Notre Dame de Paris is the Official chair, of the Archbishop of Paris:
Notre Dame Cathedral was commissioned by the Bishop Maurice de Sully in 1160 when he was elected Bishop of Paris. With the strong economic and population growth in Paris and the choice of Paris as the capital of France, Bishop de Sully decided that Paris needed to have a cathedral like no other. Although the existing church, St. Etienne, was quite large for a construction of the 6th century (five ships wide), it was regularly being repaired.
Work on Notre Dame began in 1163 and looking at this perfect architecture and its harmonious layout, one might think that the design of the cathedral was the work of just one architect. The truth is that dozens of architects worked on its long construction from the 12th to the 19th century, when Eugene Viollet-le-Duc was given the task to restore the whole cathedral by King Louis-Philippe 1st.
According to Viollet-le-Duc “Restoring a building is not the maintenance, repair or rebuild, restore it in a state, which may never have existed at one time.” Extensive works were carried out including the reconstruction of the arrow, the elevation of the new sacristy, murals in the side chapels, complete renovation of the organ, etc.
Notre Dame Cathedral has witnessed many historical events in Paris, some of the most famous being Saint Louis placing the Crown of Thorns in Notre Dame in 1239, the coronations of Henry VI in 1422 and Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804 and the celebration of the Liberation of Paris in 1944.
Architecture students will love the Notre Dame for its exquisite architecture and so will art and history lovers. The Notre Dame Cathedral website has excellent information and interactive map of the cathedral’s layout and features (www.notredamedeparis.fr). If you feel energetic, you can climb the 422 steps leading to the top of the south tower where the famous thirteen-ton bell named Emmanuel is housed and enjoy a breathtaking view across the rooftops of Paris.
Music has always been part of the tradition of Notre Dame de Paris and you can enjoy holy music as well as other classical concerts here. Search and book concerts here >.
On the square in front of the cathedral is the usual sight of art students sketching the popular west facade. Look out for the bronze star inscribed “zero kilometre”. Notre-Dame Cathedral is located in the 4th arrondissement and it’s from this point zero that all distances are measured in France.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
6 Parvis Notre-Dame
Place Jean-Paul-II, 4th arrondissement
Getting There: Cathédrale is easily reached by Metro – Get off at Cite or Saint-Michel.
Map of Paris: