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The treasure of Notre-Dame de Paris

As restoration work on the cathedral enters its final phase, the Musée du Louvre is devoting a unique exhibition to the treasury of Notre-Dame de Paris. This treasure, which brings together the objects and priestly vestments necessary for worship, relics and reliquaries, manuscript books and other precious objects donated out of piety, will then move to the cathedral’s neo-Gothic sacristy, built by Jean-Baptiste Lassus and Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc between 1845 and 1850 to house them.

Featuring over 120 works, this exhibition offers a condensed account of the history of this treasure, placing it in the context of its thousand-year history: from its origins in the Middle Ages to its resurrection in the 19th century and its blossoming under Viollet-le-Duc during the Second Empire.

Going back to the origins of the treasure, the exhibition reveals its diversity and richness, in particular through the manuscripts that have come down to us. Although the reliquaries and liturgical silverware were completely destroyed during the French Revolution, paintings, drawings and engravings provide a glimpse into the past. For the coronation of Napoleon I at Notre-Dame de Paris, the treasury was reconstituted and enriched with insignificant relics, in particular the Crown of Thorns and the Wood of the Cross from the former treasury of the Sainte-Chapelle (relics not shown in the Louvre), for which new reliquaries were ordered. Between 1845 and 1865, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was in charge of restoring the cathedral and rebuilding the sacristy, which housed the treasure. He proposed the creation of new liturgical furnishings and reliquaries in harmony with the Gothic architecture. For the first time, the exhibition takes visitors back in time to the history of the treasure before the French Revolution: inventories, historical accounts, paintings, illuminated manuscripts, engravings and other figurative documents, as well as a number of surviving works, provide a partial account of the treasure’s long history since Merovingian times, and offer a glimpse of a wealth that has partly disappeared, comparable to that of the most dazzling objects created for Notre-Dame de Paris in the 19th century.
Date: from 18 October 2023 to 29 January 2024
Venue: Louvre Museum
Address : 75001
Timing : from 9 am to 6 pm
Metro : Line 1 and 7 stations Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre