If you are visiting Paris, you will no doubt want to visit Notre Dame. Notre Dame is a famous landmark in the city and millions flock there each year to visit. Situated in the heart of Paris, this cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop and is known as one of the finest architectural masterpieces in the world. For those who visit the famous landmark, be sure to take in the sights and tour the cathedral during the day. However, you should also make sure to pass by the area at night as the view of the cathedral when lit up for the evening is positively spectacular.
The construction of Notre Dame began in 1163 and was completed circa 1345. During its construction there were many architects involved which is evidenced by the varying styles present in the completed cathedral. In the 1790’s much of the cathedral was ruined, especially the religious imagery and façade of the building. The French Revolution was the cause of this destruction but a restoration project was undertaken in the nineteenth century to restore the cathedral to its former magnificence. Victor Hugo, with his book The Hunchback of Notre Dame, brought attention to the restoration project, inciting many Parisians to donate to the restoration cause. The organ and the bells of Notre Dame are among the famous features of the cathedral.
For those interested in architecture, Notre Dame is a splendid example. The flying buttresses are among the first ever in that style. The stained glass and religious imagery abundant in the cathedral are a sight to be seen. The Gothic style brings a feeling of old world romance and reverence. The interior of the cathedral depicts the story of the bible with its stained glass and statuettes. Art and architecture buffs alike will appreciate the beauty and romance of Notre Dame.
For those who are interested in history, Notre Dame is rich in it. Kings have been crowned in the cathedral, royal marriages have taken place and saints have been canonized. Crusaders would come to Notre Dame to reflect and pray before embarking on a holy war. Napoleon and his wife Josephine were crowned emperor and empress in Notre Dame and Pope Pius VII officiated the service. Joan of Arc was canonized by the church in 1920.
Today, Roman Catholic masses are held in the cathedral as well as concerts featuring the famous Notre Dame Gregorian choir and the 7,800 pipe organ. For those interested in a moving spiritual experience, masses in the grand cathedral are awe inspiring. There are both week day and weekend masses available. Weekday masses are held in the main alter as well as in the choir. Sunday masses are all held in the main alter. If you have the opportunity to go to a Sunday mass with the Gregorian choir, this can be a magnificent experience not soon forgotten.