Notre-Dame de Paris


Notre-Dame de Paris (meaning Our Lady of Paris) is obviously a religious place located in the French Capital, but it became much more than this through time.

Its construction began in 1163 and ended in 1345. Of course, it was not a single-flow design and the architecture changed a lot during it’s construction. Each part having its own history.

Let’s start with the 2 gigantic doors of the Cathedral. The time and quantity of work to build them seemed so insurmountable for the young blacksmith Biscorniet, that he decided to ask for some help…from the Devil and would have sold him his soul. At the inauguration, it is told that the doors did not open and they had to spray them with holy water. Since then, they have been called “Vantaux Diaboliques” (Diabolic Wings).

Les Vantaux Diaboliques de Notre Dame de Paris

Les Vantaux Diaboliques de Notre Dame de Paris

The frame of the Cathedral is called “The Forest” of Notre-Dame. In fact, each beam was construccted from one unique tree. In the end, the total represents a 21 Hectares Forest (approx. 52 Acres).

The gargoyles and chimeras are the most famous inhabitants of the building. But do not confuse one for the other: Gargoyles are useful for the structure and are used to evacuate the waters from the gutters whereas the Chimeras are purely decorative. You must certainly remember the gargoyles from the movie “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”!

Les Gargouilles du Bossu de Notre Dame, Disney

Gargoyles, Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Source: Disney movie

Finally, an anecdote about the history of the monument: After the revolution the Cathedral almost fell in abandonment. It is the novel of Victor Hugo, starring Quasimodo, the bell ringer, that made French people remember the importance of this heritage. After it’s release, the renovations began and the architect Violet-le-Duc was assigned to take over all tasks. The latter decides to leave his mark and creates a statue of Saint Thomas… at his effigy looking the other way to admire the building.

Violet le Duc et la Statue de Saint Thomas

Violet-le-Duc and the Statue of Saint Thomas. Source: Paristoric

This article is an homage to one of the most amazing and important French monuments that has unfortunately been touched by a fire recently. But, no worries! It is not the first time Notre-Dame will be reborn from the ashes, always more majestic!

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