With over 800 years old, regarded as a masterpiece of French Gothic Architecture and one of the largest Cathedrals in the world, Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral or Notre-Dame which means Our lady of Paris, is an iconic and historic monument in the France’s largest city, the Paris. Being one of major tourist attractions in France, and also located on the IIe de la Cite in the fourth arrondissement, Notre-Dome is easily accessible with Paris Cabs services and Paris shuttle services and many Paris Tour packages include this magnificent Church as a must visit. Public Transport Paris is more convenient than many other European cities.
History of the Cathedral
Construction of this 800 year old glorious architectural masterpiece was started in 1163 During the reign of King Louis VII and under the purview of Bishop of Paris Maurice de Sully. Bishop Maurice had a vision to build a special cathedral in Paris as the previous cathedral in the city ‘Saint-Étienne’ was not as big and also its structure was failing as per the historical accounts. Hence the bishop upon appointment demolished the old cathedral and convinced the King Louis VII to start construction of the new cathedral and he dedicated his effort and wealth for the cathedral construction. Construction took over 200 years and many obstacles during that time. By observing the building one can understand that many architects had participated during its construction as different styles at different stages is much evident.
It took from 1163 to 1177 to construct the Choir and High Altar consecrated during 1182. With the death of the Bishop Maurice in 1196 completion of the Transepts was observed by his successor Eudes de Sully. In 1240 Transepts were remodeled by Jean de Chelles with new Rayonnant style. During its 200 year construction many of the original design characteristics were altered by different architects who oversaw the Project.
During its history it saw many glorious events as royals coronations like crowning of Kind Henry VI and Napoleon himself and may dark times where it came close to total disrepair. The cathedral was brought to its formal glory during the late 19th century and early 20th century as its glory was lost during the French revolution in 18th century. During the French revolution may of its treasures were destroyed and plundered. But more damage came from second World War. With many restorations after the war and a major maintenance program in 1991 cathedral has received its status today.
Notre-Dame de paris is a fine example of French Gothic Architecture. And one of the very first buildings in the whole world to designed and constructed with use of Flying Buttress. Although it was not designed with flying buttresses around its Choir and Nave but later added during its construction. Its now understood these additions were made by its architects and builders who oversaw construction in response as its original constructions had few flows notably the thin and walls were not able to withstand its weight and started to fracture leading to a catastrophic structural failure. To prevent this architects built supports around walls. To complement its structure statues were placed as column supports and water spouts. Cathedral consists with a narrow staircase with 387 steps and going through the climb can witness famous Gargoyles and Bell in close proximity along with a splendid view of the City of Paris once reached the top. The naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in par with Romanesque architecture characteristics.
Other Facts about the Cathedral
Notre-Dame contains the Cathedra of the Arachbishop of Paris. Cathedral contains vast displays of artwork, furniture and many valuable items that mirror the Nio-Gothic design. Tourists as well as Christian and catholic devotees are welcomed into the cathedral to view and enjoy these displays. They can also attend the Mass, which is being held three times a day and a popular attraction for Christian visitors.
There are three west portals of the cathedral which showcases early Gothic art. These are namely Last Judgment Portal which is the center portal as per the theme portal is sculpted emphasizing Christ as More a suffering savior of humanity than judge ,secondly Portal of St. Anne which is the Right portal and tympanum installed in 1200 shows the virgin and child on a throne along with angels , bishop , an assistant and king. Third portal , the Portal of the Virgin which is the left portal dedicated to the patroness of the Notre-Dame is usually the departure door to the visitors.
South transept portal is dedicated to the St. Stephen and North Transept portal consists of statue of Virgin Mary,scenes relating to the birth of Christ and miracles of St Theophilus.
13th Century stained Glass Windows are remarkable collection of Gothic art, and highlight being most valuable set of three beautiful rose windows which are being surviving original glass from the inception of the cathedral.
Tourists and Transport
Cathedral is opened every day from 8.00 AM to 6.75 PM and visitors can arrive at the venue very easily with available transports methods in the Paris as many of the Paris Tour operators include Notre-Dame as a must visit. There are Paris Shuttle services available from main locations of Paris to the vicinity of cathedral and You can avail the services of the Paris Cabs services which is the easiest way. Public Transport Paris is also available which visitors can enjoy the city at a nominal fee. Come enjoy the Romantic city of Paris and visit its rich historic Places such as Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral.