The Notre-Dame de Paris reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
(provided by Fixed Reference: snapshots of Wikipedia from

Notre-Dame de Paris

Watch child sponsorship videos
Notre Dame and Notre-Dame redirect here. It is French for "Our Lady" and is thus the name of a vast number of Catholic churches in French-speaking countries, including several inside Paris.

For other referents of Notre Dame, please see Notre Dame (disambiguation).

Notre-Dame de Paris, (French for "Our Lady of Paris," meaning the church in Paris dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus) often known simply as Notre-Dame in English, is a gothic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in Paris, France, with its main entrance to the west. While a major tourist destination, it is still used as a Roman Catholic cathedral (archbishop of Paris).

Notre-Dame de Paris, main entranceEnlarge

Notre-Dame de Paris, main entrance

Notre-Dame de Paris, seen from the River SeineEnlarge

Notre-Dame de Paris, seen from the River Seine

Interior of Notre-Dame de ParisEnlarge

Interior of Notre-Dame de Paris

Table of contents
1 History
2 Significant events at Notre-Dame
3 Details of the West Front
4 Notre-Dame in literature
5 Miscellaneous
6 External links and References


Notre-Dame de Paris stands on the site of Saint Etienne basilica, which was itself built on the site of a Gallo-Roman temple to Jupiter. Saint Etienne basilica was founded by Childebert in 528, and became the cathedral of the city of Paris in the 10th century. However, in 1160, having become the "parish church of the kings of Europe", Bishop Maurice de Sully deemed the building unworthy of its lofty role, and had it demolished.

Construction began in 1163, during the reign of Louis VII, and opinion differs as to whether Bishop Maurice de Sully or Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone of the cathedral. Construction of the west front, with its distinctive two towers, only began in around 1200, before the nave had been completed. Over the construction period, numerous architects worked on the site, as is evidenced by the differing styles at different heights of the west front and towers. Between 1210 and 1220, the fourth architect oversaw the construction of the level with the rose window, and the great halls beneath the towers. The towers were completed around 1245, and the cathedral was completed around 1345.

During the reign of Louis XIV and Louis XV, at the end of the 17th century, the cathedral underwent major alterations - tombs and stained glass windows were destroyed. During the French Revolution, at the end of the 18th century, many of the cathedral's treasures were destroyed or stolen. The cathedral's great bells avoided being melted down, but the cathedral was used as a warehouse for the storage of food.

A restoration program was initiated in 1845, overseen by architects Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. The restoration lasted 23 years, and included the construction of a spire.

In 1871, a civil uprising leading to the establishment of the short-lived Paris Commune nearly set fire to the cathedral, and some records suggest that a mount of chairs within the cathedral were set alight.

In 1991, a major program of maintenance and restoration was initiated, which was intended to last 10 years, but is still in progress.

Significant events at Notre-Dame

Details of the West Front

Notable features of the West Front of Notre-Dame de ParisEnlarge

Notable features of the West Front of Notre-Dame de Paris

View of Paris from the Galerie des ChimièresEnlarge

View of Paris from the Galerie des Chimières

The west front of the cathedral is probably its most notable feature - with its 69-metre (228-feet) tall towers. The image to the right indicates some of the west front's most significant features.

Notre-Dame in literature

The cathedral is probably best known from Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was first published in 1831. Hugo's novel drew attention to the delapidated condition of the cathedral, and was probably instrumental in instigating the restoration project of 1845. Hugo described the towers of the cathedral, where a major part of the novel's action takes place, as "beautifully balanced parts of a magnificent whole."


Kilometre Zero, in front of Notre-Dame de ParisEnlarge

Kilometre Zero, in front of Notre-Dame de Paris

France's "kilometre zero," the reference point for distances along the highways starting in Paris, is situated in the square in front of the cathedral.

External links and References

Notre-Dame de Paris (published in English as The Hunchback of Notre Dame) is a novel by Victor Hugo about a fictional bell-ringer of the cathedral. It has been made into several movies and musicals.