"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" Notre Dame de Paris Tip by jexelot
Notre Dame de Paris, Paris: 65 reviews and 75 photos
Favorite thing: Proceeded by a Gallo-Roman temple to Jupiter, a Christian basilica, and a Romanesque church, construction of Notre-Dame de Paris began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII. Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone. The idea to replace the Romanesque church occupying the site - the Cathedral of St. Etienne (founded by Childebert in 528) - was that of Bishop Maurice de Sully (who died in 1196). (Some accounts claim that there were two churches existing on the site, one to the Virgin Mary, the other to St. Stephen.) Construction was completed roughly 200 years later in about 1345.
The reigns of Louis XIV (end of the 17th century) and Louis XV saw significant alterations including the destruction of tombs, and stained glass. At the end of the 18th century, during the Revolution, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. Only the great bells avoided being melted down, and the Cathedral was dedicated first to the cult of Reason, and to the cult of the Supreme being. The church interior was used as a warehouse for the storage of forage and food.
After falling into disrepair, a restoration program overseen by Lassus (died 1857) and Viollet-le-Duc, was carried out in 1845. This program lasted 23 years, and included the construction of the spire (see image) and the sacristy.
During the Commune of 1871, the Cathedral was nearly burned by the Communards - and some accounts suggest that indeed a huge mound of chairs was set on fire in its interior. Whatever happened, the Notre Dame survived the Commune essentially unscathed.
Now in 1991, a 10 year program of general maintenance and restoration has begun, and sections of the structure are likely to be shrouded in scaffolds for the foreseeable future.
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