Widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris (‘Our Lady of Paris’) – more commonly known simply as Notre-Dame – is one of the most widely recognized symbols both of Paris and France, and welcomes around 12 million people every year.
Situated on the Île de la Cité in Paris’ 4th arrondissement, Notre-Dame took nearly two centuries to fully complete after her first stone was laid in 1163.
The towers – the last major part of the cathedral to be constructed – stand 69 meters high, and made Notre-Dame the tallest building in France until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was completed.
Yet the towers form just one of Notre-Dame’s architectural highlights. Its stained glass windows – especially its round ‘rose’ windows – and sculptural decorations are perhaps more famous, while the cathedral features innovative construction techniques, including flying buttresses and use of the rib vault.
Notre-Dame’s stature, grand appearance and beauty have led it to host many famous occasions – including the coronation of Napoleon I in 1804, the celebration of the liberation of Paris in 1944 – and to be chosen as the setting of the celebrated Victor Hugo novel, Notre-Dame de Paris, in which the famous hunchback features.
Last month, Notre-Dame hit the headlines after suffering a