Notre-dame de paris

Complementary examination: Notre-Dame de Paris

In-Depth Review: Notre-Dame de Paris | The Spokesperson’s Review

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By Chris Soprych, Megan Rowe, Molly Quinn The Spokesperson’s Review

Each year, 12 million tourists make their pilgrimage to Paris to discover the majesty of one of the most emblematic churches, Notre-Dame Cathedral. The church took over 180 years to build and, after its completion, stood for over 670 years. The French revolutionaries caused serious damage to the church, including the disappearance of various statues.

After serving as the setting for “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” by Victor Hugo, considered a canon in French literature, interest aroused to restore the church to its former glory. The most recent restoration may have been the cause of the fire of April 15, 2019, which threatens its existence.

Notre Dame Cathedral illustration

Notre Dame Artifacts

Crown of thorns

Crown of thorns

Apparently saved from Monday’s fire, it is considered one of the most precious relics of the Catholic Church. The crown of thorns is believed to date back to Jesus’ crucifixion, when it was used to mock him as “King of the Jews”. The relic has changed hands several times: originally the crown was transferred from Jerusalem to Constantinople in 1063, and King Louis IX brought it to its final resting place in Paris in 1238.

A piece of the True Cross

A piece of the true cross

The church housed wood that was said to have been part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

Statue of the Apostle Thomas


Due to the construction of the cathedral’s roof, many religious statues were dismantled a week before the fire, spared the disaster.

queen of heaven

queen of heaven

On the west facade of the church, carvings from the 1200s known as the “Queen of Heaven” depict the prophecies of the role, death and ascension into Heaven of the Virgin Mary


The bells

Installed in the south tower, the bells of the cathedral weigh a total of 13 tons and each bears its own name. The bells were recast in the 17th century and again in the 21st



French architect Viollet-le-Duc and sculptor Victor Pyanet created the church’s grotesque gargoyles, meant to express facets of human nature.

flying buttresses

Illustration of flying buttresses

Notre-Dame was able to reach greater heights as one of the first Gothic buildings to use flying buttresses, bracings that carried some of the weight of the roof and walls.




1163Pope Alexander witnessed the laying of the cathedral’s foundation stone.


King Saint-Louis donated the south rose window, one of the church’s three rose windows.

1240-1345The builders finish the cathedral with the integration of several Gothic elements.

1401“The great organ”, one of the largest of its kind in the world, is placed at Notre-Dame.

1789The statues of Saint Juda are removed by the French revolutionaries, who cause serious damage to the church.

1831The book “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” by Victor Hugo inspires an initiative to repair and restore Notre-Dame.

2019A massive fire swept across the top of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as it was being renovated, collapsing its spire and threatening one of the world’s greatest architectural treasures.

Sources: National Geographic, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Washington Post, Associated Press, Shutterstock, Wikimedia Commons

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