The first spire was built at the transept crossing around 1250. It was a bell tower, which, in the 17th century, housed up to five bells. It was taken down from 1786 to 1792.
During Viollet-le-Duc’s restoration of the cathedral, he decided to build a second spire, whose structure would be independent from the main cathedral, on an octagonal base supported by the four transept pillars.
In 1860, he entrusted the carpenter Bellu with this work. He used the 1852 two-story spire built in Orléans as a model, a clear departure from the 13th century spire. In addition, it is not a bell tower.
The spire dominates the verdigris copper statues of the twelve apostles with the symbols of the four evangelists. Viollet-le-Duc represented himself as Saint Thomas holding a square. He seems to be contemplating the top of his “Great Work”. A few impressive figures: 500 tons of wood, 250 tons of lead, 93 m in height.
Finally, the rooster at the top of the spire holds three relics: part of the Crown of Thorns, one of Saint Denis’s relics and one of Sainte Genevieve’s relics. It is a true “spiritual lightning rod,” protecting everyone who praises God inside the cathedral, the icon of heavenly Jerusalem. Cardinal Verdier, archbishop of Paris, place them there in the presence of the canon chapter on 25 October 1935.