LEGO’s Notre Dame model comes just in time for cathedral reopening

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Notre Dame Cathedral
This is a model of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris made out of LEGO blocks. (OSV News photo/courtesy The LEGO Group)

(OSV News) — As workers complete the rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after a devastating 2019 fire, LEGO fans can assemble their own model of the iconic medieval structure, thanks to a soon-to-be-released kit from the Denmark-based toy manufacturer.

On May 7, the LEGO Group announced it is accepting pre-orders for LEGO Architecture Notre-Dame de Paris, which will be released June 1. The company also will issue a LEGO Art Mona Lisa kit Oct. 1, with both products forming a tribute to Paris’ best-known artistic treasures, according to LEGO.

LEGO’s tribute to Notre Dame

The Notre Dame model — which retails for $229.99 — consists of 4,383 pieces and measures 13 inches high and 8.5 inches wide, with a depth of 16 inches. The roof can be removed to reveal the cathedral’s rose windows, interior columns and signature Gothic arches and towers.

LEGO — named for a contraction of the Danish words “play well” (“leg godt”) — said the kit and accompanying instruction booklet provide “a journey through the architectural evolution of this iconic Parisian landmark.”

Real-life cathedral to reopen in December

The real-life cathedral, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, is set to reopen in December, following five painstaking years of reconstruction after the April 15, 2019, fire, the cause of which remains undetermined but is considered accidental.

Built on the ruins of two previous basilicas, which had been preceded by a temple to the god Jupiter, Notre Dame Cathedral was initiated by Bishop Maurice Sully of Paris in about 1160. Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone in 1163, and in 1189 the high altar was consecrated. Over the next 160 years, the structure was fleshed out with its choir, western facade, nave, porches, chapels and other details.

The LEGO miniature includes the cathedral’s spire — which had been replaced in 1859 with one designed by architect Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and which was destroyed in the 2019 fire — but not the spire’s cross and golden rooster, now updated to resemble a phoenix symbolizing the cathedral’s rebirth.

Senior LEGO designer Rok Žgalin Kobe — a Slovenian native who also created LEGO’s November 2022 Eiffel Tower set — said in the release that he and his team had “tried to bring (the cathedral) to life by not only capturing its outward appearance, but the way and the stages in which the original was built.”

“We wanted LEGO fans to retrace the architectural journey and evolution of this landmark during its construction, to encourage a deeper appreciation for its real-life counterpart,” said Kobe.

Gina Christian

Gina Christian is a National Reporter for OSV News.