Notre-Dame is one of the masterpieces of Gothic art in Western Europe. Its stainglasses and the huge interior are really stunning artistic experiences of mystical dimension. Located on the Cite, Notre-Dame is a flagship in the Parisian landscape and provides a magnificent
view of the city from the top of its towers.
The site of the Notre dame is the cradle of Paris and had been the religious center of the city. The Celts had their
sacred ground here, the Romans built a temple to worship Jupiter. A Christian basilica was built in the 6th century and
the last religious structure before the Notre-Dame construction started was a Romanesque church.
Bishop Maurice de Sully started the construction in 1163. The Cathedral was to be built in the new gothic style and had
to reflect Paris's status as the capital of the Kingdom France. It was the first cathedral built on a monumental scale
and became the prototype for future cathedrals in France, like the cathedrals of Amiens, Chartres or Rheims, just to
name the most famous.
It took until 1345 before Notre Dame de Paris was completed,
partly because the design was enlarged during construction.
The result is an overwhelming building, 130m long with two
69 meters tall towers. The spire, which reaches 90m, was
added in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc. The Notre-Dame
has several large rose windows, the northern 13th century
window is the most impressive. It is 21 meters high. The
spectacular eastern buttresses are 15m wide. The west side
features 3 wide portals, the gallery of Kings and the famous
Excavations under the parvis have revealed traces of Notre-Dame's history from Gallo-Roman times to the 19th century.
Vestiges of Roman ramparts, rooms heated by hypocaust (an ancient system with underground furnaces and tile flues),
medieval cellars, and the foundations of a foundling hospital are displayed, as are several fascinating photographs of
the surrounding neighborhood before Baron Haussmann's renovations.