These Historic Photos Of Notre Dame Cathedral Show Its Eventful Past

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire Monday, causing catastrophic damage. Here's a look back at one of the city's most historic landmarks.

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The Saint-Michel bridge, the Hôtel-Dieu, and Notre Dame Cathedral before 1857.

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Interior of Notre Dame Cathedral as drawn by Thomas Allom from France Illustrated, 1845.

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Notre Dame Cathedral photographed in the late 19th or early 20th century.

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One of Notre Dame's famous rose windows, on the northern side of the cathedral, dating to the 13th century.

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The cathedral's exterior is adorned with sculptures illustrating biblical stories, known as the "poor people's book," as, historically, the majority of parishioners could not read. Left: Christian martyr Saint Denis holding his head. Right: Saint Veronica holding a veil bearing the image of Christ's face.

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An artist's rendering of Henry VI's French coronation at Notre Dame in 1431 (artist unknown).

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"The Coronation of Napoleon" (1807) by Jacques-Louis David, depicting the coronation of Napoleon I at Notre Dame in 1804.

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The emperor arriving at Notre-Dame depicted in Percier and Fontaine's "Book of the Coronation."


American anti-aircraft artillery in front of the cathedral during the Liberation of Paris, 1944.

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US soldiers fill the pews of Notre Dame Cathedral during the GI memorial service for US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 16, 1945.

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A photo taken of a flaming vehicle circa Aug. 23, 1944, close to the Pont Saint-Michel and Notre Dame Cathedral during the Battle of Paris, a few days before the city's liberation on Aug. 25, 1944.


Philippe Petit, a 21-year-old professional tightrope walker, perches 225 feet above the ground between the cathedral's two towers on June 26, 1971.

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A model poses for a photo in front of the cathedral in 1961.

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A gargoyle on top of the Notre Dame Cathedral photographed in July 1980.

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A view of the Seine river and its surroundings from the cathedral on June 26, 2018.

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A monument light and sound show, named "Dame de Coeur," by stage director Bruno Seillier, is projected on the cathedral's facade in October 2018.

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A June 28, 2017, photo of the cathedral's roof and towers.

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A France supporter brandishes a French flag in front of the cathedral prior to the start of the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia, on July 15, 2018.

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Snow blankets the bank of the River Seine and Notre Dame Cathedral.

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Tourists take in the view from the cathedral in October 2018.

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A statue of Saint John is removed from the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral by a crane before restoration work on April 11, 2019.

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A man watches flames engulf the cathedral on April 15.

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Smoke and embers shoot from Notre Dame Cathedral on the evening of April 15.


The statue of Veronica portrays the saint holding a veil bearing the image of Christ's face. A previous version of this post misidentified the cloth as Christ's shroud.


A drawing of a fire at Chartres Cathedral was misidentified as Notre Dame Cathedral in an earlier version of this post; that image has been removed. An image from artists Percier and Fontaine that was misidentified as portraying Notre Dame has been replaced. The date of the Liberation of Paris was misstated in an earlier version of this post.