Notre Dame
Notre Dame de Paris by Stéphane DAMOUR, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Notre Dame is one of the most famous churches in the world. It is located in Paris, on the Île de la Cité. It’s the pride of the city for almost 900 years and truly is a display of the medieval power Paris possessed. The cathedral also houses some important catholic relics, such as the crown of thorns, a piece of the true cross and one of the holy nails.

Notre Dame Inside
notre-dame by paul bica, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Construction

The construction of this breathtaking cathedral started in 1163. Construction was completed in 1345. It was bishop Maurice de Sully who decided on the construction of the Notre Dame. Before the Notre Dame, another church stood in it’s place, the Saint-Étienne. This church dated back from the 4th century, but the bishop deemed it not worthy for the role of “church of the kings of Europe”. Therefore he decided to have it torn down and replaced.

Architecture

Flying buttress
Flying Buttresses by Ben Brooks, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Cathedral is a beautiful example of French Gothic architecture, and it’s one of the first buildings to use the flying buttress. A flying buttress is an arched structure on the outside of a large building to support the inner walls. Without these, the inner walls would be pushed outward, because they would not be able to withstand the pressure placed on them.

Bells

The Notre Dame is also famous for its bells. The largest and oldest bell originating from 1681 is called Emmanuel. The bell has a weight of over 13 tons and is still in use today. The other 9 bells are new bells (2013), and they also have names: Marie, Gabriel, Anne Geneviève, Denis, Marcel, Étienne, Benoît-Joseph, Maurice, Jean-Marie.

Gargoyles

Another famous sight of the Notre Dame are the gargoyles. Wherever you look, there is a gargoyle to be seen. Originally the gargoyles were colored, but after all these years the colors have worn off. The gargoyles are actually water spouts. Their use is to keep large quantities of water from running down the walls and thus eroding the walls and the masonry.

Notre Dame Gargoyle
Gargoyle at Notre Dame Cathedral by Christine Olson, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

What makes the Notre Dame amazing?

The Notre Dame is an architectural delight. There so many details to this building. Every time you look at it, you’ll notice things you haven’t before, inside and outside. The Notre Dame radiates a sense of greatness. It’s been around for over 900 years, and it still looks amazing thanks to the continuous restoration work being put into it.

Notre Dame rose window
The Rose Window of Notre Dame, Paris by Hamza Hydri Syed, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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