Notre-Dame de Paris and the new bells

Notre-Dame de Paris is a landmark building in the French capital. Anyone on a city trip to Paris will of course have the cathedral on their list of locations not to be missed. It can be counted as one of the highlights of the trip. The building is impressive and is part of the city’s history. In 2013 the cathedral celebrates a special anniversary; the church has existed for 850 years and this is celebrated with, among other things, new bells. Nine bronze bells were cast especially for that occasion. One of them, the largest, was made in the Netherlands. They appear to have survived the April 2019 fire. Notre-Dame de Paris / Source: Marietapancheva, Pixabay

Our Lady gets new chimes

  • Notre Dame de Paris
  • Fake clocks
  • Clock from the Netherlands
  • Bells
  • History of the cathedral
  • Archbishop
  • Facts and figures about Notre-Dame
  • Île de la Cité
  • Notre Dame on fire


Notre Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame of Paris is an inspiring building. He was photographed and drawn countless times. Books have been written about it, films have been made about it and theater productions have been performed about it. There is even a chocolate clock made by a Belgian chocolatier named Notre-Dame. Every year, between ten and twenty million visitors walk in to marvel at the entrance, the stained glass windows and the vaults in the church. Volunteers show visitors around. They explain how the cathedral is intertwined with the history of France. The sculpted kings above the gates of the cathedral capture the imagination, as do the monsters that stare at visitors from above. The church contains several important relics of Christ, such as the crown of thorns. Anyone who goes to Paris must have seen Notre Dame.


Notre-Dame de Paris means Church of Our Lady of Paris . The cathedral is dedicated to Mary.

Bells of Notre-Dame

The bells sound across the French capital, telling the time and calling for prayer. The bells also ring at turns in history, such as after the liberation of the city in the Second World War.

Fake clocks

The cathedral bells were made of poor bronze and therefore sounded out of tune. Fifty years after the French Revolution of 1789, the French put too little time and too little high-quality bronze into the bells. It was a hasty job that would still sound out of tune centuries later.

Clock theft

The bells that originally hung in the cathedral were stolen shortly after the revolution. Those bells were six centuries old and the thieves were not interested in the sound but in the bronze. It took two months before those fine-sounding bells were on the ground, ready to be melted down. Only the heaviest bell remained hanging. Taking it down was too hard a job. That 11.62 ton bell is called Emanuel and it owes its life to its weight. The Emanuel Bell is the oldest of the bells; it has been hanging in the south tower since the 15th century.


The revolution also saw the demolition of the 28 kings sculpted above the entrance. They watched over the three gates. It was an act of vandalism and on top of that the cathedral suffered neglect.

Clock from the Netherlands

The new bells were ordered after Napoleon’s death. They became the hurry-up bells that have sounded out of tune for centuries. In 2013 they were worn down to the thread and the diocese of Paris ordered new ones. Nine new bells will be inaugurated on Saturday, March 23, 2013. At 5 p.m. that day they will ring for the first time in honor of the cathedral’s 850th anniversary. Eight new bells were made in France, but the ninth came from the Netherlands. The largest of the nine was cast in the Netherlands by Koninklijke Eijsbouts in the North Brabant village of Asten. The bell is called Mariaklok, weighs 6 tons and sounds like a bell. He is voted guessing. It hangs next to the even larger Emanuel bell, which is tuned in F sharp.


North Tower

Most of the bells hang in the north tower and they all have a name.

  • Angélique-Francoise – weight 1,910 kilos;
  • Antoinette-Charlotte – weight of 1,300 kilos;
  • Hyacinthe-Jeanne – a bell weighing over 900 kilos;
  • Denise-David – 767 kilos.

South Tower

  • Emanuel clock – weight 11,620 kilos;
  • Mary Bell – 6,000 kilos.


History of the cathedral

The site of Notre-Dame is a historic site in Paris. There was once a Roman temple and later an early Christian basilica. In the third century AD, more and more Christians arrived in Paris, which was reason for Bishop Maurice de Sully in 1160 to order the construction of a Christian church. It had to be a cathedral. Construction of the church in early Gothic style began in 1163. Pope Alexander III was present at the laying of the foundation stone. The church took years to build. Construction of the two towers stopped in 1245 and the masons never finished them. Over the years, tastes changed and also the architectural style: more baroque work was used. The cathedral was not finished until 1345.

French revolution

The Parisian Catholics used the church for their masses, but during the French Revolution in the late 18th century, the church was closed. A lot was destroyed at that time: the clocks, statues and paintings and the building itself was hacked into. In 1801 the church was rededicated to the Catholic faith.

Emperor Napoleon

An important moment in the history of the cathedral is the coronation of the emperor. In 1804, Napoleon was crowned emperor in Notre-Dame and the church was in a terrible state at that time. It was in 1804 that Napoleon asked Pope Pius VII to give him the crowns. The Pope came, but when he wanted to perform the coronation he hesitated. At the supreme moment, Napoleon seized the crown and placed it on his head. Immediately afterwards the crowd shouted Long Live the Emperor .
Victor Hugo’s book Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Writer Victor Hugo really put the church on the map. He wrote the book Notre-Dame de Paris in 1831 , which is set almost entirely in and around the cathedral. The book has been translated into several languages and made into a film several times as The Hunchback of Notre Dame . It also became the subject of theater and ballet performances.


The cathedral was renovated in the nineteenth century. That suited the time of the blossoming Catholic faith. Work on the church took place between 1845 and 1864. Weak stones were replaced by new ones, murals were restored and wall spouts were added to the facades. During this renovation, the stained glass windows were also designed and installed. Notre-Dame is famous partly because of these windows. Another renovation followed in 1991 and 2001.


Notre-Dame is the church of the Archbishop of Paris. The church is not just a tourist attraction; Services and national celebrations are still held there.
Notre-Dame looms / Source: Ameland Press Agency

Facts and figures about Notre-Dame

  • Historical monument since 1862;
  • World Heritage since 1991;
  • 130 meters long;
  • 48 meters wide;
  • 35 meters high;
  • the towers that are not finished are 69 meters high;
  • stairs to the tower have 365 steps;
  • 3 portals at the front surrounded by statues;
  • the Marian portal on the left;
  • middle The Last Judgment portal;
  • on the right the Anna portal;
  • Window rosette in stained glass from 1225 with a diameter of 9.5 meters;
  • the organ has 7000 pipes;
  • a second organ has 1850 pipes.


Île de la Cité

Notre-Dame de Parikl is located on the Île de la Cité, an island in the River Seine. It can be reached via beautiful bridges built over the Seine. Notre-Dame can be quickly reached via the metro. The stop is Cité.


Notre-Dame de Paris
Place du parvis-Notre-Dame 6.75004 Paris


Visitor numbers to Notre-Dame have fallen after the terrorist attacks in Paris. In 2015, 13.6 million people visited the cathedral, which was 700,000 fewer people than in 2014. It is generally assumed that the fear of attacks has reduced visitor numbers.

Notre Dame on fire

On the eve of April 15, 2019, a fire breaks out in Notre Dame. The cathedral burns for hours, the spire collapses and hundreds of firefighters, Parisians stand crying looking at the burning icon and sing Ave Maria in the street. Shortly after the fire there were fears for the bells, but when the smoke cleared and the damage could be assessed, the bells appeared to have been spared.

Notre Dame de Paris

A . Notre Dame de Paris

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