Historic time for Notre Dame de Paris
The beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral is celebrating 850 years of “History, Art and Spirituality in the heart of Paris” this year with many special events planned to commemorate this historic treasure. Major renovation projects have recently been completed to prepare for the 14 million visitors who tour the Cathedral each year, including restoration of the Great Organ and new lighting for the nave.
One of the most exciting and tangible renovations is the commission of nine new bronze bells for the belfry towers. The old bells dated from the 1700 & 1800s and had become discordant over the centuries. The new bells were struck at foundries in Normandy and the Netherlands, and arrived in Paris Saturday, February 2, 2013, on a convoy of flatbed trucks for a procession through Paris, where hundreds of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse.
Weighing over 6,000 tons, the new bells arrived safely at the Cathedral Saturday afternoon for a blessing and benediction service by Cardinal Andre Armand Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris. Each bell has been named in honor of a saint or historical Catholic figure: the largest bell, Mary, in honor of the Blessed Mother, will join Gabriel, Anne-Genevieve, Denis, Marcel, Etienne, Benoit-Joseph, Maurice and Jean-Marie. Here’s a fascinating video about the creation of the new bells for Notre Dame. The time lapse images of the bells being set up in the nave of the cathedral are phenomenal!
The best part…if you are in Paris during the month of February, be sure to visit the Cathedral, as the bells will be on public display in the central nave until February 25. Don’t miss this opportunity to see these historic bronze giants up close. The bells will be hung in early March, just in time for Holy Week and Easter services.
Thank you to Mary Ann Grisham for this guest post for the Paris Perfect Blog!