The Notre Dame Cathedral will celebrate 850 years of History, Art and Spirituality at the heart of Paris from the 12th December 2012 to 24th November 2013, in a year marked by many liturgical, cultural and artistic events, as well as by major renovation projects, some of which follow in the footsteps of the Cathedral’s original builders. The Jubilee Door, seen above, accessible by two ramps, opens onto a path that leads up to the West Facade, following the traces of the former street named rue Neuve Notre-Dame. At the ends of the ramps are bleachers, I think the plan is to keep these structures in place all year.
There were a fair number of people outside on Easter Sunday but it was absolutely packed inside.
The bleachers were pretty full as well, I think the idea is that over the course of the anniversary year they will have multiple events that outstrip the seating capacity of the cathedral.
They have a large screen video screen and PA system to beam what is happening inside to the public outdoors.
We stayed for a while to hear the choir and the new bells, the sound system is surprisingly good. Apparently the old bells were out of tune, so they melted them down and made new ones, not without a little controversy. The eight new bells will have a sound closer to the original medieval ones, creating a beautiful sound that hasn't been heard since the French revolution. They were made at French bell foundry Cornille-Havard, which is making the new bells using medieval methods, including pouring bronze into moulds made from clay, horse manure and horsehair.
As I said, the bells sounded good to us. I did a short video to let you hear the bells and see the people on Easter Sunday.
Here is a very short clip inside Notre Dame on Easter with the choir and the organ. You get a good idea how crowded it was.
We happened to be at the side transcept door when the service was over, it took about half an hour to empty the church.
Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, there is a park behind Notre Dame where everyone seemed to congregate, despite the cold weather.
Even the ducks came up from the Seine to check out the crowds.
Notre Dame Web: http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/spip.php?rubrique139
The Bells of Notre Dame: http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/spip.php?article1613
Kim Willsher Bells: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/12/ding-dang-notre-dame-bells