Le Cathédrale de Notre Dame

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thé Building History


Parvis de Notre-Dame in the 17th century.


The first Christians who settled in Paris were led by bishop Denis. They had to worship in secret as Christians were beging persecuted for there believes. He became Saint Denis, the patron saint of the city. At the time, Christians were persecuted all over Gaul and the Roman Empire. The bishop Denis had to practice the faith in secret, probably in a simple room in a Gallo-Roman villa. Denis was martyred a few years later with his helpers on Mont Mercure, later named Mont Martyrum, or Montmartre. His successors lived in hiding until the Emperor Constantine declared peace with the Church in 313.

It was then possible to build churches, and the first one was most likely built on the left bank, perhaps, as some stories say, next to the current Val-de-Grâce. However, we do not have any precise information on this first cathedral or the ones to immediately follow it. Various excavations have been done on the eastern part of the Ile de la Cité, the current location of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.. We do not know whether this cathedral, which was dedicated to Saint Stephen, was built in the 4th century and was later renovated or whether it was built in the 7th century with old or reused elements. According to church history, it had a baptistery on its north side, named after Saint John the Round.

Saint Stephen’s cathedral seems to have been regularly maintained and repaired, at least enough to resist damage from wars and the wear of time. However, in the mid-12th century, under the reign of Louis VII, the bishop Maurice de Sully and the chapter made an extremely important decision: they decided to build a new cathedral instead of Saint Stephen. It would be much longer and taller than the previous one, since the new architectural techniques that were gaining favour, the ogival style, commonly known as the gothic style today, allowed it.

More History.....


On 12 October 1160, Maurice de Sully was elected bishop of Paris.

Paris was experiencing a period of great demographic expansion and economic dynamism and was affirming its status in the kingdom of France as:

the political capital of the Capetian kings, Philip I in particular (1060-1108), Louis VI the Fat (1108-1137) and Louis VII the Young (1137-1180);

an economic centre, as a craftsmen’s and merchant’s village developed on the right bank of the Seine around the Marché des Halles;

a major intellectual and teaching centre: international influence of the cathedral school.

Maurice de Sully was bishop of Paris from 1160 to 1196. From the time he was elected, he provided a pastoral, theological and spiritual response to his diocese’s deep transformations by rebuilding a cathedral church dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Notre-Dame) and making it a bishop’s church, a canon church and a baptistery. This project was the focal point of an enormous urban construction site:

demolition of the former Saint Stephen’s and construction of Notre-Dame;

creation of a square, or parvis, which would serve as an intermediary space between the secular world and the sacred world: an area for catechism and learning through the portal sculptures;

opening of the Rue Neuve-Notre-Dame: a vast, 6-metre wide street that would give a large population easy access to the cathedral; it would be stage to major processions over the centuries;

reconstruction of the Bishop’s Palace and the Hôtel-Dieu.




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Cathedrale famous facts

3) The wonderfully known as cathedral is referred to as: Notre Dame de Paris ("Our Lady of Paris" in French), This famous building can also be known as "Notre Dame".

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famous facts

1) the exact height of Notre Dame is 130 meters long. it is 35 meters high. The rose windows have a diameter of 10 meters. There are lots more features about Notre dame including the famous artwork

the Center of Paris

Notre dame is the religious heart of Paris. Bishop Maurice started the construction of Notre Dame in 1163. It took until 1345 until the building was complete. Above the west facade of portals lies the gallery of kings. During the revolution, many of the artifacts were destroyed.

It wasn't until the 19th century that the Cathédrale was refurnished