Notre-Dame Has A History Of Restoration, And It’s Not Over Yet

Since Paris’s famed Notre Dame cathedral suffered heavy damage from fire earlier this week, news coverage has been focused exclusively on what has been destroyed. Which is why it might be nice to take a moment to step back in time and tour the church as it was, in all its glory.

Construction of the church began in 1163 under the direction of Pope Alexander III. Though the church was officially ‘finished’ in 1250, embellishments and adjustments were added up until 1789, when the Notre Dame underwent looting and partial disassembly during the French Revolution. It was actually Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame that convinced France to invest in the church’s restoration following its damage during the Revolution.

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The Notre Dame has gone through many phases of restoration in its long and fraught history, including rebuilding of the vaulted ceiling and mending the famous stained glass ‘rose windows.’ Even the spire on the anterior side of the building, whose collapse sent onlookers into a tailspin this week, was destroyed and rebuilt during the Revolution.

An 850-year-old piece of indispensable architecture doesn’t make it this far without a little care and a little help. Learn how you can help bring this essential piece of French history back to the way it was before the fire, and even beyond.