The fluttering famed pigeons; the sanguine scarecrow lady and the excited boy are oblivious of the grand history of the edifice behind, just as I was. This architecture is an old soul that had experienced the greatest pinnacles of history of its time and I was about to be enveloped by that golden era.
Notre Dame de Paris, Our Lady of Paris, has over 37 representations of the Virgin, including sculptures, paintings and stained glass. Over 800 years old, the Notre Dame was initiated by Bishop Maurice de Sully. It is the most famous Gothic cathedral of the Middle Ages and is among the largest and best known church buildings in the world.
I was keen to experience this ancient building because it is a history book by itself. My hero had always been Joan of Arc. This is where her mother Isabelle Romee petitioned a papal delegation on 7th Nov 1455 to overturn her daughter’s conviction for heresy.
On 18th April 1909 Joan of Arc was beatified and finally, on 16th May 1920 was canonized at the Notre Dame.
On 16th Dec 1431 Henry VI of England was crowned King of France here. In 1804 Napoleon I was crowned at the Notre Dame as the Emperor of France. The history book fills pages after pages of all the significant activities that played here. Not to forget, of course, the literary masterpiece, The Hunchback of Notre Dame published in 1831 by the French author Victor Hugo.
Unbelievable but true, the cathedral treasury contains a reliquary, which houses some of Catholicism’s most important relics, including the purported Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails. It’s no wonder that the cathedral is one of the main symbols of Paris and of France.