fountain of wisdom • visiting france & paris

Notre Dame Cathedral De Paris

By George Josserme

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• article synopsis •

Notre Dame is one of the greatest displays of human ingenuity and creation. She is also one of the oldest buildings in the world.

Almost two centuries of engeneering ~and lots of labor~ were needed to complete her.

• • •

Click below to a wonderful representation of her life since birth until today.
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"Notre Dame is not
a place to visit, but to involve oneself in; and when we do,
we become somebody."

Anonymous Traveller

THERE IS AN ISLAND IN THE HEART OF PARIS called Île de la Cité. She is home to a cathedral of an impressive French Gothic architecture. It took 182 years to complete. Construction ended in 1345, but remodeling and improvements remain since then until today.

In French, her name is 'Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris.' There is ample and fascinating history to learn before visiting a site of splendor and impressiveness. What follows next is only a portion of it.

» As a result of the French Revolution, at the end of 1790s, the cathedral's overall condition suffered. In 1802, she was in schedule for demolition; but Napoleon thought it would be shameful to destroy such a beauty and the history behind her. His strong opposition saved the imposing and gallant Cathédrale Notre Dame from demolition.

» In 1831, Victor Hugo's novel 'Hunchback of Notre Dame' was a reason why French people approved to continue improvements to their beloved cathedral. It is the story of a hunchback man whose primary job was to ring the cathedral's bell. This is a rather unappealing-looking man named Quasimodo who deeply fell in love with a gipsy princess. The story of the impossible relationship melted French people's heart.

» Notre Dame has ten bells in her towers which became familiar part of Paris. Parisiennes call the bells "The cathedral's voice." In 1681, the oldest of all ten bells ~which King Louis XIII named Emmanuel~ was recast. French women wanted to be part of it and donated some of their gold and silver jewellery. The bell developed a more pure tone attributed to French women who donated their jewelry to be thrown in during the melting of the metal.

» At the beginning of WWII, it was feared that German bombs could shutter her stained glass windows. So, they were removed together with the 'Rose Window' which remains today the largest stained glass window in the world since it was built in medieval years of the 13th. century. All stained glass windows were saved and restored at the end of the war.

» Due to the devastating fire in 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral is closed to the public as restoration works remain; but will reopen in 2024. Climbing the Bell Tower spiral staircase will be again a worthy event. During the ascension, we are presented with the massive 13 tons bell Emmanuel. As we continue up, we perceive the famous Notre Dame Gargoyles on the outside of the building. Once at the top, we experience what leaves anyone silent, breathless, and stunned. It is a spectacular bird-eye view of the City of Love.

» A street away from the cathedral is 'Musée de Notre Dame' where one of her huge organs is displayed along with music from Louis Vierne, a famous Notre Dame organist.

» In the cathedral front facade, there is a plaque placed there by André Michelin founder of 'Michelin Tire Company' who also owns BFGoodrich and the reputable Red & Green Travel Guides. That plaque is there today in use to measure distances in France.

related article » Starting Point: Île de Saint Louis

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