Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Notre-Dame is located on the Île-de-la-Cité, adjacent to the Latin Quarter, in the centre of Paris. The Île-de-la-Cité, an island in the Seine River, is the historical and geographical heart of Paris. The Romans erected the Gallo-Roman city of Lutetia on this little strip of land, and the Kings of France lived here from the 6th through the 14th centuries.
King Louis IX (Saint Louis) and Bishop Maurice de Sully founded the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris in 1163, and it took more than 150 years to complete. The cathedral was built in the Early Gothic style at first, but later extensions (the west front and nave) demonstrate the shift to the High Gothic style.
This magnificent mediaeval structure is a Gothic architectural masterpiece. Tourists are immediately drawn to the facade’s ornate architecture, which includes a plethora of statues and gargoyles, while intricate flying buttresses give structural support for the massive structure.
Visitors should pay special attention to the Gallery of Kings, which is located above the doorway on the intricately decorated west facade. From Childebert I (511-588) through Philippe Auguste, there are 28 rows of elaborately carved statues depicting the French rulers. During the Revolution, these individuals lost their heads. (The heads are now on display at Cluny’s Musée.)
Enter the sanctuary after appreciating the beautiful gateway to take in the majesty of this vast domed hall. The sanctuary seems to go on forever, and tourists are drawn in by the light of flickering candles.
Beautiful stained-glass windows light the interior. The rose window in the north transept is the most notable. The Virgin is shown in 80 Old Testament scenes in this beautiful work of art.
Note: The cathedral was severely damaged by a big fire in April of 2019: the mediaeval roof and the 19th-century spire both fell. The full scope of the damage is still being determined. The inside is currently closed to the public.
The structure is being stabilised and repaired as part of a project. The cathedral will be rebuilt and restored to its former glory by the city. In 2024, the museum is expected to reopen.