Notre Dame, the Cathedral of

Notre Dame, the Cathedral of


the Early Gothic French cathedral that has served as a model for many churches in France and other countries. The cathedral is situated on the Ile de la Cité in Paris. It is a five-aisled basilica (130 m long, 108 m wide, with a high vault 35 m to the crown) having a shallow transept and two 69-m-high towers on the western facade. Romanesque elements include the horizontal division of the facades, the rough wall surfaces, and the simplicity of ornamentation. The building is characterized by a Gothic treatment of space and by such Gothic features as the lancet arch and the flying buttress.

Construction of the cathedral was begun in 1163 and essentially finished in 1257. The choir was completed circa 1177, the transept and nave by 1196, and the western facade circa 1200–50. The sculptural work was finished by 1250. In the late 13th century the architects Jean de Chelles and Pierre de Montereau lengthened the transept. Fragments of the stained glass windows have been preserved. The 13th-century rose windows on the western, southern, and northern facades have retained their original glass. Only some of the statuary of the facades (c. 1165–1225) and the choir (13th and 14th centuries) has been preserved.

The cathedral was restored in the 19th century. Restoration was begun in 1845 by J. B. Lassus and E. E. Viollet-le-Duc. The restoration work has preserved the unity of the original design.


Aubert, M. La Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. Paris, 1950.
Gabelin, F. Notre-Dame de Paris. Paris, 1951