The builders of cathedrals

The Christian faith recognizes in Jesus the light of the world. It is for this reason that the builders chose to build Notre-Dame de Paris as a great ship East-facing, the side where the sun rises. The Cathedral is also cross-shaped to remember the one of Christ who saves men and gathers them all.


Notre-Dame measures 130 meters long, 48 wide, 35 high and can hold well over 6000 people!


Appointed Bishop of Paris in 1160, Maurice de Sully Decides to give the capital a cathedral worthy of the first city of France. King Louis VII, the Church, the notables of the city and the whole people participate : some offer money, others their work, their know-how. The first stone is laid in 1163.

Maurice de Sully opened Rue Neuve to bring the necessary materials, stones and beams for the framing. In total, it is almost 21 hectares of oak that it took for the framing of Notre-Dame, that is why it is called the forest. For the roof, it took also 1 320 lead plates weighing more than 210 000 kilos!

A lot of people are on the job site: maneuvers, drudgery, apprentices, hundreds of skilled workers (then they said agents of the word Work) and volunteers. All were guided by the masters who led the construction: the Mason, the joiner, the glassmaker...

It should not be believed that only men worked in this immense building! A large number of women, according to their strengths and talents, participated in the construction of Notre-Dame de Paris: some made the mortar, others the plaster, others still the decorations...

These large constructions promote new inventions and technical prowess. It was necessary to raise very high walls, succeed in holding the heavy roof, all this by landscaping large glass openings to allow the light to enter in the building. As we went along, the solutions were found. The builders carried all the weight of the construction on pillars and no longer on the walls in which we could develop tall and large Windows. The crossed arches of warhead inside and the buttresses outside have allowed to divide the weights of the stones and the roof on all the pillars of the Cathedral. It is also on the same site that was invented the wheelbarrow to transport the materials! Likewise, to raise one by one the elements of the construction, the companions used cranes, of winils but also of a kind of wheel called squirrel , powered by men walking in.

Thus all these efforts allowed to raise the vault to 33 meters high, the towers to 69 meters and the arrow to 90 meters!

Light a candle at Notre-Dame