The cathedral's three stained-glass rose windows, which are located high up on the cathedral's west, north, and south sides, are among the most recognized artworks within. Its rich artifacts also include a Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is only shown on rare occasions, such as Fridays during Lent.
The cathedral contains many other beautiful things to see, including sculptures, paintings, and decorative features. Some of its most famous works of art include: The Last Judgment by Michelangelo, which hangs in the south transept; John the Baptist preaching before King Herod; and Mary with Jesus in the Temple.
There are also several large tapestries woven from wool and silk threads that tell the story of Christ's life. They date back to the 15th century and were created by weavers from France and Belgium.
Notre Dame's treasury contains some of the cathedral's most important relics. These include a piece of the cross used at the crucifixion of Christ, which is kept in a glass case in the northern choir aisle; and fragments of cloth from the robe that Christ wore when he was taken down from the cross after his death. There are also several ancient books stored in the cathedral's library. These include a copy of the Bible written in Latin around the year 800 AD by an unknown priest named Fridugis.
Finally, visitors can climb to the top of the cathedral for a view over Paris.
The stained glass on the northern side of Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral. The Rose Windows, which date back to the 13th century, are a trio of massive circular stained-glass windows that adorn the cathedral's three principal gateways. All three look to be alive. The colors of the glass have been known to change with each new season and some say the images they depict even move at times.
Rose windows are found only in France and Germany. They're so called because of the roses that used to fill them with blooms but which no longer do. Instead, these days they display scenes from Bible stories or other religious topics.
The first rose window was installed around 1260 on the eastern entrance of Paris's former Saint Paul Cathedral (now known as Notre Dame). It was made by artists working under the direction of the bishop of Paris, Pierre de Conques. The glass came from English and German workshops and it shows scenes related to Christianity's arrival in Europe, including the meeting between Jesus and Moses and the baptism of Christ.
This window is still visible today and it's an amazing sight to see after all these years. The original glass is now in Paris's Museum of Fine Arts while two copies sit in the cathedral in place of the one that used to stand there.
According to the Guardian, four large-scale 17th and 18th century paintings showing the apostles were at least partially damaged. It is known that a distinct part of the Crown of Thorns, as well as the relics of two saints, were destroyed. Many more objects' condition is unknown.
Notre Dame spokesperson Greg Marcon told CNN that "all of the church's artwork was removed from the building before it was closed for restoration work in the 1990s" and that none of it was stored on site. However, several artists who have worked with the church have said they believe some of the works were still inside the building when it went up in flames.
In a statement released through its website, the University of Chicago said that it was "shocked and saddened" by the loss of its collection from Notre Dame. "All of our books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and artifacts link us to the past and help us understand our place in the world today," the statement read. "They are an important part of what makes the University of Chicago such a special place."
The university added that it has set up a fund to support the preservation of cultural resources related to its history with Notre Dame. The fund will provide financial assistance to faculty and students working to identify, document, and conserve unique aspects of the University's heritage.