French Federation of Historical Audioguides
Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral
Audio guide in English
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Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, commonly known as Notre-Dame, is one of the most emblematic monuments of Paris and France, located on the Ile de la Cité, and a place of Catholic worship, seat of the Archdiocese of Paris, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Begun at the instigation of Bishop Maurice de Sully, its construction spanned more than two centuries, from 1163 to the middle of the fourteenth century. After the French Revolution, the cathedral benefited between 1844 and 1864 from a major restoration, sometimes controversial, under the direction of the architect Viollet-le-Duc, who incorporated new elements and motifs. For these reasons, the style is not completely uniform: the cathedral has characters of early Gothic and radiant Gothic. The two rosettes, which adorn each of the arms of the transept, are among the largest in Europe.
It is linked to many episodes in the history of France. Royal parish church in the Middle Ages, it hosted the arrival of the Holy Crown in 1239, then the coronation of Napoleon I in 1804, the baptism of Henri d'Artois, the Duke of Bordeaux, in 1821, as well as the funeral of several presidents of the French Republic (Adolphe Thiers, Sadi Carnot, Paul Doumer, Charles de Gaulle, Georges Pompidou, François Mitterrand). It is also under its vaults that a Magnificat is sung during the liberation of Paris in 1944. The 850th anniversary of its construction is celebrated in 2013.
The cathedral inspires many artistic works, in particular the novel by Victor Hugo Notre-Dame de Paris published in 1831 and which partly influences its history. At the start of the 21st century, Notre-Dame was visited by some 13 to 14 million people each year. The building, also a minor basilica, is thus the most visited monument in Europe and one of the most visited in the world until 2019.
On April 15, 2019, a violent fire destroyed the spire and the entire roof covering the nave, the choir and the transept. This is the most important disaster suffered by the cathedral since its construction. Notre-Dame has been closed to the public for an indefinite period since that date.
Visit the surroundings
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
Hôtel des Invalides
Palace of Versailles
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Senlis