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The Notre Dame Cathedral is marking its 850th anniversary this year.

The history of the cathedral began in 1163, when Maurice de Sully, Bishop of Paris, began its construction under the reign of King Louis VII (the Young). It has therefore been 850 years since the first stone of this architectural gem of Gothic art was laid.

FYI: In the Middle Ages, small houses stood just a few metres in front of the cathedral (like in the Disney movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame). They disappeared during the major work of the Haussmann era in the 19th century. (x)

I will forever be in awe of such majestic cathedrals and basilicas and churches scattered across the continent. I will never forget that feeling of wonder and amazement the first time I entered them in Barcelona and Salamanca and Lourdes and Florence and Rome and the Vatican, among many others. I am not a religious person and I’m not a believer of / in anything God-related but I do and will always appreciate these monuments for their extraordinary architectural feat.