Neither the bells have been able to give the alarm signal. The fire has surprised even the always attentive gargoyles of Notre Dame. The Cathedral Parisian, an icon of Gothic architecture, is experiencing one of the most tragic episodes of its eight centuries of history succumbed by the flames.
Built between the 12th and 13th centuries on the Île de la Cité, Notre Dame is one of the most beloved buildings in Paris and most visited by tourists, some 100,000 each year. World Heritage since 1991, it is characterized as one of the first gothic cathedrals of Europe and to become a model for later medieval constructions.
The temple, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, hence the name of Notre Dame (Our Lady) is on the banks of the Seine, and its interior reaches a height of 35 meters. The main façade has always been a model of Gothic elegance, with its two massive towers, an impressive rosette of 10 meters in diameter, the three porticoes of access and a gallery of statues 20 meters above the ground.
But without a doubt, one of the most popular spaces, thanks to Victor Hugo, are the highest areas, the natural domain of the hunchback Quasimondo, a tragic story remembered by the vision of the gargoyles. In fact, the 54 figures, the result of a restoration of the mid-nineteenth century, were inspired by this romantic novel.
Located at the top of the towers, 69 meters high, your visit was one of the attractions of the cathedral after climbing almost 400 steps. The sight that extended to the feet also deserved the effort, as well as the possibility of seeing during the ascent to Emmanuel, the greater bell that weighs about 13 tons.
The construction of Notre Dame began at a time of economic prosperity for the French capital. And during its almost millennia-old history it has lived key moments of history, such as the coronation of Henry VI of England during the war of one hundred years, that of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804 or the beatification of Joan of Arc in 1909.
During the French Revolution, it already experienced a tragic episode, it was even used as a food store after emptying it of many of its treasures.
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Inside, today devoured by the flames, were the fantastic stained glass windows, most of the nineteenth century, as well as an extraordinary organ made by Aristide Caivallé-Coll. Among the most outstanding works of art were the 'Pieta' by Nicolas Coustou and the 18th century wooden chairs.
The needle, where the flames supposedly originated, measured 96 meters. Although the fire declared Monday at Notre Dame will mark a before and after for the building, in 1871, during the Paris Commune, was about to be burned because of social unrest. At that time he had more luck.