In the heart of Ile de la Cité (the center of the Ancient Lutetia) Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris has been one of the most emblematic monuments in Paris since its inception. Its western façade dominates the Notre-Dame square, John Paul II Square. Its construction, begun under the leadership of Bishop Maurice de Sully, extends over more than two centuries, from 1163 to the middle of the 14th century.
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 20 million annual visitors, Notre Dame Cathedral has not, for centuries, always, had the prestige we know today. The Basilica of Saint-Denis to welcome kings of France, the cathedral of Reims to proceed to the coronation of the kings, the Sainte-Chapelle, to shelter the treasure of the Church, were the places of worship preferred by the French.
Notre Dame Cathedral was the victim of numerous acts of vandalism during the French Revolution (1789 to 1799). The Parisian rioters pillaged the cathedral, destroyed all the statues of the portals with the exception of the statue of the Virgin of the Trumeau of the Cloister portal. They also dismantled, the arrow of the13th century and, thinking it was the Kings of France, they brought down and beheaded 28 statues of the Kings of Judea, ancestors of Mary, located in the king’s gallery.
Threatened with destruction, transformed into a wine warehouse and then a temple of reason created during the French Revolution in 1793, the Cathedral was returned to the Catholic Church on April 18, 1802.
Napoleon 1st chose Notre-Dame Cathedral for his religious ceremony of the coronation as Emperor of the French, on Sunday, December 2, 1804,
Thanks to the success of Victor Hugo’s novel, “Notre-Dame de Paris”, published in 1831, which had ling aim to alert to, the richness of his patrimony, in 1845 the general restoration of the Cathedral was entrusted to Viollet-le-Duc.
Inside the Cathedral, you can admire the masterpieces: the 3 organs, the bells and bumblebees, the paintings, the statuaries, and the stained-glass windows.