Notre-Dame is the most visited monument in Paris today with about 13 million visitors every year, beating out the Eiffel Tower.
The Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire April 15. At more than 850 years old, it is one of the most notable monuments in Europe.
Notre-Dame de Paris, often referred to simply as Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture.
It is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages and is distinguished for its size, antiquity, and architectural interest.
Designed in the Gothic fashion and built between the 12th and 14th centuries, the Notre Dame Cathedral in France is the official seat of the Archbishop of Paris. Its architecture is one of the first examples of the use of flying buttresses, and the cathedral features numerous statues and stained glass windows.
Notre-Dame lies at the eastern end of the Île de la Cité and was built on the ruins of two earlier churches, which were themselves predated by a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter.
Construction of the cathedral took almost 200 years, almost as long as the entire gothic period, and most would agree it is one of the most important examples of the Gothic style in the world. In architectural history, the cathedral of Notre Dame was one of the first buildings that made use of the flying buttress.
Located on a natural island in the Seine river, the Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, ordered its construction in 1160. He conceived the idea of converting into a single building, on a larger scale, the ruins of the two earlier basilicas.
The foundation stone was laid by Pope Alexander III in 1163, and the high altar was consecrated in 1189. The choir, the western facade, and the nave were completed by 1250, and porches, chapels, and other embellishments were added over the next 100 years.
Notre-Dame Cathedral suffered damage and deterioration through the centuries, and after the French Revolution it was rescued from possible destruction by Napoleon, who crowned himself emperor of the French in the cathedral in 1804.
Notre-Dame underwent major restorations by the French architect E.-E. Viollet-le-Duc in the mid-19th century. The cathedral is the setting for Victor Hugo’s historical novelNotre-Dame de Paris (1831).