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Notre-Dame Cathedral facts. History
Notre-Dame Paris

Notre-Dame Cathedral will reopen on December 8 2024 after a complete restoration that will further enhance its astounding beauty and spirituality. 15 million Christians and tourists are expected to enter the cathedral every year after its reopening. 800 years old, Notre-Dame is 130 meters long, 48 meters wide and 35 meters high. Churches in Paris. Paris monuments.

Notre-Dame Cathedral facts

A testimony of eight centuries of Christian faith in the city, Notre-Dame Cathedral towers above the river in Paris. Notre-Dame was the most visited monument in the city ahead of the Eiffel Tower and Sacré-Coeur. Closed during the restoration works, Notre-Dame will reopen on December 8 2024.

See Notre-Dame from the outside on a Paris bus tour or on our 4 hour walk. See it from the river on a Seine river cruise.

6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Place Jean-Paul II
Paris 75004 France

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Notre-Dame Cathedral history

Paris, the former Lutetia, has been evangelized from the 3rd century. Notre-Dame is Paris Catholic Cathedral since the Middle Ages. Appointed bishop of Paris in 1160, Maurice de Sully decided to give the capital a cathedral worthy of France’s largest city. He wanted to build it in the style of the day, the Gothic style. King Louis VII encouraged the project.

The Church, notable residents of the city, and the entire population participated in the construction: some offered money, others offered their labor, while others offered their knowledge. Construction began in 1163. Notre-Dame was completed 109 years later, in 1272. During this time, many craftsman's guilds worked relentlessly under the supervision of seasoned architects. They all made an equal contribution to God and to Mary – Notre-Dame - to whom Maurice de Sully dedicated the cathedral.

Notre-Dame witnessed many historic events, including the coronation of Napoleon (painting by David - December 2nd 1804) and the Magnificat for Paris liberation in the presence of Charles de Gaulle (picture - August 26th 1944).

Portal of the last judgment of Notre-Dame
Portal of the last judgment of Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame apartment and hotel map

Hotel near Notre-Dame

This 19th century hotel is located in a quiet street, 500 m from the Notre-Dame Cathedral in the Latin Quarter. Free Wi-Fi is provided. The air-conditioned guest rooms at the Hotel Maison Colbert have private bathrooms and internet access. Some have views of Notre Dame Cathedral. Room service is available in the evenings. Gastronomic French specialties.

7, rue de l'hôtel Colbert
Paris 75005 France
Hotels near Notre Dame: Hotel Colbert
Hotel Maison Colbert

Notre-Dame Cathedral architecture

Inspired by Saint Denis cathedral, Notre-Dame architecture is a marvel of Gothic art. In the 12th/13th centuries, the rib vault, flying buttress, and pointed arch were invented and allowed increasingly tall and light churches. Large stained-glass window panels beautifully lighted the interiors. Forming altogether a cross, the cathedral has a width of 48 meters, a length of 130 meters and a maximum height of 69 meters. It has a total of 113 windows.

The western facade has three portals. The central Portal of the last judgment displays sculptures showing the resurrection of the dead. An angel has a scale to weigh sins and virtues. Demons steal the souls of the sinful. These images had great weight on the faithful. The two beautiful side portals are dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Sint Anne, her mother. The large stained glass rose window of the western facade is nearly 10 meters in diameter. The north and south facades have windows of 13 meters in diameter.

Notre-Dame is supported by flying buttresses
Notre-Dame is supported by flying buttresses

Notre-Dame Cathedral tower facts

The twin towers culminate at 69 meters (387 steps). The south tower houses 13 ton Emmanuel bell (picture).

The towers are closed due to the fire. The towers could be visited - April 1st to September 30th, 10am to 6.30pm (June to August, on Saturday, Sunday, 10am to 11pm) - October 1st to March 31st, 10am to 5.30pm. Last access 45 mn before closure. Closed on January 1st, in May 1st, December 25th. Entrance on left-hand side of the facade. No visits.

Notre-Dame Towers
Notre-Dame Towers

Notre-Dame facts: Crown of Thorns

According to three of the canonical Gospels a woven crown of thorns was placed on the head of Jesus during the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. It was one of the instruments of the Passion, employed by Jesus' captors both to cause him pain and to mock his claim of authority. In 1238, the Emperor of Constantinople, anxious to obtain support for his empire, offered the Crown of Thorns to King Louis IX of France. It was then in the hands of the Venetians as security for a heavy loan, but it was redeemed and conveyed to Paris. Louis IX built the Sainte-Chapelle, completed in 1248, as the crown's shrine in his Palace, today the Conciergerie. The relic stayed there until the French Revolution. In 1801, it was deposited in Notre-Dame. In 1806, the Crown was transferred to Notre-Dame.

The crown was guarded in the Cathedral's treasury by the Knights of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and could be worshiped every first Friday of the month and each Friday of lent at 3pm. The Friday Holy, from 10am to 5pm.

The Crown of Thorns is in Notre-Dame
The Crown of Thorns was in Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame practical facts

Notre-Dame is located on Ile de la Cité, the Paris island that concentrated the power of France between the 4th and the 14th century. Notre-Dame is 130 meters long, 48 meters wide, 35 meters high. Its pillars have a diameter of 5 meters. The rose windows (picture) have a diameter of 10 meters.

Due to the fire, Notre-Dame crypt cannot be visited.

Paris metro: Cité station on line 4. Saint Michel station on RER B and C lines. Locate Notre-Dame on Paris map.

Ile de la Cité in 15th century
Ile de la Cité in 15th century with Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame fire facts

A tragedy occured on Monday April 15 2019 greatly affecting people all over the world. Several hundred firefighters intervened to extinguish the fire that broke out and ravaged the cathedral. According to the Notre-Dame spokesperson, the fire broke out at 6:50 pm in the attic of the cathedral.

Around 7.50 pm, the 93m high spire of the cathedral, one of the symbols of Paris, collapsed. In a few hours, a good part of the roof of the building was reduced to ashes. "Two-thirds of the roof of Notre-Dame have been destroyed," said General Jean-Claude Gallet, commander of the Brigade of firefighters in Paris. Detailed information on Notre-Dame fire.

As a result and until further notice, no visit or masses open to the public are planned in the cathedral. If you want to understand the beauty and spirituality of French gothic cathedrals, visit Chartres Cathedral near Paris, a visit that takes half a day. Saint-Denis, the first gothic cathedral, is reachable by metro.

Notre-Dame Cathedral fire
Notre-Dame Cathedral fire

Notre-Dame saved by a novel

At the end of the 1789 French revolution, Notre-Dame had suffered numberless injuries and mutilations. In early 19th century, the context is new: a new concordat was signed in 1801, and Notre-Dame went back to Roman Catholic worship in 1802. In 1831, French Novelist Victor Hugo published the now famous novel "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame". PDF text. The moving description of Notre-Dame in this beautiful and successful novel stirred considerable emotion. Intensive restoration work was started in 1845 by Architect Viollet Le Duc and completed in 1864.

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (from Disney movie)

No masses in Notre-Dame

Before the fire, masses were scheduled as follows:
Weekdays, Monday to Saturday noon
- 8:00 a.m. - Mass in the choir
9:00 a.m. mass in the choir (Except in July, August and first half of September)
12:00 p.m. mass at the main altar
5:45 p.m. Vespers service
6:15 p.m. mass at the main altar
5:45 p.m. First Sunday Vespers service
6:30 p.m. Sunday mass at the main altar
Sundays (all services held at the main altar):
8:30 a.m. Mass
9:30 a.m. Lauds service
10:00 a.m. Gregorian mass of the cathedral chapter
11:30 a.m. international mass
12:45 p.m. Mass
5:45 p.m. Vespers service
6:30 p.m. mass usually by the archbishop