Treasury of Notre Dame

Treasury of Notre Dame, like the other treasures of religious buildings, retains the objects intended for the liturgy of the Catholic Church. Vases sacred, ornaments and liturgical books serve to the celebration of the mass, to other offices and the administration of the sacraments.

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Treasury of Notre Dame is traditionally placed under the responsibility of the chapter, college of canons charged with the exercise of worship. First inventory date back to 1343 and 1416. Good times and times of crisis succeed: parts were sent to the melting or sold. This treasure was nevertheless among the richest in France until the Revolution of 1789 where he was brutally shattered. No object of the ancient treasure remains.

The re-enactment of the Treasury

The discount at Notre Dame in 1804 of several Holy relics of the Passion, preserved before the Revolution to the Sainte-Chapelle, marks the beginning of the reconstitution of the treasure. Chapter and donations, often illustrious personalities or clergymen, controls are added to it. Devastated again during the riots of 1830 and the bag of the Archbishopric in 1831, the Treasury knows a revival with the restoration of the Cathedral and the reconstruction of the sacristy as early as 1849 by architect Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc which attaches to give a consistent look by adopting the Gothic architecture, landscaping and goldsmithing.

850e anniversary of the Cathedral in 2013, the Treasury has a new museography, respecting the environment and the furniture required in the 19th century by its directors.

Choice of the works on display, signage, development and explanation of the historical dimension, design, lighting, all contribute to make intelligible to the public the meaning, function and the artistic value of the pieces presented, in accordance with the amenities desired by Viollet-le-Duc and who, in this particular place, have any legitimacy.

Renovations of the Treasury were held from January 9 to February 10, 2012. The new Museum is accessible to the public since February 11, 2012.

Opening hours: every day of the week from 9:30 to 18:00

Last entry 15 minutes before.

These times may be changed based on exceptional celebrations.

Participation fees 5EU.

In France, more than two hundred and fifty churches offer a treasure to visit. The criteria for the objects to a Treasury changed little over the centuries even if the intentions underlying their conservation have evolved. It comes first to preserve the valuable objects of worship and their sacredness.

Any object that is in contact with the body of Christ in the form of the host and the consecrated wine is sacred in nature and, for this reason, was until recently made in a precious material or at least covered with a precious material. This category the chalices who receive the precious blood, the ciboria where are the consecrated, the custodes which are used to carry the wafers, the chalices used to present the host to the adoration of the faithful.

Many others objects used for the celebration of mass. : buretteset their tray, Ewer and basin, or the administration of the sacraments: baptismal (or chremiers) containing the chrism for baptism and the ordinations and the oil for the sacrament the sick has been made in precious metals and with a great search.

We also find in the treasures the attributes specific to the Bishops : mitres, croziers and rings, as well as the processional cross and many crucifix.

Them liturgical vestments: impeller, chasubles, dalmatics, copes, stoles, as the old and illuminated books support hard to be exposed to light and require great care.

Next to the items used in the celebration of worship, and in greater numbers than these, we find the reliquaries. In various forms: Cross, hunts, medallions, monstrances, custodes, statuettes, busts etc..., they close the remains of saints that the Church honors a special devotion. Notre Dame de Paris has relics of many saints but especially it is home to the Very Holy relics of the Passion of the Christ acquired by St. Louis and preserved in the Holy Chapel until the Revolution.


The value of these objects is, obviously, to the scarcity of materials: gold, vermeil, precious stones. She is also due to the talent of the artists and craftsmen who executed them.

Notre Dame has received since its construction over the centuries the often lavish gifts by which sovereigns and large were demonstrating their attachment to the Church at the same time as their sponsorship. Their value can also keep the historical circumstances surrounding their origin: memories of the arrival of a Pontiff as the chasuble worn by Jean-Paul II during the world day of youth in 1997 or, in a most tragic way, objects used by the three archbishops of Paris who died violently in the nineteenth century.

Until the Revolution, the treasure was openly considered to be a possible pool of money for times of crisis : epidemics, famines, foreign wars and civil wars. Either at the urging of the King, by itself, the chapter of Notre-Dame, always sent to the melting of precious objects to make currency. Thus disappeared the vermeil of St. Simeon and St. Andrew reliquary offered by Philippe-Auguste, the statuette of Saint Denis decorated with sapphires and pearls to arms of Isabeau of Bavaria sold from 1429, the bust of Saint Agnes adorned with a rich Sapphire surrounded by eight gems gold and wearing a gold olive.

During the civil war between Armagnacs and Burgundians at the beginning of the 15th century, then during the wars of religion of new sales and typefaces took place in 1562 and in 1577: the reliquary with the head of St Philip gold, covered with precious stones offered by the Duke of Berry in 1414 was sent to the cast in 1562.

In the middle of the eighteenth century still, in December 1759, during the seven years ' war, at the request of Louis XV, ten candlesticks of money - including four offered by the last Bishop of Paris Henri de Gondi in 1607 (Paris was erected by Archbishop at his death) - six vermeil candlesticks given fifty years earlier by the Cardinal of Noailles, a large stoup a lamppost, a large Chapel XVII and a great lamp of money given by Anne of Austria in 1636 were brought to the Mint to be melted.


RevolutionAfter having nationalized church property (November 2, 1789). ordered the confiscation and the melting of the objects useless to the cult (3 March 1791), then objects of worship themselves (September 10, 1792). The treasure disappeared completely and prior to this period objects that are there now came later: none come to Notre Dame. After the Concordat, the treasure was recreatedin part thanks to the donations of Napoleon. Then came restoration where the close alliance of the throne and the altar brought significant enrichments. The riots of 1830 and especially that of February 1831 brought many disappearances. No serious disaster has reached the treasure since that time despite a few flights. Since the law of Separation of Church and State (1905), it is the State that owns the objects entered before inventories that were then made.


It is most often that objects entered the Treasury grant. Under the Ancien Régime, all the Kings and many of their family members have made some present at Notre Dame.
In 1789, the Treasury still had the table of gold, said San Sebastian, offered by the Duke of Berry in 1406. This tradition was perpetuated in the nineteenth century, the sovereigns passing command to artisans renowned for a happy event of their reign : Te Deum following a victory (monstrance said of Louis XVIII), princely baptism (ornaments offered by Napoleon III in 1856 on the occasion of the baptism of the Prince Imperial), marriage or Holy (major donations of Napoleon in 1804).

Several friends popes of the Church in Paris have also enriched Treasury (calyx of Léon XIII, of Jean XXIII) as well as the sovereigns in visit (Cross offered by the Emperor of Ethiopia).

Prelates and canons treasure bequeathed the chalices, ciboria, chapels they had been offered by their family or of the faithful in their Ministry.


The Treasury of Notre Dame de Paris square has varied little over the centuries, and he was always kept in a building located perpendicularly to the Cathedral at the level of the chapels of the ambulatory South. Old buildings also housed classrooms sacristy to the use of the desservants of the Church as is still the case.

In the eighteenth century these ancillary buildings threatened ruin and the architect Soufflot (1714-1781) was asked to develop plans for a new sacristy, the first stone was laid on Thursday, August 12, 1755. This main sacristy built in two years claimed mix Greek and Gothic styles and was hurt all of the Cathedral. Basically, access by a staircase to two ramps to a spherical, vaulted room where, in carved cabinets, hunts and relics; the ornaments were deposited on the upper floor. This building built in the test of the time did not even live a century. The July 1830 and February 1831 riots ravaged the Archdiocese and the sacristy to the extent that it had to renounce to restore them.

Only the sacristy had to be rebuilt between 1845 and 1850 by Lassus and Viollet-le-Duc around a small cloister square whose two arms provide access to the Cathedral. The closest part of the transept is used for worship, the other part houses the treasure. The stained glass windows of the cloisterperformed by Gerente, tell the life of Sainte Genevieve. In the treasure room, stained-glass windows are the work of Marshal of Metz, they represent the bishops and archbishops of Paris. Landscaping, furniture and stained glass of the Treasury were executed under the direction of Viollet-le-Duc. Wild and Milon realized the masonry; Lechesne, the ornamental sculpture; Baker, the locksmith; Mirgon, furniture.


The great Architect Restorer of the Cathedral, inspired by the religious art of the thirteenth century, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, is also with its predecessor Lassus, the creator of the new sacristy (1845-1850).

Viollet-le-Duc strives to reconstruct a goldsmith of medieval style. But, beyond the copy or adaptation of the medieval forms, he also produced real creations like the Paschal candlestick or the reliquary of the Crown of thorns. He personally drew large cabinets and the chapiers of the treasure room. The goldsmiths Bachelet, Poussielgue-Rusand and Chertier carried out its projects.

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