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Notre-Dame de Paris

To understand the birth of Notre-Dame de Paris is needed to understand the context of the Middle Ages. By the 12th century, Paris had doubled in population, and poor people lived in all the area where Notre-Dame is today. Those poor people were miserable, they were dying of famine, pestilence or in those endless wars between feudal lords that did not make sense. The only hope of the human being was to die, and then go to heaven.

Bishop Sully of Paris, in the year 1163, ordered the construction of a new cathedral, in a place where there were already temples since the time of the parisi. Let's build a higher Church, to be close to heaven. In addition we place the thinnest walls so that we can place some stained glass. Imagine the effect, when the sun rises from the east behind Notre-Dame and the sun's rays come through the windows and the poor man is amazed saying "if something like that is heaven, I do not mind being miserable, I can die now". The Gothic is born. Higher churches, thinner walls and structures called buttresses to support the weight of the central nave.

200 years the construction of Notre-Dame is delayed, until 1345. Generations and generations that work inside without seeing it finished but to bequeath us one of the most impressive churches in the world and important for its history. If you look at the main facade, there are two towers above, the one on the left a little wider than the other to show that it is a human work: the symmetrical, the perfect, can only be the work of God. In the center, Our Lady is seen with Jesus in her arms. On his left a man who is out of paradise: Adam. And to the right a woman, her: Eva. Going down you can see statues of kings of Judea. During the French Revolution they are confused with the kings of France and the statues were completely decapitated. Currently those are a copy. When you go down you can see the 3 doors, where in the middle one the moment of the final judgment is sculpted. And from the top, in the Towers, the gargoyles that served mainly at the time as a drainage system after the rains.

Countless historical episodes occur within, but one of the main ones is in 1804. Napoleon Bonaparte, after standing out militarily and sharing power decides that the "Emperor is he. It is crowned inside even with the presence of the Pope. When entering, go on the right side, reach the level of the altar and you can imagine the historical scene. Napoleon, receiving the crown, takes it with his own hands and places it on his head before the astonished gaze of the Pope. Power does not come from the Church to him, it comes directly from heaven.

There may be many important churches in the world, but this one is undoubtedly unique. Even so, it was about to be destroyed. In 1831, Paris left religion behind, Notre-Dame fell apart and Parisians saw it as something ancient, a symbol of the Middle Ages. They wanted to destroy it and make a more modern building. There comes into play the great character of the nineteenth century in France: Victor-Hugo. He wrioe a book: Notre-Dame de Paris, where the hunchback is only a character because the true protagonist of the book is the Church. It relates the life around her, the historical importance in the life of the French and when publishing it is a best-seller, people repent and decide to keep the Church. We can say: "Thank you" Victor-Hugo.



Visit the rosettes (stained glass) and the towers.
Veneration of the Crown of Thorns of Jesus: every first Friday of the month and every Friday of Lent at 3:00 p.m.
Visit the Juan XXIII park (behind the main facade) and observe Notre-Dame from the 'Pont de la Tournelle' which crosses Saint Louis Island.

Pratical Information


Free pass.
For the Towers, € 10 normal, € 8 between 18-26 years non-European and free under 26 years if from a European Union country or non-European regular resident of French territory.


Cite (Line 4), Saint-Michel Notre-Dame (RER B or C)
6, Place du parvis de Notre-Dame.