Cathedral |Historical facts on notre dame french church

The Crown of Thorns that was put on the head of Jesus is kept in the cathedral as one of the most religious artifacts.


The Notre Dame (“Our Lady of Paris” in French) Cathedral is the most popular monument in Paris, it is the world-famous cathedral church and this church is better by far even than the Eiffel Tower. The church attracts about 13 million visitors, worshippers and tourists in a year which means this is an average of 30,000 people every day, growing to around 50,000 pilgrims. The South tower is The home to Notre Dame’s largest bell is the south tower, it weighs 13 tons (28,000 pounds) and it is also known as the Emmanuel Bell. A Notre-dame church is also the home of one of the world’s largest organs.


Notre Dame is 130 meters long, 48 meters wide and 35 meters high. It has rose windows which have a diameter of 10 meters. The cathedral’s pillars have a diameter of 5 meters. The Notre Dame’s church was started in the year 1163 and the construction continued for another 200 years till the year 1345. It is located in Paris, France on the Ile de la Cite which means the very heart of the city, many different designers and architects introduced new elements and different designs including the church’s innovative flying buttresses.



Notre Dame is one of the largest religious buildings in the whole world. It was designed in the Gothic fashion, the towers are very high as 69 meters and it has 387 steps for climbing from the top to the ground floor. Notre Dame is built of stone and an estimation of one thousand three hundred trees was also used in the church’s construction and the Notre Dame is sometimes known as ‘The Forest’, the roof is also made from over 1326 tiles that are 5mm thick each and it weighs 210,000kg.

Access to the cathedral is open and free of charge every day of the year, only during the opening hours.The towers can be visited on April 1st to September 30th, 10:00 in the morning to 6:30 in the evening, also June to August, on Saturday and on Sunday, 10 am to 11 pm, October 1st to March 31st, 10 am to 5.30pm. The last access is 45 mins before the closure of this church. It usually closed on January 1st, in May 1st and December 25th.Very early in the morning, between Tuesday and Friday is the best time to visit the Notre Dame.


  • Between the year 1845 and year 1870, a first attempt at restoring the cathedral took place. A better part of the former century’s damage that was done to the church was repaired, and new additions were also built. Very recently, a new restoration program was started in 1991 and has been on for 20 years with focusing on cleaning up and preserving the facades and sculptures instead of adding any other additional features. In the 16th century, both the Huguenots and the French king vandalized and changed a lot of the cathedral’s contents. Some of the features on the exterior of the church were removed because they were considered to be idolatrous, also, tombs and stained glass windows were destroyed in the name of modernization.

  • The church was also converted into a storage warehouse for food, it indeed housed many wine barrels of the troops of the Revolutionary Army, this shows how the situation was very difficult and threatening for this church during the French Revolution, and the heads of many of Notre Dame’s statues were also removed. Notre-Dame Cathedral has been through hard times in the 18 century, and there was even suggested to make it collapse. However, Napoléon Bonaparte decided to make it the place of its December 2nd, 1804 Coronation, and he planned big renovation works.
  • After then, in 1831, the publication of Victor Hugo historical novel named The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written to increase appreciation for the building and its success bloomed and provoked a massive awareness of the value of Notre Dame church in people’s heart, so that they can gather and come to the aid of the church. In front of the Cathedral, on Notre-Dame forecourt, there is a round stone anchored in the paves, in which “ Zero Point of France roads” is written. This means that this point is used to calculate distances with or from the other French cities so that people can think maybe all roads don’t lead to Rome, but to the Notre-Dame church it does!Notre Dame’s roof is now full of bees. The purpose of the bee is not to scare you, but to help preserve their species and to honor the benefits they provide to the Earth. The cathedral was said to belong to the French government, because of a law that was dated from the year 1905. It was also said that the government gave the Church permission to use the building.


There have been 50 permanent organists so far in the Notre Dame Cathedrals. Guest organists from all over the world are allowed to play recitals o serious a Sunday afternoon before the Vespers service. And one of the first organists was Arnoul Greban and he was also the famous author of “Vrai Mystere de la Passion”  who started playing at the Notre Dame church in the year 1450. But Louis Vierne is probably the most famous organist who was formerly playing at the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris, that was before he was chosen to start playing on the Great Organ from the year 1900, and he was the first tenured organist at Notre Dame church to provide true recitals. Louis Vierne continued as the main organist until his death in June 1937, and he actually died at the Great Organ from a massive heart attack whilst performing his 1,750th concert, which was his long-term wish.The work was later initiated by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc and was conducted by the famous organ builder named Aristide Cavaille-Collin 1868, the organ became a full symphonic organ with 86 stops on 5 keyboards and a pedal board. In the 1990s, this musical instrument of Notre Dame has 56 notes, a 32 note pedal board, 111 registers, the 5 keyboards, 109 ties and 1,840 pipes, and it was restored to regain the symphonic sounds created by  Aristide Cavaille-Coll.