|Notre-Dame de Paris|
|Our Lady of Paris|
|Location||Parvis Notre-Dame - place Jean-Paul-II, Paris, France|
|Length||128 metres (420 ft)|
|Width||48 metres (157 ft)|
|Number of towers||2|
|Tower height||69 metres (226 ft)|
|Number of spires||1|
|Spire height||90 metres (300 ft)|
|Director of music||Sylvain Dieudonné|
|Official name: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris|
Notre-Dame de Paris (French: [n?t dam d? pa?i]; meaning "Our Lady of Paris"), also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. The innovative use of the rib vault and flying buttress, the enormous and colorful rose windows, and the naturalism and abundance of its sculptural decoration all set it apart from earlier Romanesque architecture.
The cathedral was begun in 1160 and largely completed by 1260, though it was modified frequently in the following centuries. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration during the French Revolution when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. Soon after the publication of Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1831, popular interest in the building revived. A major restoration project supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc began in 1845 and continued for twenty-five years. Beginning in 1963, the facade of the Cathedral was cleaned of centuries of soot and grime, returning it to its original color. Another campaign of cleaning and restoration was carried out from 1991-2000.
As the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris, Notre-Dame contains the cathedra of the Archbishop of Paris, currently Michel Aupetit. 12 million people visit Notre-Dame yearly, which makes it the most visited monument in Paris.
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris was built on a site which in Roman Lutetia is believed to have been occupied by a pagan temple, and then by a Romanesque church, the Basilica of Saint Étienne, built between the 4th century and 7th century. The basilica was about forty meters west of the current cathedral, and was wider and lower, and roughly half its size.
King Louis VII of France (reigned 1137-1180) wanted to build monuments to show that Paris was the political, economic, and cultural capital of France. In this context, Maurice de Sully, who had been elevated Bishop in 1160, had the old basilica torn down to its foundations, and began to build a larger and taller cathedral.
The cornerstone was laid in 1163 in the presence of Pope Alexander III. The design followed the traditional plan, with the ambulatory and choir, where the altar was located, to the east, and the entrance, facing the setting sun, to the west. By long tradition, the choir, where the altar was located, was constructed first, so that the church could be consecrated and used long before it was completed. The original plan was for a long nave, four levels high, with no transept. The flying buttress was not yet in use, so the walls were thick and reinforced by solid stone abutments placed against them on the outside, and later by chapels placed between the abutments.
The roof of the nave was constructed with a new technology, the rib vault, which had earlier been used in the Basilica of Saint Denis. The roof of the nave was supported by crossed ribs which divided each vault into six compartments. The pointed arches were stronger than the earlier Romanesque arches, and carried the weight of the roof outwards and downwards to rows of pillars, and out to the abutments against the walls. Construction of the choir took from 1163 until around 1177. The High Altar was consecrated in 1182. Between 1182 and 1190 the first three traverses of the nave were built up to the level of tribunes. Beginning in 1190, the bases of the facade were put in place, and the first traverses were completed.
The decision was made to add a transept at the choir, where the altar was located, in order to bring more light into the center of the church. The use of simpler four-part rather than six-part rib vaults meant that the roofs were stronger and could be higher. After Bishop Maurice de Sully's death in 1196, his successor, Eudes de Sully (unrelated to the previous Bishop) oversaw the completion of the transepts, and continued work on the nave, which was nearing completion at the time of his own death in 1208. By this time, the western facade was already largely built, though it was not completed until around the mid-1240s. Between 1225 and 1250 the upper gallery of the nave was constructed, along with the two towers on the west facade.
Another significant change came in the mid 13th century, when the transepts were remodeled in the latest Rayonnant style; in the late 1240s Jean de Chelles added a gabled portal to the north transept topped off by a spectacular rose window. Shortly afterwards (from 1258) Pierre de Montreuil executed a similar scheme on the southern transept. Both these transept portals were richly embellished with sculpture; the south portal features scenes from the lives of St Stephen and of various local saints, while the north portal featured the infancy of Christ and the story of Theophilus in the tympanum, with a highly influential statue of the Virgin and Child in the trumeau.
An important innovation in the 13th century was the introduction of the flying buttress. Before the buttresses, all of the weight of the roof pressed outward and down to the walls, and the abutments supporting them. With the flying buttress, the weight was carried by the ribs of the vault entirely outside the structure to a series of counter-supports, which were topped with stone pinnacles which gave them greater weight. The buttresses meant that the walls could be higher and thinner, and could have much larger windows. The date of the first buttresses is not known with any precision; they were installed some time in the 13th century. The first buttresses were replaced by larger and stronger ones in the 14th century; these had a reach of fifteen meters between the walls and counter-supports.
Early six-part rib vaults of the nave. The ribs transferred the thrust of the weight of the roof downward and outwards to the pillars and the supporting buttresses.
In 1548, rioting Huguenots damaged some of the statues of Notre-Dame, considering them idolatrous. During the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV, the cathedral underwent numerous alterations to comply with the more classical style of the period. The sanctuary was re-arranged; the choir was largely rebuilt in marble, and many of the stained glass windows from the 12th and 13th century were removed and replaced with white glass windows, to bring more light into the church. A colossal statue of St Christopher, standing against a pillar near the western entrance and dating from 1413, was destroyed in 1786. The spire, which had been damaged by the wind, was removed in the second part of the 18th century.
In 1793, during the French Revolution, the cathedral was rededicated to the Cult of Reason, and then to the Cult of the Supreme Being. During this time, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. The twenty-eight statues of biblical kings located at the west facade, mistaken for statues of French kings, were beheaded. Many of the heads were found during a 1977 excavation nearby, and are on display at the Musée de Cluny. For a time the Goddess of Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars. The cathedral's great bells escaped being melted down. All of the other large statues on the facade, with the exception of the statue of the Virgin Mary on the portal of the cloister, were destroyed. The cathedral came to be used as a warehouse for the storage of food and other non-religious purposes.
In July 1801, the new ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte, signed an agreement to restore the cathedral to the Church. It was formally transferred on April 18, 1802. It was the setting of Napoleon's coronation as Emperor on December 2, 1804, and of his marriage to Marie-Louise of Austria in 1810.
The cathedral was functioning in the early 19th century, but was half-ruined inside and battered without. In 1831, the novel Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo, published in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame had an enormous success, and brought the cathedral new attention. In 1844 King Louis Philippe ordered that the church be restored. The commission for the restoration was won by two architects, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who was then just 31 years old. They supervised a large team of sculptors, glass makers and other craftsmen who remade, working from drawings or engravings, the original decoration, or, if they did not have a model, adding new elements they felt were in the spirit of the original style. They made a taller and more ornate reconstruction of the original spire (including a statue of Saint Thomas that resembles Viollet-le-Duc), as well as adding the sculpture of mythical creatures on the Galerie des Chimères. The restoration lasted twenty five years.
During the liberation of Paris in August 1944, the cathedral suffered some minor damage from stray bullets. Some of the medieval glass was damaged, and was replaced by glass with modern abstract designs. On August 26, a special mass was held in the cathedral to celebrate the liberation of Paris from the Germans; it was attended by General Charles De Gaulle and General Philippe Leclerc.
In 1963, on the initiative of culture minister André Malraux and to mark the 800th anniversary of the Cathedral, the facade was cleaned of the centuries of soot and grime, restoring it to its original off-white color.
Stones damaged by air pollution were replaced, and a discreet system of electrical wires, not visible from below, was installed on the roof to deter pigeons. Another major cleaning and restoration program was commenced in 1991.
Statue of Thomas the Apostle, with the features of restorer Viollet-le-Duc, at the base of the spire
The two towers are sixty-nine meters high, and were the tallest structures in Paris until the completion of the Eiffel Tower in 1889. The towers were the last major element of the Cathedral to be constructed. The south tower was built first, between 1220 and 1240, and the north tower between 1235 and 1250. The newer north tower is slightly larger, as can be seen when they viewed from directly in front of the church. The contrefort or buttress of the north tower is also larger.
The north tower is accessible to visitors by a stairway, whose entrance is on the north side of the tower. The stairway has 387 steps, and has a stop at the Gothic hall at the level of the rose window, where visitors can look over the parvis and see a collection of paintings and sculpture from earlier periods of the Cathedral's history.
The ten bells of the Cathedral are located in the south tower. (see Bells below)
A water reservoir, covered with a lead roof, is located between the two towers, behind the colonnade and the gallery and in front of the nave and the pignon. It can be used to quickly extinguish a fire.
The Flèche or Spire of the Cathedral is located over the transept and altar. The original spire was constructed in the 13th century, probably between 1220 and 1230. It was battered, weakened and bent by the wind over five centuries, and finally was removed in 1786. During the 19th century restoration, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc decided to recreate it, making a new version of oak covered with lead. The entire spire weights 750 tons. Following Viollet-le-Duc's plans, the spire is surrounded by copper statues of the twelve Apostles, in four groups of three, one group at each point of the compass. Each of the four groups is preceded by an animal symbolizing one of the four evangelists; a steer for Saint Luke; a Lion for Saint Mark, an Eagle for Saint John; and angel for Saint Matthew. All of the statues are looking at Paris, except one; the statue of Saint Thomas, the patron saint of architects, is looking at the spire, and has the features of Viollet-le-Duc.
The rooster at the summit of the spire contains three relics; a tiny piece of the Crown of Thorns, located in the treasury of the Cathedral; and relics of Denis and Saint Genevieve, patron saints of Paris. They were placed there in 1935 by the Archibishop Verdier, to protect the congregation from lightning or other harm.
Illustration of the Last Judgement, central portal of west facade
The martyr Saint Denis, holding his head, over the Portal of the Virgin
The serpent tempts Adam and Eve; part of the Last Judgement on the central portal of west facade
Archangel Gabriel and Satan weighing souls during the Last Judgement (central portal, west facade)
A stryge on west facade
Gargoyles were the rainspouts of the Cathedral
Chimera on the facade
Allegory of alchemy, central portal
The Gothic cathedral was a liber pauperum, a "poor people's book", covered with sculpture vividly illustrating biblical stories, for the vast majority of parishioners who were illiterate. To add to the effect, all of the sculpture on the facades was originally painted and gilded. The tympanum over the central portal on the west facade, facing the square, vividly illustrates the Last Judgement, with figures of sinners being led off to hell, and good Christians taken to heaven. The sculpture of the right portal shows the coronation of the Virgin Mary, and the left portal shows the lives of saints who were important to Parisians, particularly Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary.
The exteriors of cathedrals and other Gothic churches were also decorated with sculptures of a variety of fabulous and frightening grotesques or monsters. These included the gargoyle, the chimera, a mythical hybrid creature which usually had the body of a lion and the head of a goat, and the Strix or stryge, a creature resembling an owl or bat, which was said to eat human flesh. The strix appeared in classical Roman literature; it was described by the Roman poet Ovid, who was widely read in the Middle Ages, as a large-headed bird with transfixed eyes, rapacious beak, and greyish white wings. They were part of the visual message for the illiterate worshipers, symbols of the evil and danger that threatened those who did not follow the teachings of the church.
The gargoyles, which were added in about 1240, had a more practical purpose. They were the rain spouts of the cathedral, designed to divide the torrent of water which poured from the roof after rain, and to project it outwards as far as possible from the buttresses and the walls and windows where it might erode the mortar binding the stone. To produce many thin streams rather than a torrent of water, a large number of gargoyles were used, so they were also designed to be a decorative element of the architecture. The rainwater ran from the roof into lead gutters, then down channels on the flying buttresses, then along a channel cut in the back of the gargoyle and out of the mouth away from the cathedral.
Amid all the religious figures, some of the sculptural decoration was devoted to illustrating medieval science and philosophy. The central portal of the west facade is decorated with carved figures holding circular plaques with symbols of transformation taken from alchemy. The central pillar of the central door of Notre-Dame features a statue of a woman on a throne holding a scepter in her left hand, and in her right hand, two books, one open (symbol of public knowledge), and the other closed (esoteric knowledge), along with a ladder with seven steps, symbolizing the seven steps alchemists followed in their scientific quest of trying to transform ordinary metals into gold.
Many of the statues, particularly the grotesques, were removed from facade in the 17th and 18th century, or were destroyed during the French Revolution. They were replaced with figures in the Gothic style, designed by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, during the 19th century restoration.
The stained glass windows of Notre-Dame, particularly the three rose windows, are among the most famous features of the cathedral. The west rose window, over the portals, was the first and smallest of the roses in Notre-Dame. It is 9.6 meters in diameter, and was made in about 1225, with the pieces of glass set in a thick circular stone frame. None of the original glass remains in this window; it was recreated in the 19th century.
The two transept windows are larger and contain a greater proportion of glass than the rose on the west facade, because the new system of buttresses made the nave walls thinner and stronger. The north rose was created in about 1250, and the south rose in about 1260. The south rose in the transept is particularly notable for its size and artistry. It is 12.9 meters in diameter; with the claire-voie surrounding it, a total of 19 meters. It was given to the Cathedral by King Louis IX of France, known as Saint Louis.
The south rose has 94 medallions, arranged in four circles, depicting scenes from the life of Christ and those who witnessed his time on earth. The inner circle has twelve medallions showing the twelve apostles. (During later restorations, some of these original medallions were moved to circles farther out). The next two circles depict celebrated martyrs and virgins. The fourth circle shows twenty angels, as well as saints important to Paris, notably Saint Denis, Margaret the Virgin with a dragon, and Saint Eustace. The third and fourth circles also have some depictions of Old Testament subjects. The third circle has some medallions with scenes from the New Testament Gospel of Matthew which date from the last quarter of the 12th century. These are the oldest glass in the window.
Additional scenes in the corners around the rose window include Jesus' Descent into Hell, Adam and Eve, the Resurrection of Christ. Saint Peter and Saint Paul are at the bottom of the window, and Mary Magdalene and John the Apostle at the top.
Above the rose is a window depicting Christ triumphant seated in the sky, surrounded by his Apostles. Below are sixteen windows with painted images of Prophets. These were not part of the original window; they were painted during the restoration in the 19th century by Alfred Gérenthe, under the direction of Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, based upon a similar window at Chartres Cathedral.
The south rose had a difficult history. In 1543 it was damaged by the settling of the masonry walls, and not restored until 1725-1727. It was seriously damaged in the French Revolution of 1830. Rioters burned the residence of the archbishop, next to the cathedral, and many of the panes were destroyed. The window was entirely rebuilt by Viollet-le-Duc in 1861. He rotated the window by fifteen degrees to give it a clear vertical and horizontal axis, and replaced the destroyed pieces of glass with new glass in the same style. The window today contains both medieval and 19th century glass.
In the 1960s, after three decades of debate, it was decided to replace many of the 19th-century grisaille windows in the nave designed by Viollet-le-Duc with new windows. The new windows, made by Jacques Le Chevallier, are without human figures and use abstract grisaille designs and color to try to recreate the luminosity in the Cathedral in the 13th century.
The Archaeological Crypt (Crypte archéologique de l'île de la Cité) was created in 1965 to protect a range of historical ruins, discovered during construction work and spanning from the earliest settlement in Paris to the modern day. The crypt is managed by the Musée Carnavalet, and contains a large exhibit, detailed models of the architecture of different time periods, and how they can be viewed within the ruins. The main feature still visible is the under-floor heating installed during the Roman occupation.
John of Jandun recognized the cathedral as one of Paris's three most important buildings [prominent structures] in his 1323 Treatise on the Praises of Paris:
|"||That most glorious church of the most glorious Virgin Mary, mother of God, deservedly shines out, like the sun among stars. And although some speakers, by their own free judgment, because [they are] able to see only a few things easily, may say that some other is more beautiful, I believe however, respectfully, that, if they attend more diligently to the whole and the parts, they will quickly retract this opinion. Where indeed, I ask, would they find two towers of such magnificence and perfection, so high, so large, so strong, clothed round about with such a multiple variety of ornaments? Where, I ask, would they find such a multipartite arrangement of so many lateral vaults, above and below? Where, I ask, would they find such light-filled amenities as the many surrounding chapels? Furthermore, let them tell me in what church I may see such a large cross, of which one arm separates the choir from the nave. Finally, I would willingly learn where [there are] two such circles, situated opposite each other in a straight line, which on account of their appearance are given the name of the fourth vowel [O] ; among which smaller orbs and circlets, with wondrous artifice, so that some arranged circularly, others angularly, surround windows ruddy with precious colors and beautiful with the most subtle figures of the pictures. In fact I believe that this church offers the carefully discerning such cause for admiration that its inspection can scarcely sate the soul.||"|
|-- Jean de Jandun, Tractatus de laudibus Parisius|
One of the earliest organs at Notre-Dame, built in 1403 by Friedrich Schambantz, was replaced between 1730 and 1738 by François Thierry. During the restoration of the cathedral by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll built a new organ, using pipe work from the former instruments. The organ was dedicated in 1868. In 1904, Charles Mutin modified and added several stops; in 1924, an electric blower was installed. An extensive restoration and cleaning was carried out by Joseph Beuchet in 1932. Between 1959 and 1963, the mechanical action with barker machines was replaced by an electric action by Jean Hermann, and a new organ console was installed. During the following years, the stoplist was gradually modified by Robert Boisseau (who added three chamade stops 8', 4', and 2'/16' in 1968) and Jean-Loup Boisseau after 1975, respectively. In fall 1983, the electric combination system was disconnected due to short-circuit risk. Between 1990 and 1992, Jean-Loup Boisseau, Bertrand Cattiaux, Philippe Émeriau, Michel Giroud, and the Société Synaptel revised and augmented the instrument throughout. A new console was installed, using the stop knobs, pedal and manual keyboards, foot pistons and balance pedals from the Jean Hermann console. Between 2012 and 2014, Bertrand Cattiaux and Pascal Quoirin restored, cleaned, and modified the organ. The stop and key action was upgraded, a new console was built, (again using the stop keys, pedal board, foot pistons and balance pedals of the 1992 console), a new enclosed division ("Résonnance expressive", using pipework from the former "Petite Pédale" by Boisseau, which can now be used as a floating division), the organ case and the facade pipes were restored, and a general tuning was carried out. The current organ has 115 stops (156 ranks) on five manuals and pedal, and more than 8,000 pipes.
Violon Basse 16
Chamade REC 8
Basse Chamade GO 8
Chamade GO 8
Chamade GO 8
Couplers: II/I, III/I, IV/I, V/I; III/II, IV/II, V/II; IV/III, V/III; V/IV, Octave grave général, inversion Positif/Grand-orgue, Tirasses (Grand-orgue, Positif, Récit, Solo, Grand-Choeur en 8; Grand-Orgue en 4, Positif en 4, Récit en 4, Solo en 4, Grand-Choeur en 4), Sub- und Super octave couplers and Unison Off for all manuals (Octaves graves, octaves aiguës, annulation 8'). Octaves aiguës Pédalier. Additional features: Coupure Pédalier. Coupure Chamade. Appel Résonnance. Sostenuto for all manuals and the pedal. Cancel buttons for each division. 50,000 combinations (5,000 groups each). Replay system.
The position of titular organist ("head" or "chief" organist; French: titulaires des grands orgues) at Notre-Dame is considered one of the most prestigious organist posts in France, along with the post of titular organist of Saint Sulpice in Paris, Cavaillé-Coll's largest instrument.
Not to be confused with the Disney song.
The cathedral has 10 bells. The largest, Emmanuel, original to 1681, is located in the south tower and weighs just over 13 tons and is tolled to mark the hours of the day and for various occasions and services. This bell is always rung first, at least 5 seconds before the rest. Until recently, there were four additional 19th-century bells on wheels in the north tower, which were swing chimed. These bells were meant to replace nine which were removed from the cathedral during the Revolution and were rung for various services and festivals. The bells were once rung by hand before electric motors allowed them to be rung without manual labor. When it was discovered that the size of the bells could cause the entire building to vibrate, threatening its structural integrity, they were taken out of use. The bells also had external hammers for tune playing from a small clavier.
On the night of 24 August 1944 as the Île de la Cité was taken by an advance column of French and Allied armoured troops and elements of the Resistance, it was the tolling of the Emmanuel that announced to the city that its liberation was under way.
In early 2012, as part of a EUR2 million project, the four old bells in the north tower were deemed unsatisfactory and removed. The plan originally was to melt them down and recast new bells from the material. However, a legal challenge resulted in the bells being saved in extremis at the foundry. As of early 2013, they are still merely set aside until their fate is decided. A set of 8 new bells was cast by the same foundry, Cornille-Havard, in Normandy that had cast the four in 1856. At the same time, a much larger bell called Marie was cast in Asten, Netherlands by Royal Eijsbouts -- it now hangs with Emmanuel in the south tower. The 9 new bells, which were delivered to the cathedral at the same time (31 January 2013), are designed to replicate the quality and tone of the cathedral's original bells.
|Emmanuel||13271 kg||261 cm||F♯2|
|Marie||6023 kg||206.5 cm||G♯2|
|Gabriel||4162 kg||182.8 cm||A♯2|
|Anne Geneviève||3477 kg||172.5 cm||B2|
|Denis||2502 kg||153.6 cm||C♯3|
|Marcel||1925 kg||139.3 cm||D♯3|
|Étienne||1494 kg||126.7 cm||E♯3|
|Benoît-Joseph||1309 kg||120.7 cm||F♯3|
|Maurice||1011 kg||109.7 cm||G♯3|
|Jean-Marie||782 kg||99.7 cm||A♯3|
Under a 1905 law, Notre-Dame de Paris is among seventy churches in Paris built before that year that are owned by the French State. While the building itself is owned by the state, the Catholic Church is the designated beneficiary, having the exclusive right to use it for religious purpose in perpetuity. The archdiocese is responsible for paying the employees, security, heating and cleaning, and assuring that the cathedral is open free to visitors. The archdiocese does not receive subsidies from the French State.
A Te Deum in the Choir of the Church in 1669, in reign of Louis XIV. The choir was redesigned make room for more lavish ceremonies
The cathedral is renowned for its Lent sermons founded by the famous Dominican Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire in the 1860s. In recent years, however, an increasing number have been given by leading public figures and state employed academics.
A view of Notre-Dame from Montparnasse Tower
Tympanum of the Last Judgment
Statue of Joan of Arc in Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral interior