Notre-Dame de Paris

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (meaning “Our Lady of Paris”) is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité. The cathedral’s construction began in 1163 under Bishop Maurice de Sully and was largely complete by 1260, though it was modified frequently in the following centuries.

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Basic information

The cathedral was consecrated to the Virgin Mary and considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Its pioneering use of the rib vault and flying buttress, its enormous and colourful rose windows, as well as the naturalism and abundance of its sculptural decoration set it apart from the earlier Romanesque style.

After the French Revolution in 1789, Notre-Dame and the rest of the church’s property in France was seized and made public property. The cathedral was rededicated in 1793 to the Cult of Reason, and then to the Cult of the Supreme Being in 1794. 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 façade, mistaken for statues of French kings, were beheaded.

Popular interest in the cathedral blossomed soon after the 1831 publication of Victor Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris (better known in English as *The Hunchback of Notre-Dame).

This led to a major restoration project between 1844 and 1864, supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The Allied liberation of Paris in 1944 was celebrated within Notre-Dame with the singing of the Magnificat. Beginning in 1963, the cathedral’s façade was cleaned of centuries of soot and grime. Another cleaning and restoration project was carried out between 1991 and 2000.

While undergoing renovation and restoration, the roof of Notre-Dame caught fire on the evening of 15 April 2019. Burning for around 15 hours, the cathedral sustained serious damage, including the destruction of the flèche (the timber spirelet over the crossing) and most of the lead-covered wooden roof above the stone vaulted ceiling.

Stabilizing the structure against possible collapse was completed in November 2020, with reconstruction beginning in 2021. The government of France hopes the reconstruction can be completed by Spring 2024, in time for the opening of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

+ More info: WikipediaWikivoyageUNESCO

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Transport around Paris

sobus.travel — sells bus tickets for all the bus companies.

The Noctilien (Map of Noctilien) is a night bus service that operates in Paris and the Paris region from 12.30am to 5.30am. OuibusIsilinesFlixBusEurolinesMegabus >> (*Intercity buses in France)

Trains are a great way to get around in France. For regional trains, schedules can be found at ter.sncf.com. You can get from pretty much anywhere to anywhere else by train.

For long distances, use the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse, or High-speed train) on which reservations are obligatory. TGVThelloOuigo. + RailEurope • EurostarThalysizy (Paris-Brussels) • TGV Lyria (Switzerland) • DB (Germany) • RENFE (Barcelona) >> *Rail travel in France

Several weekends throughout the year in France are known as ‘Black Saturday’ (Samedi noir) because of the start or end of school holidays and the coinciding traffic jams on French roads caused by thousands of tourists travelling to and from their holiday destinations. When possible it is wise to avoid these days. For traffic reports, see the website of the French traffic service.

⇒ Driving in France (wikivoyage)

aeroport.fr – list of airports in France. / parisaeroport.fr – Paris airport information.

Brittany FerriesP&O FerriesDFDS Seaways

England ⇔ France:

  • P&O Ferries – operate freight and passenger services from Dover to Calais.
  • DFDS Seaways – operate freight and passenger services from Dover to Dunkirk.
  • LD Lines – operate freight and passenger services from Portsmouth to Le Havre.
  • Brittany Ferries – operate freight and passenger services from Portsmouth to Caen, Cherbourg, andSt Malo, from Poole to Cherbourg and from Plymouth to Roscoff.
  • Condor Ferries – operate freight and passenger services from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, Poole to St Malo and Weymouth to St Malo.

Ireland ⇔ France:

  • Brittany Ferries – operate ferry services from Cork to Roscoff.
  • Celtic Link Ferries – operate ferry services from Rosslare to Cherbourg.
  • Irish Ferries – operate ferry services from Rosslare to Cherbourg and from Rosslare to Roscoff.

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