Published: 01 Feb 2013 09:42 GMT+01:00 | Print version
Updated: 01 Feb 2013 09:42 GMT+01:00
Driven through the streets of Paris with a police motorcycle escort, nine new bells arrived at the Notre Dame Cathedral on Thursday to be installed for the landmark's 850th anniversary.
The bells, named Dame de Paris (lady of Paris) Maurice, Gabriel, Anne-Geneviève, Benôit-Joseph, Jean Marie, Etienne, Marcel, Marie and finally Dennis, were given a warm welcome as they were delivered to the iconic cathedral in the heart of Paris.
Hundreds lined the streets to watch them be carried on two trucks to the famous landmark, where they were greeted by gathered crowds to the sounds of its old bells ringing.
Four of the old bells, in place since 1856, had deteriorated because of the low-quality metals used, rendering them out of key with the main tenor bell, Emmanuel, considered one of the finest examples in Europe.
The nine new bells will be installed overnight Friday and on display for a month from Saturday, before they will be rung for the first time on March 23 to mark the beginning of the Holy Week before Easter.
Eight of the bells were made in a foundry in Normandy, but the largest Marie, which weighs in at a cool 6.2 tonnes, was made in Asten in the southeastern Netherlands.
The new bells took a year-and-a-half to build and are expected to last 200 to 300 years. The project to build and install them cost 2 million euros ($2.7 million) and was financed by private donations.
The Gothic cathedral on an islet on the River Seine is one of the most visited sites in Paris, attracting 13.6 million visitors in 2011.
The French government may still be celebrating the victory of seeing its divisive gay marriage bill finally signed into law but the battle over the issue of same-sex unions in France now looks set to move from a national to a local level. READ () »
An angry Chinese film producer had some harsh words to say about France this week, suggesting the country had a problem with public safety and arrogance after being the victim of a burglary at the Cannes Film Festival. READ () »
A proposal to introduce more courses in English and other foreign languages at French universities is set to be debated in parliament from Wednesday amid concerns it will undermine the country's soul and identity. READ () »
A 48-year-old divorced Briton locked in a bitter custody battle confessed on Sunday that he had killed his two young children by slitting their throats near the eastern French city of Lyon. READ () »
As Carlo Ancelotti paid fulsome tribute to the retiring David Beckham the Paris Saint Germain manager revealed an announcement on his own future may be imminent. READ () »
France's disgraced former budget minister, forced out of office over a tax fraud scandal, will not seek re-election to his former parliamentary seat, a newspaper reported Sunday. READ () »
Spain's world championship leader Marc Marquez will start on pole in Sunday's French MotoGP on the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans after coming out on top in Saturday's qualifying. READ () »
A man was arrested on Friday after causing a scare at the Cannes Film Festival, where he attacked a TV studio with a gun loaded with blanks and a dummy grenade, police and witnesses said. READ () »
French actor and newly-minted Russian citizen Gerard Depardieu on Saturday compared President Vladimir Putin to the late Pope John Paul II and said the ex-KGB agent is what Russia needs as a leader. READ () »
France became the 14th country to legalise same-sex marriage Saturday after President Francois Hollande signed the measure into law following months of bitter political debate. READ () »