Notre Dame: A History


Notre Dame de Paris: A Rival to St. Peter's

I love Notre Dame. I think it is beautiful in lack of light, inspiring in it's immensity, and entertaining in its portrayal throughout history. While some from my generation may think of Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I think of a focal point in history. And today, thousands flock to this site to catch a glimpse into the past. And in 2013, it celebrated 850 years in history. Happy birthday cathedral!

It was constructed on the remains of an older church

The bishop of the area wanted something with more grandeur, so he had the original church destroyed and built Notre Dame atop it. The cathedral can be found on Ile de la Cité, prime location for all Parisians to flock to.

Changes were made during the French Revolution

The cathedral was repatriated during the revolution to the thinkers. They removed and changed many religious artifacts in order for the cathedral to be more of a place of reason and less of a place of religion. Today, many of those statues have not been replaced.

So many people!

Damages were caused during World War II

Like many other churches in France, World War II saw to their destruction and damage. While many statues were left intact, the stained glass windows suffered dramatically. It was common for Nazis to cut of the heads, hands and feet of religious statues on churches during the war, but Notre Dame seemed to have escaped that.

The bells have names

There are 10 bells in the bell towers of Notre Dame, and the largest one weighs 13 tons. The bells had to be replaced as every time they rang, the buildings around would shake. Today the bells are rung differently in order to preserve the buildings and the cathedral, but the original bells are still around. They have names like Emmanuelle and Mary. Did Quasimodo give them these names?

A place for history

Henry IV married his wife here. Napoleon celebrated his coronation here. While Notre Dame may not be where the kings were buried, it still have an important role in the hearts of many historical figures.

Since the church is free to visit, during the summer a long line is always present. Try to visit it in the off hours or off season in order to avoid the lines. 

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