In this article you will find the story of the cathedral, but also unusual information and anecdotes about the monument. First of all, you should know that the cathedral is the most visited monument in France with almost 13 million visitors a year, or about 30,000 people a day. 


The story :

Notre-Dame de Paris has undergone various transformations throughout its history and even today. It was on the "Ile de la Cité", that the bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, decided to build as of 1163, Notre-Dame de Paris, to replace the already existing Saint-Etienne Cathedral. The construction of Notre Dame partially finished 90 years later and today, it is one of the oldest Gothic Cathedrals.

The Cathedral went through various transformations with, among other things, the replacement of the 12th and 13th century stained glass windows with white windows, in the 18th century. During the French Revolution, the Cathedral was transformed into a warehouse, the spire was demolished and all the large statues on the gallery of the facade were destroyed (the kings of Judah had been confused with the kings of France). Notre-Dame was then returned to worship in 1802 by Napoleon. It was in a very bad state and it is thanks to the enormous success of  Victor-Hugo's book, titled Notre-Dame of Paris (1831), that in 1844, the king Louis-Philippe I began the restoration of the Cathedral. The architect Viollet-le-Duc was responsible for the building's work. He rebuilt the spire, set up new stained-glass windows, restored the great organ, restored the sculptures ... This is how we know the Cathedral and it will be preserved during the two world wars.

On Monday, April 15th, a terrible fire broke out in the attic of the Cathedral, taking with it the arrow and all the frame of Notre-Dame. Following a call for donations, nearly one billion euros has already been collected for its restoration.




Did you know?


  • There are bees on the roof of Notre-Dame de Paris since 2013 ! Indeed, three hives are installed on the roof of the sacristy and produce 25 kilos of honey each year by hive. The 200,000 or so bees are safe and sound after the Cathedral fire.


  • Napoleon I was the only sovereign (with Henry IV of England) who has been crowned at Notre-Dame de Paris. At his coronation, the Cathedral was dilapidated, misery was hidden behind ephemeral tapestries.
  • Paris Zero Point is visible on the square of the Cathedral, it is the beginning of all the roads of the country.
  • Viollet-le-Duc, the architect of the restoration of the Cathedral in the nineteenth century was represented in the features of the apostle St. Thomas facing the arrow as to contemplate his work. The 12 apostles had been removed for restoration a few days before the fire. They are in perfect condition. Eugène Viollet-le-Duc also represented himself in the gallery of kings.
  • Before the fire, the frame of the Cathedral was nicknamed "the forest" because each beam came from a different tree. There were no fewer than 1,300 oak trees that were slaughtered.
  • The french expression "I will not wait 107 years" came from the time that took the construction of Notre-Dame de Paris. Other specialists do not agree on the origin of the expression and think that it is rather the duration of the wars of 100 years and 7 years added.