Notre-Dame is a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture. Initially spearheaded by bishop Maurice de Sully, the cathedral’s construction spanned for more than two decades: from the beginning of the 11th century to the first half of the 14th century. The cathedral has been a firsthand witness to several historical events such as the arrival of the Holy Crown in 1239, the exoneration of Joan of Arc in 1456 and the coronation of Napoléon I in 1804.
Although the monument is known for its structural harmony when looking attentively one can make out various minor, asymmetric elements that were introduced to avoid the monotony typical of classic gothic architecture.
Its spectacular rose windows, precious objects and magnificent bells are all symbols of this architectural masterpiece. Before the huge fire that hit the cathedral on April 15. 2019, people could visit its towers allowing to access the Galerie des Chimères (Chimera Hall) before continuing to the top of the South tower where, in the company of frightening but intriguing gargoyles, the city of Paris could be seen.
With more than 20 million visitors a year, Notre-Dame used to be the most visited monument, free to the public, in both Paris and Europe. Let’s hope that its restoration will soon allow us to enjoy its beauty again.