Notre-Dame Cathedral

Paris, France | C.1160

Photo Credit: LindaBerlin

The Notre-Dame de Paris, or “Our Lady of Paris,” is also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral and simply Notre-Dame. It is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Ile de la Cite in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture.

Construction on the cathedral began in 1160 under Bishop Maurice de Sully and largely concluded by 1260, though it was modified frequently in the following centuries. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration during the French Revolution when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. In 1804, the cathedral was the site of the Coronation of Napoleon I as Emperor of France.

Popular interest in the cathedral blossomed soon after the publication of Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1831. This led to a major restoration project supervised by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, who added the cathedral’s iconic spire, built from 1844 to 1864. The liberation of Paris was celebrated within Notre Dame in 1944 with the singing of the Magnificat.

The cathedral is one of the most widely-recognized symbols of not only the city of Paris but the French nation. It is the subject of or has inspired many works such as Hugo’s work, and its 1996 Disney film adaption. 12 million people visit Notre-Dame yearly, it thus being the most visited monument in Paris.

On April 15th 2019, the cathedral tragically caught fire and suffered significant damage including the collapse of the entire roof and the main spire. The stone vault remained largely intact, with the interior described as “relatively untouched.” Restoration projects began in June 2020 as the cathedral will remain closed for repairs for years to come.

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