Paris, Notre-Dame Cathedral, France

Paris, Notre-Dame Cathedral, France

In 1989, the National Office of the Historical Monuments and Sites of the City of Paris decide to renew the lighting design of the cathedral of Notre-Dame, which dated back to 1954. The lighting design project stops in 1992 to allow for the restoration of the facades. In 1999, the city of Paris reignites the project, and asks the1989 contest laureate lighting designers for an entire redesign of the initial project. After the 2019 fire, only the lighting of the front facade remains, all the light fixtures on the building have been damaged.

The concept incorporated the renewed color, softness and luminosity of the cleaned up stone. The lighting design reduced contrasts, and got richer through a subtle emphasis on statues.It was realized through a unique warm white tone, and ranged from the background lighting of the facades – far away and diffuse, to accent lighting – positioned on the monument, made of highlights and illuminated accents outlining entrance gates, architectural details and stone guardrails. As a result, the composition of the Western facade, its storey-based volume and the subtle unfurling of its double skin made of stone could be read at night.

The lighting design of the South and North facade and the radiating chapel were realized in continuity with the Western facade. The flying buttresses were softly and gently up-lit. The bell tower and the apostles at its base were delicately up-lit to keep watch over the nighttime Parisian sky.


Lighting design: Concepto in collaboration with Light Cibles
Project management: GIE Eurec
Contracting owner: City of Paris & Lead Architect of Historical Monuments Benjamin Mouton
Completion: 2007

Photo credit: Yannick BOSCHAT