Paris at the time of Philippe Auguste

The city

Notre Dame

People have prayed there for over two centuries. Maurice de Sully starts the building of the cathedral en 1161.Lots of corporations participate in the building of the monument : stone cutters, blacksmiths, glass artists, sculptors.
The choir and the transept are finished around 1200.In 1235 the main parts of the works are over.

In 1164 because of the construction of the cathedral, a new street has to be created : rue Neuve-Notre-Dame.

Maurice de Sully dies on september 11th 1196 and leaves 1OO pounds to build a lead roof for the choir.This proves that most of the construction was nearly finished.

statues in the CLuny museum

Above and on the side, you can see the originals of the kings'gallery which were destroyed during the revolution, buried in the basement of the Banque de France, and rediscovered about 15 years ago. They are now on display in the Cluny museum in Paris.

The southern gate was begun in 1257,on February 12.An inscription in igothic writing is still readable on the gate:

"L'an du Seigneur mil deux cent cinquante sept, le second des ides de février, ce portail fut commencé en l'honneur de la Sainte mère du Christ, pendant la vie (et par les soins) de Maistre Jehan de Chelles, maître-maçon.

When Philippe-Auguste dies in 1223, the gate is almost finished.At the beginning of the reign of Saint Louis, both towers are erected and the cathedral finished.

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A fire occurs in 1218. Thieves that had gone up under the roof,set fire to the tapestries when trying to steal silver chandeliers, that were lit up. This fire is responsible for a lot of damage to the roof timbers.

The apsidal chapels date back to the end of the XIIIth century and the beginning of the XIVth. Few modifiactions took place until the XVIIth century.
With the reign of Louis XIV the choir stalls disappeared as well as the tombs dating back to the XIIth century.
The tombs that had formed the paving of the church were replaced by an oridinary marble paving. In 1750 the XIIIth stained-glass windows were replaced by white glasses, with a fine blue and yellow border.
lots of other mutilations took place then, with Soufflot and then the revolution : tombs were profaned, the treasure was sent for melting.Outside, in 1793 the complete statuary disappeared.
It nearly escaped complete destruction as "le citoyen Simon" (great cousin of the author of the famous "Mémoires") bought Notre Dame for 450 000 francs. But the "9 thermidor" put an end to it before it even happened.

The cathedral resumed its religious purpose in 1802, but it had to wait until Victor Hugo wrote his famous book "Notre-Dame de Paris", for the people to become sensitive to its bad condition, as no repairs had been done since those tormented times.

Architects Lassus et Viollet-le-Duc were in charge of the restauration of the cathedral. Especially the latter worked on it for 17 years to rebuild the cathedral as it was in 1330. It was consecrated on May 31st 1864.

sources :
Paris à travers les âges M.F.Hoofbauer
Editions de l'image
page 259...
Dictionnaire Historique des rues de Paris,
J. Hillairet, Editions de Minuit,
tome L-Z :place du Parvis de Notre Dame