5 Most Startling Facts about Notre Dame Cathedral

Paris Tour

Paris Tourist Attraction

The Gothic-looking Notre Dame Cathedral is on most people’s must-visit places. It is the most famous cathedral in Paris and a symbol of the city. The medieval cathedral dominates the natural island Île de la Cité in the Seine River. Since it is sanctified to the Virgin Mary, Notre Dame means “Our Lady”. Visit the cathedral when on a Paris tour to admire its architectural splendor. Perhaps your tour guide or a native may tell you about any of these fun facts about the “Our Lady of Paris”.

The History of Notre Dame Traces Back to 4th Century AD

The cathedral was constructed between twelfth and fourteenth century. Although, according to archeological findings the first church was constructed on the site as early as in 4th Century AD. Therefore, the island it is home to can be considered a sacred site that makes Notre Dame’s meaning all the more profound.

The Cathedral Would Have Been Destroyed

After the riots, fire, and the tumultuous French Revolution, the state of the cathedral left a lot to be desired. It may seem startling, but the state authorities even considered to demolish it. However, the novel on Notre Dame by Victor Hugo made the French public realize the importance of the cathedral. Its reconstruction started in 1845 and lasted several years.

Gargoyles on Notre Dame Towers are Not Medieval

People climb hundreds of steps to reach the towers of the cathedral. One of the reasons for climbing the narrow stairs is to see carved beasts, which overlook the City of Lights from South Tower’s balcony. The chimeras look medieval, but are part of the 19th Century renovated elements. The famous carved figures include a creature with horns and wings, a dragon, and a demon shaped like a goat.

The Bells of the Cathedral Have Names

The bells in its towers all have names to them. The bell named “Emmanuel” was one, which survived the French Revolution. While some of the other bells were melted down in order to make cannon balls for the revolution, this one survived it and was even tolled to announce Paris’ Liberation in 1944.

The Gothic Cathedral Have Rose Windows

There is more than a rose window in the cathedral. One at the entrance is a stained glass window. The most ancient one traces back to the early 13th Century. The South window, which was completed back in the century, contains most of its actual elements even now. The windows are considered Gothic art gems.