Translated from the French and meaning ‘Our Lady of Paris’, Notre Dame de Paris is a classic example of French Gothic architecture and is a symbol of the important role the church has played in French history.
Located on the Ile de la Cite in Paris this magnificent cathedral is the most visited site in all of Paris attracting more than 10 million visitors per year to it’s vaulted ceilings and imposing towers. It’s popularity surpasses even those other famous Parisian draw cards the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. The cathedral is still a working Catholic Church however and regular services are held here for up to 6000 worshippers.
Built from massive oak beams, stone blocks and lead plate the construction of the cathedral was started in 1163 and after 182 years and numerous architects directing the build it was eventually completed in 1345. The building itself is massive with interior dimensions comprising a length of 130m, width of 48m and a ceiling 35m high, all adorned with graceful arches, intricate stone and wood carvings and beautiful stained glass windows.
There are 3 massive rose coloured stained glass windows which cast dazzling ripples of colour across towering columns and marbled floors when struck by sunlight. The 7,800 pipe organ is situated under the most renowned of these windows which dates back to the thirteenth century.The exterior is notable for it’s central spire, two imposing towers and is graced along it’s length by impressive flying buttresses. Notre Dame is famous for being one of the first buildings anywhere to use these buttresses.
Such is the respect by which the French hold Notre Dame de Paris is that the square in front of the cathedral is the reference point to all other parts of Paris and many other famous landmarks are defined by their distance from the place du Parvis Notre Dame.