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Monument : Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame cathedral indeed dates back to the 13th century and 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 Ile de la Cité and surrounded by the Seine river, 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 de Paris 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 XIth century and the last religious structure before the Notre Dame construction started was a Romanesque church.

Bishop De Sully started the construction in the XIIth century. 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 the cathedral was completed, partly because the design was enlarged during construction. The result is an overwhelming building, 130 meters 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 de Paris has several large rose windows, the northern XIIIth century window is the most impressive. It is 21 meters high.

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 Haussmann's renovations.

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How to get there

To reach Notre Dame de Paris take bus line 63 at Albert de Mun to Cluny in approx 30 minutes