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Location: Notre Dame, Paris, France
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The cathedral was begun in 1160 under Bishop Maurice de Sully and was largely complete by 1260, though it was modified frequently in the ensuing centuries. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration during the French Revolution; much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. In 1804, the cathedral was the site of the Coronation of Napoleon I as Emperor of France, and witnessed the baptism of Henri, Count of Chambord in 1821 and the funerals of several presidents of the Third French Republic.
Popular interest in the cathedral blossomed soon after the publication, in 1831, of Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. This led to a major restoration project between 1844 and 1864, supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who added the cathedral's iconic spire. The liberation of Paris was celebrated within Notre-Dame in 1944 with the singing of the Magnificat. Beginning in 1963, the façade of the cathedral was cleaned of centuries of soot and grime, returning it to its original colour. Another cleaning and restoration project was carried out between 1991 and 2000.
The cathedral is one of the most widely recognized symbols of the city of Paris and the French nation. As the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris, Notre-Dame contains the cathedra of the Archbishop of Paris (Michel Aupetit). 12 million people visit Notre-Dame annually, making it the most visited monument in Paris
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