Notre Dame de Paris, France Tourist Attractions and Travel

Notre Dame de Paris often known simply as Notre Dame in English, is a Gothic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in Paris, France, with its main entrance to the west. It is still used as a Roman Catholic cathedral and is the seat of the Archbishop of Paris. Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Restaured and saved from destruction by Viollet-le-Duc, one of France's most famous architects.

Notre Dame de Paris travel, France Tourist Attractions

In thinking of Gothic architecture, our thoughts always ascend. For that which embodies Gothic style most is lofty; Rose windows of stained glass, ornately crafted spires, and the guardians of grand cathedrals, the Gargoyles. Each is distinctly Gothic, and all distinctly Notre Dame de Paris. Notre Dame de Paris, more than seven hundred years old, is only the most recent of holy houses to Notre Dame de Paris travel occupy this ancient sacred ground. The Celts held their services on this island in the Seine, and atop their sacred groves the Romans built their own temple to Jupiter.

Notre Dame de Paris picture, France

Notre Dame de Paris attractions

In the early years of Christianity, a basilica dedicated to St. Etienne was constructed around 528 by Childebert. A church in the Romanesque manner replaced the basilica, and this stood until 1163 when work began on the structure which stands today.  Notre Dame de Paris, known simply as Notre Dame in English, is a Gothic cathedral on the eastern half of the ?le de la Cité in Paris, France, with its main entrance to the west. It is still used as a Roman Catholic cathedral and is the seat of the Archbishop of Paris. Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. It was restored and saved from destruction by Viollet-le-Duc, one of France's most famous architects. Notre Dame translates as "Our Lady" from French.

 

Notre Dame de Paris was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. Its sculptures and stained glass show the heavy influence of naturalism, giving them a more secular look that was lacking from earlier Romanesque architecture. Notre Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress. The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave. After the Notre Dame de Paris travel construction began and the thinner walls (popularized in the Gothic style) grew ever higher, stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. So, naturaly, they built supports around the building and later additions continued as such.

 

western façade of the cathedral is the single most well-known feature. It is divided into three distinct levels, a holdover from Romanesque architecture. The image to the right indicates some of the west front's most significant features. Preceded by a Gallo-Roman temple to Jupiter, a Christian basilica, and a Romanesque church, construction of Notre Dame de Paris began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII. Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone. The idea to replace the Romanesque church occupying the site - the Cathedral of St. Etienne (founded by Childebert I in 528) - was that of Bishop Maurice de Sully (who died in 1196). (Some accounts claim that there were two churches existing on the site, one to the Virgin Mary, the other to Saint Stephen.) Construction was completed roughly 200 years later in about 1345. The choir was completed in 1182; the nave in 1208, and the west façade and towers circa 1225-1250 (even though the towers are considered "massive", they are still incomplete). A series of chapels were added to the nave during the period 1235-50, and during 1296-1330 to the apse (Pierre de Chelles and Jean Ravy). The transept crossings were built in 1250-67 by Jean de Chelles and Pierre de Montreuil (also the architect of the Sainte-Chapelle). It was essentially completed according to the original plans.

 

The cathedral displays a sculpture of the Virgin Mary which is known as the Virgin of Paris. Commissioned during a time of great wealth by local merchants who saw the cathedral as a source of civic pride and a symbol of new economic freedom, the sculpture is noted for its decadent display and lavishly expensive decoration. While not heretical in subject, some observers have felt that the Notre Dame de Paris tourism sculpture is more a symbol of arrogant wealth than piety.

 

In 1160, having become the "parish church of the kings of Europe", Bishop Maurice de Sully deemed the current Parisian cathedral unworthy of its lofty role, and had it demolished shortly after he assumed the title of Bishop of Paris. According to legend, de Sully had a vision of a glorious new cathedral for Paris, and sketched it in the dirt outside of the original church. To begin the construction, the bishop had several houses demolished and had a new road built in order to transport materials for the new church.

 

Construction began in 1163, during the reign of Louis VII, and opinion differs as to whether Bishop Maurice de Sully or Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone of the cathedral. However, both were at the ceremony in question. Bishop de Sully went on to devote most of his life and wealth to the cathedral's construction.

 

Construction of the west front, with its distinctive two towers, began circa 1200, before the nave had been completed. Over the construction period, numerous architects worked on the site, as is evidenced by the differing styles at different heights of the west front and towers. Between 1210 and 1220, the fourth architect oversaw the construction of the level with the rose window and the great halls beneath the towers. The Notre Dame de Paris attractions towers were completed around 1245, and the cathedral was completed around 1345.

 

Proceeded by a Gallo-Roman temple to Jupiter, a Christian basilica, and a Romanesque church, construction of Notre-Dame de Paris began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII. Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone. The idea to replace the Romanesque church occupying the site - the Cathedral of St. Etienne (founded by Childebert in 528) - was that of Bishop Maurice de Sully (who died in 1196). (Some accounts claim that there were two churches existing on the site, one to the Virgin Mary, the other to St. Stephen.) Construction was completed roughly 200 years later in about 1345.

 

The choir was completed in 1182; the nave in 1208, and the west front and towers circa 1225-1250. A series of chapels were added to the nave during the period 1235-50, and during 1296-1330 to the apse (Pierre de Chelles and Jean Ravy). The transept crossings were build in 1250-67 by Jean de Chelles and Pierre de Montreuil (also the architect of the Sainte-Chapelle). It was essentially completed according to the original plans.

 

During the Commune of 1871, the Cathedral was nearly burned by the Communards - and some accounts suggest that indeed a huge mound of chairs was set on fire in its interior. Whatever happened, the Notre Dame survived the Commune essentially unscathed. Now in 1991, a 10 year program of general maintenance and restoration has begun, and sections of the structure are likely to be shrouded in scaffolds for the Notre Dame de Paris tourism foreseeable future.

 

During its history, Notre Dame has been the site of numerous official and other ceremonial occasions. These include:

 

1239; The Crown of Thorns placed in the Cathedral by St. Louis during the construction of Sainte-Chapelle.
1302; Philip the Fair opens the first States General here.
1430; Henri VI of England is crowned here.
Mary Stuart becomes Queen of France after her marriage to François II, and is crowned here.
1572; Marguerite of Valoi is married to the Huguenot Henri of Navarre here.
2 December 1804; After the anointing by Pius VII, Napoléon seizes the crown from the pontiff and crowns first himself, then Josephine.
26 August 1944; The Te Deum Mass celebrates the liberation of Paris. (According to some accounts the Mass was interrupted by snipping from both the internal and external galleries.)
12 November 1970; The Requiem Mass of General de Gaulle is held here.
31 May 1980; After the Magnificat of this day, Pope John Paul II celebrates Mass on the parvis in front of the Cathedral.

 

The reigns of Louis XIV (end of the 17th century) and Louis XV saw significant alterations including the destruction of tombs and stained glass. At the end of the 18th century, during the French Revolution, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. The statues of many of the saints (which were thought to be statues of royalty) were beheaded. The heads were eventually found and are on display at the nearby Musee de Cluny. Only the great bells avoided being melted down, and the cathedral was dedicated first to the Cult of Reason, and to the Cult of the Supreme Being. The church interior was used as a warehouse for the storage of forage and food.

 

After falling into disrepair, a restoration program overseen by Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus (died 1857) and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was carried out in 1845. This program lasted 23 years, and included the construction of the spire (see image) and the Notre Dame de Paris travel sacristy.

 

The Notre Dame de Paris stands on the site of Paris' first Christian church, Saint-Étiennene Basilica, which was itself built on the site of a Gallo-Roman temple to Jupiter. Notre Dame's first version was a "magnificent church" built by Childebert I, the king of the Franks in 528, and was already the cathedral of the city of Paris in the 10th century.

 

Notre Dame panorama, 1909.The Notre Dame de Paris stands on the site of Paris' first Christian church, Saint-Étiennene Basilica, which was itself built on the site of a Gallo-Roman temple to Jupiter. Notre Dame's first version was a "magnificent church" built by Childebert I, the king of the Franks in 528, and was already the cathedral of the city of Paris in the 10th century.

 

At the end of the 18th century, during the French Revolution, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. The statues of biblical kings of Judea (erroneously thought to be kings of France) were beheaded. Many of the heads were found during a 1977 excavation nearby and are on display at the Musée de Cluny. Only the great bells avoided being melted down, and the cathedral was dedicated first to the Cult of Reason, and to the Cult of the Supreme Being. The church interior was used as a warehouse for the storage of forage and food.



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