Notre Dame Cathedral in the 1860s

The world is mourning the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Built over a 200-year period between 1163 and 1345, the cathedral has periodically lapsed into disrepair over the centuries. Here are photographs taken in the 1860s, when photography was a new medium and the cathedral’s spire had been recently restored.

Facade of Notre-Dame de Paris. Photograph by Edouard Baldus. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.


View from spire of roofs, statuary, and gable. Photo by Charles Marville, ca. 1860. Prints and Photographs Division, LIbrary of Congress.


The spire, with cityscape beyond. Photo by Charles Marville, ca. 1865. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.


Panorama de Paris. Photo by Charles Soulier, ca. 1865. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

The Prints and Photographs Division also has one of Viollet le Duc’s books about his restoration of Notre Dame, which included providing the new spire.  The entire book is online.


  1. Mary Kelly
    April 16, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I am so sorry to hear and see the tragedy at Notre Dame.

  2. Karen M. Kline
    April 16, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    As the citizens of Paris hold a vigil to support each other and pray together, the world begins to share the grief most feel for this extreme loss.

    It is not a Parisian church or a French cathedral, but a World Monument, a symbol of Hope, Rebirth, Peace.

    Hope seems elusive at this moment, but I see it an unbreakable silver strand connecting us to our past and steadying us as we move into the future.

    Hold on to Hope! Trust!

    Shalom, Karen

  3. Saundra Holland-Neal
    April 16, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    My heart is broken.

  4. Lori
    April 16, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks for the photos! Would love to see more coverage and history on the cathedral!

  5. karmen
    April 16, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    I only hope that the fire was not a terrorist attack. We must learn to valorize the great achievements of humans regardless of whatever a minority is trying to impose or destroy.

  6. irma morales y ríos
    April 16, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    I am so sorry to hear and see the tragedy at Notre Dame.

  7. Elisabeth Parker
    April 17, 2019 at 3:11 am

    Thank you for posting these photographs. A difficult time for France.

  8. Robert Kosin
    April 17, 2019 at 8:19 am

    The photo by Edouard Baldus of the facade looks like the images used in both the 1923 and 1939 movie version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

  9. Humberto Castillo
    April 21, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    El valor histórico consumido por el fuego. Será irreparable.
    Es lamentable.

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