1. Welcome, lone traveler from Ashburn!
It was the Bishop Maurice de Sully who began the construction of the cathedral in 1163. His works, directed in the 12C by Jean de Chelles and Pierre de Montreuil were completed around 1300. This was the last of the great churches with tribunes and the first with flying buttresses. Another innovation: the gargoyles ejecting rainwater far from the foundations.
The scene of important ceremonies, it was mutilated over the centuries, and not only by the Revolutionaries of 1789! Although criticised the restoration by Viollet-le-Duc has enabled the under-maintained sanctuary to recover all its lustre.
2. Main article
The balanced façade is majestic. The tympanum of the door of Our Lady served as a model for the artists of the Middle Ages. Mutilated by Soufflot, that of the Last Judgement was corrected by Viollet-le-Duc. Further up, the 28 kings of Judah and Israel were replaced after 1793.
The towers rise to a height of 200 feet. The right hand one provides those courageous souls who climb it with a splendid view of the spire, the flying buttresses and a nation of chimeras.
The interior is striking in its daring and audacity. The wonderful stained glass windows of the transept are exceptionally large and light; the northern rose has remained almost intact since the 13C. You can see numerous chapels, funerary monuments in the ambulatory, bas-reliefs in the cloister of the choir (restored by Viollet-le-Duc) and, no doubt, far too many people to be able to really appreciate the cathedral (and as for a moment's quiet meditation, don't even think about it!).
Place du Parvis-Notre-Dame
Quadrupling the space available, Haussmann refurbished the square, always filled with a multilingual crowd, with a breathtaking view of the façade of Notre-Dame de Paris. In the Middle Ages, the famous mystery plays were enacted there: the Miracle of Théophile was performed there, written by the troubadour Rutebeuf (around 1260) and in 1452, the Vray mistère de la Passion, by Arnoul Gréban: the performance lasted four days!
Next: Paris Pigalle