Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame

One of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals, which is one of the symbols of Paris and the French nation, is sure to amaze everyone and is a must-see.

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, its construction began in the 12th century but was not completed until the 14th century. What everyone immediately notices are its 3 large rose rosette windows (circular), where the western one is even the largest in the world.

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A little history

The construction of the cathedral began in 1163 and was completed in 1345. Most of Notre-Dame's current appearance dates from this period, making it one of the oldest surviving major cathedrals in the world.

Many important French events took place here, such as the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte. Its 2 towers, 69 metres high, were the tallest buildings in Paris before the Eiffel Tower was built and still offer spectacular views of the city.

It also includes a crypt with archaeological excavations dating back to 1965 and a treasury with the alleged crown of thorns of Jesus. It is one of the most visited monuments in Paris.

Fire in 2019

On 15 April 2019, during renovations, a massive fire engulfed the roof of the cathedral, which was only able to be extinguished after more than 12 hours.

It completely destroyed virtually the entire roof and the sanctus, a 96-metre high 19th-century neo-Gothic tower. Due to the large amount of water used in the extinguishing, many other artefacts were also damaged, but the rarest ones were saved.

The fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris was shocking to the world and was reported by major news media across continents. The prosecution was relatively quick to close the case as an unintentional act in connection with the ongoing reconstruction.

Virtually immediately after the fire, discussions began about rebuilding the cathedral, which is still ongoing.

Admission and opening hours

Due to the fire in 2019, the cathedral is closed to the public. However, it is worth at least coming to see it. Previously, admission to the cathedral was free, only the queues at the entrance could become a problem.

Transport and location

Located on the small island of Île de la Cité on the Seine River.

It is best to walk along the river, as you can see the cathedral beautifully from a distance and the shoreline is pleasant and relatively quiet from the rest of the city. On the island itself is the Cité metro station, served by line 4.

You will also find other stations on the riverbank such as Châtelet (lines 1, 4, 7, 11 and 14). There are also a number of bus stops nearby called Cité, Notre Dame, Saint Michel or Châtelet.

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