millions of visitors come to admire his arrow that pointed towards the heavens, the stained glass windows of its rosettes and its famous gargoyles. Fed by the imagination of Victor Hugo, without a doubt dreamed they meet Quasimodo, Esmeralda and Frollo. Monday, 15 April, those dreams went up in smoke when a fire began in the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris in the late afternoon. If the firefighters were able to save and preserve the structure in its entirety, two-thirds of the roof have been destroyed. Back on the prominent episodes in the history of France that are written between the walls of the most famous cathedral in the world.

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1163: The construction was begun by bishop Maurice de Sully. According to the legend, pope Alexander III, in person, would have asked himself the first stone. These took place over more than two centuries, ending at the end of the Fourteenth century under the supervision of Raymond du Temple. Because of the long construction and many contractors having succeeded to direct the work, the cathedral displays a mix of elements of the romanesque and gothic styles.

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1239: Saint Louis retrieves the Sacred Crown from bankers venetians after the pledge of the relic by the emperor Baudouin de Courtenay, and then the removal to Our Lady. According to the christian tradition, this circle of reeds gathered together in bundles and held together by wires of gold, would be the one that has brought Christ before his crucifixion. Two years later, the king built the Sainte Chapelle to preserve the precious treasure. The Notre-Dame cathedral was not yet completed, at the end of the Thirteenth century, the Parisian will ensure that the body of the sainted King, Louis IX, died in Tunis on 25 August 1270.

postcard of Our Lady of 1910. Rue des Archives/©Rue des Archives/Collection Bou

1431: Henry VI of England is crowned king of France by his great-uncle, cardinal Henry Beaufort, in the cathedral. At the time, the Hundred Years war (1337 – 1453) was still raging, and the English monarch, at the age of ten years, is an imposter in the eyes of the French. He is fighting for the title with Charles VII, crowned king of France at Reims two years earlier.

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1558: Mary Stuart, queen of Scotland and Francis II, married to Our Lady. Several marriages of monarchs are celebrated in the cathedral. Among them, those of Marguerite de Valois and Henri IV (1572) and of Napoleon III and Eugénie de Montijo (1853). Our Lady is also celebrated in June 1559 the marriage, the more funny, of Elizabeth of France and Philip II of Spain… by proxy! The eldest son of Charles the Fifth being absent, it was replaced by an emissary, the duke of Alba, commissioned to represent him at the altar.

Napoleon was crowned as emperor of the French on 2 December 1804 at Notre-Dame. David, musée du Louvre. Peter Barritt/10,5,4,6,7,8

1804: Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned as emperor of the French on 2 December by pope Pius VII at Notre-Dame de Paris. The event is immortalized by Jacques-Louis David in the famous painting The Coronation of Napoleon , today preserved in the Louvre.

Entry of Napoleon Bonaparte (the future emperor Napoleon the 1st) has the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris for Easter, in 1802, he proclaimed the restoration of the roman catholic church in France. Rue des Archives/© Granger NYC/Rue des Archives

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1831: Victor Hugo publishes the historical novel Notre-Dame de Paris , a declaration of love to the building. The cathedral is in the centre of the story in which intersect the character of Pierre Gringoire, Esmeralda, Claude Frollo and Quasimodo, still iconic today. Since its publication, the masterpiece of the novelist has known many adaptations to the theatre and to the cinema.

Rue des Archives/©Rue des Archives/PVDE

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1844: After Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus, the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc launches in the restoration of the cathedral. The builder of the controversial requires, among other things, an arrow on the roof of the monument, while it has disappeared from the memory of Parisians.

January 30, 1853: marriage of Napoleon III with Eugenie de Montijo

general de Gaulle and general Leclerc of Hauteclocque in the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on 26 August 1944 . Rue des Archives/© Granger NYC/Rue des Archives

25 August 1944: the bells of the cathedral resound to the liberation of Paris. The following day, the Magnificat is sung at Notre-Dame in the presence of general de Gaulle and general Leclerc.

may 9, 1945 : cardinal Suhard, welcomes general de Gaulle as well as the members of the government and the ambassadors of the United States, USSR and Great Britain at the cathedral. The archbishop celebrates a office in the course of which a Te Deum of thanksgiving for the victory is sung, followed by the execution of the Marseillaise to the large orgues31.

November 12, 1970: A ceremony of national homage is rendered to the memory of Charles de Gaulle. The presidents of the Republic, Georges Pompidou and François Mitterrand, will be honoured also after their deaths in 1974 and 1995.

2012: Archbishop André Vingt-Trois, cardinal archbishop of Paris, launched the kick-off of the jubilee of the majestic cathedral, which celebrates its 850th anniversary throughout the next year. Restoration works are undertaken, such as that of the Great Organ, or the implementation of new bells. Four years later, the archdiocese is launching an appeal for donations to fund the next twenty years of renovation work, such as the sealing of the arrow.

November 15, 2015: mass to pay tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris on the 13th of November, after that the death knell had sounded for a quarter of an hour.

June 6, 2017 : A police officer of 22 years was attacked with blows of the hammer on the parvis of the cathedral by a student of algeria are claiming as a “soldier of the caliphate”.

April 15, 2019 at 18h43 : The fire takes on the level of the arrow to work. It ravaged the whole roof of the cathedral and is a threat to the very structure of the building. Experts are to meet this Tuesday, April 16, to assess the damage on the cathedral by the huge fire.

” check out our special issue dedicated to Notre-Dame de Paris