Secrets of the Notre Dame Cathedral

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The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most famous churches in the world and it receives some of the highest crowds in Paris throughout the year. However, there are several hidden aspects to the church, which are impossible for ordinary people to catch. Only the experts and scholars would be able to decipher these things. Below is a discussion on the secret locations in the Notre Dame cathedral that you can visit on your Paris private tours.

St. Anne Portal

The right-hand side of the cathedral is a classic illustration of medieval recycling. This can be identified because it is not an authentic gothic portal. You can see the rounded arch tracing the top of the door above the head of the Virgin Mary. Another close look reveals that all the male figures in the tympanum wear pointed hats. This is a sign that they were Jews, as it was the tradition in France back then.

The Sorbonne

Towards the left side of the front of Notre Dame, there used to be huge cloisters. These were soiled in a fire back in the 17th Century. The University of Paris had its origin in these cloisters when it began as a theological institution for training clergy.

The University has its roots traced back to 1100 when the Romanesque cathedral of St. Stephen was constructed. It was not until 1253 that the bishop of the time, Robert de Sorbon, constructed an edifice to house the school. Later, the school was moved indoors and was christened as Sorbonne to honor the bishop.

The Towers

Initially, spires were planned for the towers of Notre Dame. However, it was never built and no one knows the reason behind it. The construction of the cathedral carried on without interruptions after the towers were erected. Hence, money was never an issue. Some argue that those behind it believed that the building lacked sufficient height. Without the spires, though, it still rose above the line of houses.

St. Thomas

Viollet-le-Duc, who was in charge of the renovations of the church, installed four groups of three men in bronze here. These have turned green from prolonged exposure. There is a self-portrait of St. Thomas in the cathedral too, who appears to be admiring his own work.

Theophilus Narrative

The representation of Theophilus narrative is depicted twice on the northern side of Notre Dame. According to the Marian miracle tale, a clerk sold his soul to the devil to acquire higher office. Once he realized his mistake, he prayed to Virgin Mary who acquired his contract to return it to him. Thereafter, he lived a virtuous life.