Notre Dame de Paris ("Our Lady of Paris" in English), also known as the Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic cathedral located on the Île de la Cité, a small island in the centre of Paris (in the 4th arrondissement). It is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world and, with 13 million visitors each year, the most visited site in all of France. It is also an active Catholic church and the heart of Catholicism in France.
Before the cathedral was built, a few other sacred buildings were built on its site: the Roman temple of Jupiter, a 6th century Christian basilica - Saint Etienne, and a Romanesque church. The construction of Notre Dame started in 1163, during the reign of Louis VII, and it was not completed until 1345. It was built in the Gothic style and it served as a model for the new cathedrals built in France, such as the Amiens Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral, and the Reims Cathedral, just to name a few. The person most involved in the construction of the cathedral was the Bishop Maurice de Sully.
The cathedral was severely damaged during the French Revolution when its sculptures, gargoyles and other treasures from its interior were plundered and destroyed. It was not restored until the 19th century, when the writer Victor Hugo wrote a book entitled 'Notre-Dame de Paris', which played a significant role in convincing those in power of the need of restoration of the cathedral. The restoration works lasted over 20 years and were led by the French Gothic Revival architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. He made some controversial changes to the cathedral's structure, adding a spire and the chimeras on the Galerie des Chimères. The second major restoration of the cathedral began in 1991 and, although it was intended to last only 10 years, it is still in progress.
The cathedral is 128 metres long and its two towers reach 69 metres, while the spire, added in the 19th century, 92 metres. The cathedral has several large rose windows, of which the northern one, dating from the 13th century, is the most impressive. The west frontal façade houses three magnificent portals above which lies the Gallery of Kings with 28 statues of Judean Kings. Looking further up, we can see the famous gargoyles and grotesques. On the east side of the building, there are magnificent 15-metres wide flying buttresses.
Also worth mentioning are the impressive organs with 7,800 pipes which are housed inside the cathedral and five bells, four of which are located in the North Tower and one, the bourdon named Emmanuel, in the South Tower.
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|Neighbourhood||Notre-Dame (4th Arrondissement - l'Hôtel-de-Ville)|
|Geographical coordinates||48.8540278, 2.3473245|
|Address||75004 Paris, Rue de la Cite|
|Construction dates||1163 - 1345|
|More information||official website|