- Title: FRANCE: New Notre Dame bells do their first official sounding
- Date: 23rd March 2013
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (MARCH 23, 2013) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL WITH CROWD GATHERED PEOPLE TAKING PICTURES
- Embargoed: 7th April 2013 13:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Religion,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA1YVEAZRTLYTJEL5WO1EBWV9OJ
- Story Text: Forget the good old famous bong-bonged of the cathedral of Notre Dame that could be heard in the center of Paris since the middle of the XIXth century.
The voices of Notre Dame's new bells made their first official ring on Saturday (March 23) during an official ceremony kicking off the Holy week celebrations.
The ceremony welcomed many french officials and the leaders of the Catholic French church.
French Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris, announced the sound of the ten bells.
"To mark the jubilee of the 850 years of our so beautiful cathedral, to mark the palm feast and the Sunday of the Passion, I am honored to launch as one says in latin "hic et nunc "the ten bells of the cathedral Notre-Dame of Paris," Andre Vingt-Trois said.
The Cathedral's four former bells - installed in the 1850s -were judged unfit for their purpose and removed in 2012 with a project to replace them launched as part of Notre Dame's 850th birthday celebrations.
The bells -which were cast in a Normandy bell foundry- were put on display in the nave for visitors to appreciate the intricate designs of French artist Virginie Bassetti before being installed for good in the belfry, where they will now chime for an expected 250-300 years.
The foundry prides itself on combining medieval techniques with 21st century gadgetry.
Molten bronze is poured into moulds made of clay and horse manure, but they are designed using computer imaging which adjusts the size and thickness of each bell according to the precise rules of harmony.
Visitors to the cathedral on the first official ring of the bells, were in awe of the impressive sound they made.
"Knowing the long time during which the former bells have been there I think it's very important to be here and attend this event," said Patricia Kerserho, a catholic passer-by.
"The sound is something you share with other human beings who altogether participate to something , to a common belief, who reach at a certain moment a unity which overcome them," she added.
"It's very moving to participate to a ceremony which tells 850 years of history, eight and a half centuries. And I think we are very honored to be the heiress of those who built these houses in honor of god," said Solange Laurent a Ivorian born Catholic woman living in Paris Another visitor said she would come regularly to the cathedral just for the beauty of the music.
"Oh it was fabulous ! You know I bring my family sometimes to Notre-Dame just for the music on Sundays. We would come in and sit quietly and listen so it's already a wonderful place to hear music but to come and hear the bells which have so much historical significance, so much meaning is amazing. And to hear with all these people here it's like a huge party," said Jennifer Rasamimanana, an American Catholic woman living in Paris.
Some of the old bells have been put away in a foundry, as the French authorities have to decide what to do with them after they refused requests from cultural institutions to get them.
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