"Our Lady" of Paris

One of the most notable monuments in Paris is the Notre Dame Cathedral. Notre Dame is a French title for the "Blessed Virgin Mary" (hence the reason for so many Notre Dame Cathedrals scattered throughout the world). This Catholic treasure is over 800 years old and is located on a small island called Île de la Cité (in the middle of the river Seine). The building of the cathedral took almost 200 years. It started in 1163 during the reign of King Louis VII and was completed in 1345.

As is the case with most notable historical monuments, The Notre dame Cathedral Paris has had its share of glorious and tragic historical moments. Among them is the crowning of Henry VI of England right inside the cathedral in 1431. The Cathedral was at one time in a stage of total disrepair and close to the point of being demolished, but was later saved by Napoleon who himself was crowned Emperor in 1804 inside the Cathedral. After restoring the Cathedral back to its formal beauty and in the midst of World War II, it was rumored that the German soldiers might destroy the newly installed stained glass. It was therefore removed and only reinstalled again after the war ended. The steps were taken because of a archeological glass window called "Rose Window" which was the biggest glass window in the world produced in the 13th century. Joan of Arc was also beatified in the Notre Dame cathedral in 1909.

A notable artifact is the famous bell that has been redesigned to ring automatically. Any visitor to the bell tower should be prepared to climb the 140 steps staircase to see the historical bell and have a glimpse of the city of Paris. Inside the Notre Dame Cathedral, the 17th century organ, with all of its original parts, is still functional. There are also drawings, plans and engravings which showed the old and hidden mysteries of several of the church developments and how the city of Paris came into being.

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