Fascinating history & facts about the Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

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Visiting Paris? Don’t miss Notre Dame de Cathedral while in Paris. Read more to know more about the fascinating history and facts of the Notre Dame Cathedral. 

Paris is not only a choice for romantic vacations but also a utopia for history buffs like me 🙂 Considering my first visit (definitely not last!) to the City of Lights, I wanted to cover all the top attractions and leave out a few that will make me come back again 😀

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Did you Know? You can go up to the Top of the Notre Dame Cathedral Paris using 387 steps!

After spending a few days in Paris, anyone would love to ride the metro/subway or maybe walk wherever possible. To visit the world-famous cathedral I walked over 2 km exploring every nook and corner and peeking into the little souvenir shops in the narrow lanes. Finally, when I caught the glimpse of the church from across the river Seine I was awestruck by the French Gothic architecture which took over 200 years to build.

Related Read – Things to know before visiting Paris, France!



Notre Dame Cathedral Architecture

The Notre Dame Cathedral stands tall at 130 meters and is almost 50 meters wide with windows as wide as 10 meters. Notre Dame de Paris is actually a French name for ‘Our Lady of Paris‘. The towers present amazing views of the city. It is always recommended to check the timings because I got there post 5:30 PM and it was closed by then. The famous twin towers in the front stand high at 69 meters. 

Related – See these Postcard Pictures from Paris.


Have you read the interesting Facts about Louvre Museum?

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Interesting Facts about the Notre Dame Cathedral

The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the tops visited places in Paris. It is overwhelming to see such a massive structure with a fascinating history. I prepared myself with the facts about the Notre Dame Cathedral when I planned to visit which I present today –

Facts about the Notre Dame Cathedral: The Beginning

Notre Dame was among the first building to use Flying Buttress – It was not intended initially, but as the construction started and when the thinner walls grew higher the structure wasn’t considered stable then the architects suggested using the pattern.


Facts about the Notre Dame Cathedral: Architecture

To date, the cathedral remains the finest example of French-Gothic architecture and at the same time, it is also one of the largest church buildings in the world.


Facts about the Notre Dame Cathedral: French Revolution History

During the French Revolution, the Notre Dame Cathedral Paris suffered severe desecration and many of its religious structures got destroyed. Towards the middle of the 18th century, Eugene Viollet-le-Duc commenced extensive restoration for the same. 


Facts about the Notre Dame Cathedral: Construction

The Notre Dame Cathedral’s construction was originally started in 1160 by Bishop Maurice de Sully and post his death different architects worked on the structure which justifies the difference in the heights of western towers.


Facts about the Notre Dame Cathedral: Time to Build

Although the Notre Dame Cathedral took almost 200 years to be built completely, one of the major changes came in the 13th century when the North Rose window was based on the Rayonnant style.


Facts about the Notre Dame Cathedral: Intricates

The Notre Dame cathedral has 10 bells and out of those the largest ~ Emmanuel is in the Southern tower weighing over 13 tons. 

While wandering around the Notre Dame Cathedral I found this beautiful sculpture. The sculpture beautifully represents the entire model of the Notre Dame Cathedral in a single view. 

model of church

Quick Tip

Candles usually lay there for tourists to offer their prayers but not mandatory to pay. However, it is really nice if you could leave some money in the drop-box. I dropped 1 Euro, you can do as you like, it is nice to be courteous!

Update – 16 April’19 – Notre Dame Cathedral Paris caught fire & most of the Southern structure including the roof is destroyed. French officials say some parts of the building & relics have survived. 

Have you been to Paris? Did you get a chance to visit Notre Dame Cathedral? Please share your experience with me!

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— Shivani

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  10. Such a beautiful building. I am also a ‘history buff’ and love to learn about new things. I love how beautiful and pristine it has been kept. The architecture is very impressive and its cool to learn its one of the largest church buildings in the world. A very good read, thanks for sharing.

    1. Glad you liked it🙂

  11. I actually went to Paris years ago, but I didn’t enjoy my time there! It was my first time abroad though, and I think I was grossed out by how dirty Paris is. After traveling to more countries and experiencing more big city culture (and the constant onslaught of cigarette smoke), I definitely need to go back and give it another try! There are so many beautiful buildings in Paris, including the Notre Dame, and I definitely need to see it again to truly appreciate it! Thanks for putting together this little history of Notre Dame and reminding me how beautiful it was when I first saw it!

    1. Honestly I too felt a little underwhelmed as well. But I did enjoy my time there, I agree with the cigarette smoke, it was like..literally everywhere 😀 well, no place is perfect and I think we should just keep our expectations low especially from all the famous destinations. Thanks for taking time to read and let me know your thoughts 🙂

  12. Notre Dame is such a beautiful place, inside and out! These photos take me right back to Paris. We’ve never climbed to the top of Notre Dame, but it’s on our list for next time–the view is supposed to be incredible.

    1. Same pinch 🙂 Next time, I’ll make sure to go till the top for some of the best views of the French capital 🙂

  13. So beautiful! I have been outside of the cathedral a few times but never actually inside. So that’s what it looks like! Love your photos, I’ve always wondered what it was like inside but there was always a long line to go in when we were there.

  14. So beautiful! I have been outside of the cathedral a few times but never actually inside. So that’s what it looks like! Love your photos, I’ve always wondered what it was like inside but there was always a long line to go in when we were there.

    1. There’s always a long queue, I got lucky with that🙂

  15. Wow, the Notre Dame’s architecture is breathtaking. I will definitely be adding it to my bucket list, thanks for the awesome photos and article!

    1. Thank you so much 🙂

  16. Samah says:

    Being a huge Disney fan, I’ve always wanted to visit because The Hunchback of Notre Dame was one of my favourite movies growing up! Unfortunately, I haven’t still. Your pictures really bring out the beauty of the cathedral and I’m thinking I should really make it a priority.

    1. I hope you enjoy your visit soon🙂

  17. Joanna Davis says:

    I will definitely go to the Notre Dame cathedral when I will visit Paris. I had no idea that the cathedral had 10 bells and the biggest weights 13 tonnes. It is astonishing how the entire structure holds so much weight.

    1. Glad you liked the information 🙂

  18. This is educating. I’ve only seen Notre Dame Cathedral in pictures and admire it. Little do I know if it’s history. I love the Gothic architecture, it adds some kind of revered feeling when one comes in. I’d love to experience such feelings.

    1. I agree, the feeling I got there is still with me 🙂 Hope you like it when you visit!

  19. The Notre Dame really is a must when in Paris. I love all the gothic architecture in these old churches around Europe, it makes you think of the history. Cool facts about the church, I never knew them before!

    1. Glad you liked them🙂

  20. […] places like Louvre Museum is also quite a walk even from the metro station and same happened from Notre Dame, so choose effectively! Walking in Paris can be a memorable one but will also give your feet a […]

  21. I’ve always wanted to visit this place! Europe always has so much history and majesty built into their buildings.

    1. I agree, Europe is majestic and so much historical significance.

  22. I’ve always wanted to visit there. Your post is giving me wanderlust. Hopefully, I’ll visit one day but your gorgeous photos will have to do until that day comes.

    1. Hope you visit there soon 🙂

  23. thenafranssen says:

    Beautiful pics! I love how many there are and great post to go along with it!

  24. We were in Paris during the summer and it’s always been one of my favorite cities! It’s so nice to learn the history of the Notre Dame! It has always been fascinating and stunning.

    1. Thank you Carol 🙂

  25. These are some really interesting facts! I love architecture and buildings that have a story behind them

    1. Thank you, and glad you liked the post 🙂

  26. What an impressive work of art. I am amazed at the size of this church, it’s huge! Is it only a tourist attraction or do they have regular mass in there?

    1. It indeed is impressive. Yes it hosts regular mass in mornings and evenings and Sundays as well.

  27. loisaltermark says:

    I just love exploring the architecture of buildings like this. Notre Dame is so iconic, and your photos are beautiful. Those stained glass windows are stunning.

  28. This is making me reminisce on my last trip to Paris and visiting the Notre Dame. Great post!

    1. Glad you liked the post 🙂

  29. it is hard to image the feeling of being there in person to see all the intricate details of the architecture.

    1. Yes even I crave for going back 🙂

  30. I love Paris and one of the great moments was getting to visit Notre Dame. Thanks for sharing your memories with us!

    1. Glad you liked it 🙂

  31. The Notre Dame is definitely on my list of must-see places and I’ve really enjoyed reading this and learning some facts that I didn’t know. I am just amazed at the gorgeous architecture and can’t wait to see it myself someday.

    1. Hope you visit there soon and love it 🙂

  32. You have taken beautiful pictures of splendid Notre-Dame in Paris. Watching Notre-dame from river Seine must be so picturesque. You revived memories of my visit to Paris. Though it was destructed many times in 18th century, it is restored in a beautiful way. Really French Gothic structure is stunning.

    1. Yes, sometimes it just seems unbelievable that it was destroyed so many times yet still so beautiful.

  33. Such a gorgeous building! I’d love to visit it one day!

    1. Hope you visit soon 🙂

  34. I keep begging my boyfriend to take me to Paris! I visited the Notre Dame in 2008 when I was in my last year at school but never went inside! love love love this ! x

    1. Hope you visit soon and thank you, glad you liked the post:)

  35. One of the bells weighs over 13 tons, wow, I never knew that! I agree that French Gothic architecture is stunning, and it’s so great to see it here in Notre Dame. It’s been a while since I last visited, and your post has encouraged me to see it again.

    1. Glad you liked the post 🙂

  36. A nice piece of article on Notre-Dame.

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