Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral
History Carved in Stone
Notre-Dame cathedral, Paris epicentre for over 850 years, stands in an effortless command!
The cathedral, known as Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris), is a historical landmark, a pillar of the Arts, the foundation of spirituality, and of course, a must-see when visiting Paris!
Follow the guide...
As soon as you reach the parvis, the large square facing the cathedral in Ile de la Cite, a certain silence takes hold of you; the kind that presides over opening a book.
Our Lady of Paris has been telling a story since she was consecrated in 1163. She is both a bible and a lesson on morality. Only, doctrines and symbols from the Book were replaced by expressions in stone and stained glass.
Notre-Dame’s universal appeal is likely the reason behind the fascination it exerts.
On the western facade, three doorways infused with rich symbolic meaning stand, inviting you to enter one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in the world.
Elaborate stone carvings adorn the three entrances which are different in size: the central portal, known as the Last Judgment portal, the South portal or portal of Saint Anne, and the portal of the Virgin (North).
Under the balustrade, the spectacular gallery of kings —28 statues representing the kings of Judah— stretches on a wide horizontal frieze.
Treasure in the Towers
Now look up... Two impressive 13th century bell towers rise in the Parisian sky.
As you climb up the 387 steps, take a closer look at the chimeras’ gallery. Grotesque bestiary representations such as Stryge, the gargoyle on watch atop Paris, will leave you smiling, spooked, and in awe.
As you catch your breath, come face to face with Emmanuel, the great bourdon and biggest bell of the cathedral.
Three Rose Windows
Inside the building, a lesson on perspective and lighting effect awaits.
What’s there to see? Three stunning rose windows, of which the south rose window. The dazzling 12.9 meters wide stained glass thrones over the south transept, filtering the light to reveal the majesty of medieval architecture. For example, the daunting pillars which seem to trump gravity while supporting the 33 meters high vaulted ceiling.
Relics of the Passion
Discover Notre-Dame de Paris jewels.
The Treasury lies in the sacristy opening on the south side of the choir. Some 13 million annual visitors flock to see the reliquary most precious and most revered object: the Crown of Thorns.
Other unique relics include a fragment of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails.
Secular, religious, enlightening and mysterious, such is the destiny of Notre-Dame Cathedral: a theatre that stands the test of time, a stage enduring human comedy, and a unique place for worship all together.
Victor Hugo used the cathedral as a setting for his famous novel, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. With Frolo, Quasimodo, and Esmeralda holding our imagination, Notre-Dame de Paris’ universal legacy lives on.
Parvis Notre-Dame – place Jean-Paul-II