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Bells are ringing in tune on the Ile de la Cité in Paris
As part of the jubilee celebration of the 850th anniversary of Paris’ Notre Dame de Paris, nine new bells were installed to replace four dilapidated bells in the renowned cathedral in the heart of the city. The new bells first rang on March 23rd, in time for Palm Sunday and Easter week. The sound of the new bells is impressive.
All but one of the 20 original bells were melted down to make canons during the French Revolution. Replacement bells were commissioned by Napoleon in 1856; but in the words of the Diocese of Paris, they were “mediocre in quality and of discordant tonality.” Translation: they were inexpensive and rang out of tune.
The new bells were made using medieval methods to replicate the 17th century sound. Each bell is named in honor of important Catholic figures, and adorned with friezes reflecting their stories. The largest of the bells, the six-ton bourdon bell Marie, was cast in a blend of copper and tin using a centuries-old formula at Holland’s Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry. The other eight bells were cast in a foundry in Normandy. They will ring alongside the one remaining original bell, Emmanuel, which has retained its extraordinary quality over the years.
With prices topping 14,525€/m2 on the Ile de la Cite and surrounding neighborhoods, privileged Paris residents have heard the bells of Notre Dame ring every 15 minutes without fail for over 150 years. Read more about this historic island in the middle of Paris here.
For Paris visitors, a week of life within earshot of the bells is a nice treat in this beautiful short-term rental apartment around the corner from the cathedral.
More than just the new bells, the jubilee celebration includes a full calendar of conferences, concerts and events throughout the spring. On April 24th, opera lovers will be treated to a special production of La Vierge by Jules Massenet, starring Paris-born soprano Norah Amsellem.