Notre Dame de Paris is a historic Roman Catholic Marian cathedral in the very centre of Paris. Notre Dame is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris. The cathedral treasury is notable for its reliquary, which houses the purported crown of thorns, a fragment of the True Cross and one of the Holy Nails.
The site of the Notre dame is the cradle of Paris and had been the religious center of the city. The Celts had their sacred ground here, the Romans built a temple to worship Jupiter. A Christian basilica was built in the 6th century and the last religious structure before the Notre-Dame construction started was a Romanesque church.
Notre Dame de Paris is often reputed to be one of the most prominent examples of Gothic architecture in both France and in Europe as a whole, and the naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture.
It took until 1345 before the cathedral was completed, partly because the design was enlarged during construction. The result is an overwhelming building, 130m long with two 69 meters tall towers. The spire, which reaches 90m, was added in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc. The Notre-Dame has several large rose windows, the northern 13th century window is the most impressive.