The Notre Dame Cathedral Paris or Notre Dame de Paris ('Our Lady of Paris' in French) is a Gothic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France, with its main entrance to the west. It is the cathedral of the Catholic archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the "cathedra", or official chair, of the Archbishop of Paris, Andre Cardinal Vingt-Trois. Notre Dame Cathedral is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world. It was restored and saved from destruction by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, one of France's most famous architects. 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 was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. Its sculptures and stained glass show the heavy influence of naturalism, unlike that of earlier Romanesque architecture.
The Notre Dame Cathedral Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave. After the construction began and the thinner walls (popularized in the Gothic style) grew ever higher, stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral's architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued the pattern.
The cathedral suffered desecration during the radical phase of the French Revolution in the 1790s, when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. During the 19th century, an extensive restoration project was completed, returning the cathedral to its previous state.