The Notre Dame Cathedral Paris or Notre Dame de Paris (Meaning 'Our Lady of Paris' in French) is a Gothic cathedral located in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France, It has its main entrance to the west. The island is on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité.
The Notre Dame Cathedral with its sculptures and stained glass windows show the heavy influence of naturalism, unlike that of earlier Romanesque architecture. It was one of the very first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction took place throughout the Gothic period.
Building work began on the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris way back in the 12th century, it was not until some 300 years later construction finally came to an end. It is now one of the most prominent cathedrals in France and one of the oldest ones too. The length of time it took to build is evident through the various styles of architecture that run through the building. Although it is predominantly French Gothic ,there are areas that demonstrate the Renaissance and the Naturalism era of construction. These varying styles add to the outstanding yet quirky beauty of the building .
The Notre Dame Cathedral Paris didn't originally have flying buttresses included in its design. But after the construction of the cathedral began, the thinner walls (popularized in the Gothic style) grew ever higher and stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. The cathedral's architects, in an effort to fix the problem, built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued the pattern. The was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports).
Over its vast history the Cathedral has suffered considerable damage, not least during the French Revolution in 1786. Fortunately it was sympathetically restored and continued to attract attention from around the world. The Cathedral has played host to many religious ceremonies and historical events and despite their own religious beliefs people of all different faiths and nationalities still marvel at it's unique grandeur.
In 1909 Joan of Arc was famously beatified in the Notre Dame Cathedral by Pope Pius X. The brave young girl who told all she had experienced visions from God, went on to assist the French in conflicts with English soldiers. The French trusted her word and ultimately won many battles against England. As a big fan of the royals she also played a part in the crowning of Charles Vll. However not everyone was convinced by her religious visions and beliefs and she was later killed by Burundians' who accused her of heresy and burned her at the stake. It was not until 1456 that her name was cleared and she became known as an innocent martyr
The Notre Dame Cathedral is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world.. The name Notre Dame means "Our Lady" in French, and is frequently used in the names of Catholic church buildings in Francophone countries.The Notre Dame Cathedral is the actual cathedral of the Catholic archdiocese of Paris: which is to say, it is the church which contains the official chair ("cathedra") of the Archbishop of Paris, Andre Cardinal Vingt-Trois.
Within the Cathedral of Notre Dame there are vast displays of artwork, furniture and many valuable items that mirror the Nio-Gothic design. Tourists are welcomed into the cathedral to view and enjoy these pieces for a small entrance fee. They are also able to attend Mass, which is held three times a day and a popular attraction for Christian visitors.
Surrounding the Cathedral there are a number of stunning Parisian Hotels which are fortunate enough to enjoy magnificent views of the cathedral in it's entirety.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame is probably best known for its relation to the story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, made famous by the numerous cartoons and movies inspired by it. But it is the French Gothic Architecture that remains the biggest draw for visitors from around the world, an unrivaled, perfect example to this day.