cathedral.


Ticket prices for the Cathedral Notre Dame in Paris
The entrance to the cathedral is FREE of charge.
Ticket price for the terraces of Notre-Dame
Regular ticket price is 10 Euros (€).
Free entrance: individuals younger than 26 years.

Working hours of the Cathedral Notre Dame in Paris
The cathedral is open every day in the year from 07:45 to 18:45h. On Saturdays and Sundays working hours are a bit longer - till 19:15h.
Working hours of the terraces of the cathedral is from 10:00 to 17:30h. From April 1 to September 30 the working hours are an hour longer - till 18:30h.

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