In 1163, bishop of Paris Maurice de Sully laid down the first stone of a brand new building which replaced the old cathedral Saint-Etienne raised in the 6th century. After cathedrals of Noyon and Senlis, in the heart of the Kingdom, here was another huge Gothic church! King Philip Augustus, before he left for Crusades in 1190, said that this building work was very important to him.
Things happened quickly: in 1182, the main altar was consecrated and in 1196, when Maurice de Sully died, the nave was raised. The façade was began in 1218 and finished in 1223, in the reign of Philip Augustus. In 1257, bishop of Paris Régnault de Corbeil began the southern portal.
Chapels surrounding the choir date back the 14th century. Inside, we have three beautiful rose windows: the southern one was restored in the 18th century, the western one was redesigned by Viollet-le-Duc and the northern one kept its 13th century stained glass!
After the French Revolution, our cathedral became a temple, then a barn. Napoleon was crowned emperor in 1804 here: just imagine, the church was in ruin, they were forced to hide dilapidations with huge sheets! We have to wait 1844: Viollet-le-Duc restored the cathedral.
Did you know the Templars's trial took place on Notre-Dame's parvis, in March 1314? Jacques de Molay, the great master, Hugues de Péralde and Guy, commander of Normandy, were here. Two years later, in 1312, king of France Philip the Fair annulled the Templar order during the council of Vienna. The three men were burnt on the tip of the île de la Cité...