Why Is Notre Dame So Famous?

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Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris - why is it so famous?

Notre Dame is very well-known worldwide, even to those who don’t know much about its history or purpose. Part of that is due to books, such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.

However, much of its notoriety is related to the building itself. It has stood for more than 850 years, despite wars, a lack of care for the cathedral, and problems in France. As a result, it has seen the coronation and crowning of many famous people throughout history.

It also has the bones of many that were dedicated to the church and Christianity, such as bishops and archbishops. It is a large building and carries a beautiful French Gothic design. All of this is what has led this building to become so famous.


What is Important About Notre Dame?

Some of the reasons why Notre Dame is so important are due to its size, age, and unique architectural design. It has been around for 850 years and has been around for a lot of Paris’ history.

It is one of the oldest of all Gothic Cathedrals in the world. It was built sometime between 1163 and 1245. Though it isn’t a parish church, many Catholics still went there for vespers, masses, and penance.

Notre Dame was built originally for a centralized religious figure in France and made it a site for many royal events like weddings and coronations.


Is Anyone Buried in Notre Dame?

There are at least 400 people buried in Notre Dame, most of them being bishops and archbishops. Quite a few of these people are unknown, however. There are some people of note.

Some examples of those buried in Notre Dame include:


  • Denis-Aguste Affre
  • St. Hugh of Champagne
  • Pierre de Gondi
  • Jean-Marie Lustiger
  • Louis-Antoine de Noailles
  • Maurice Felton
  • Marie-Dominique-Auguste Sibour


We have lost a lot of history, but sometimes, identifying which person was buried in the church allowed us to unearth rare or previously unknown moments in history.

Unfortunately, others will be unknown forever, having been buried in Notre Dame without any information about them recorded.


What Makes Notre Dame different?

Notre Dame was designed in the time of French Gothic architecture and is now one of the most famous symbols of Paris, perhaps only second to the Eiffel Tower. It was built on an island on the Seine river and stayed strong for 850 years.

It took the place of a Romanesque church and took 182 years to finally be finished and consecrated.

The building is large enough to fit 6,000 worshipers inside and is accompanied by an 8,000-pipe organ, which is one of the world’s biggest.

It has been around for much of France’s history, including the crowning of King Henry VI and Napoleon I’s coronation.


Who Built the Cathedral?

The building was initially started by a man known as Maurice de Sully. He was going to take the two earlier basilicas and convert them into one large building. This idea was first started in 1160.

Pope Alexander III laid the first stone in 1162. The altar itself was consecrated in 1189, and other parts, like the choir and facade, were completed in 1250. However, for the next 100 years, more embellishments were added.

This makes it hard to determine when exactly the cathedral was finished and who built it, as the original builder and designer died well before the project was officially completed.


What Happened at Notre Dame?

In 2019, Notre Dame unfortunately burned and suffered permanent damage. While the hope is there to restore it, a lot of the original woodwork was lost and can never be recovered.

Currently, in 2022, repairs are still going on, with a lot more work to do. This reconstruction has cost more than $865 million. It is hoped to be completed in 2024, around the same time as the Summer Olympics that will be hosted in Paris.

However, before that devastating fire, a lot of history occurred at Notre Dame. Victor Hugo even wrote about the cathedral in his book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Many people didn’t care about the cathedral at this time, but his book brought the church and its followers back to life.


Final Thoughts on Why Is Notre Dame So Famous

When it comes to historical buildings, not many are more famous than the Notre Dame Cathedral. But, unfortunately, the fire in 2019 caused heartbreak all around the world as people watched this beloved church fall.

Thankfully, it will be restored, though it has some time left to go. Before the fire, this cathedral had managed to stand tall and proud for over 850 years and was one of the oldest French Gothic buildings, especially cathedrals, out there.

Despite the massive fire that destroyed quite a bit of the architecture, this building isn’t going to call it quits yet. The restoration will be finalized in time for the Summer Olympics in 2024, so fans can enjoy the history yet again.