It is believed that the origin of the richly decorated Episcopal cathedral of Notre Dame dates back to the time of Bishop Maurice De Sully in 1163. But the majority of the cathedral’s present day architecture with its strange and fantastic creatures of ancient mythology, such as the chimeras, was designed in the 19th century.
The church owes much of its fame to the famous French author, Victor Hugo and his book The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a great classic of French literature. The stone chimeras are reminiscent of the book’s main character, Quasimodo.
The remarkable and beautifully designed rose windows in the transept are particularly noteworthy as each is original and dates back to 1270 AD.
In 1804 Napoléon Bonaparte was crowned emperor in Notre Dame by Pope Pius The Seventh on this famous island on the River Seine, the Ile De La Cité.
For the French nation, the historic importance of this impressive monument is inestimable.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.