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Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. The cathedral is consecrated to the Virgin Mary and considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Its innovative use of the rib vault and flying buttress, its enormous and colourful rose windows, and the naturalism and abundance of its sculptural decoration set it apart from the earlier Romanesque style 1).

The cathedral's construction was begun in 1160 under Bishop Maurice de Sully and was largely complete by 1260, though it was modified frequently in the following centuries. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration during the French Revolution; much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. In the 19th century, the cathedral was the site of the coronation of Napoleon I, the baptism of Henri, Count of Chambord, and the funerals of several presidents of the Third French Republic 2).

Popular interest in the cathedral blossomed soon after the publication, in 1831, of Victor Hugo's novel Notre-Dame de Paris (better known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). This led to a major restoration project between 1844 and 1864, supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The liberation of Paris was celebrated within Notre-Dame in 1944 with the singing of the Magnificat. Beginning in 1963, the cathedral's façade was cleaned of centuries of soot and grime. Another cleaning and restoration project was carried out between 1991 and 2000 3).

The cathedral is one of the most widely recognized symbols of the city of Paris and the French nation. As the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris, Notre-Dame contains the cathedra of the Archbishop of Paris (Michel Aupetit). In 1805, Notre-Dame was given the honorary status of a minor basilica. Approximately 12 million people visit Notre-Dame annually, making it the most visited monument in Paris 4).

The Notre-Dame features in Revoir Paris. Paris Notre-Dame is in 2156 considered the centre of Paris. Here you can find all the monuments. You need a special permit to enter Paris Notre-Dame . The city centre is covered by a huge dome 5).

The idea of a dome enclosing the Notre-Dame was visualised in Paris, un voyage dans le temps.

The future of the Notre-Dame became relevant again after the roof of Notre-Dame caught fire on the evening of 15 April 2019. Burning for around 15 hours, the cathedral sustained serious damage, including the destruction of the flèche (the timber spire over the crossing) and most of the lead-covered wooden roof above the stone vaulted ceiling 6).

François Schuiten was interviewed about it in 20h on France TV2.


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