Lego announced on May 7, 2024, a set of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, joining the ranks of LEGO’s models of world-famous monuments including the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramid of Giza. / Credit: LEGO Group

CNA Staff, May 11, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

In 2019 the world mourned the damage done to the medieval Catholic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris by a fire that devastated the 315-foot-tall spire and roof of the 861-year-old monument. A restoration is in progress, though it has been delayed by COVID-19 and leadership changes. 

Visitors should be able to visit Notre Dame by the end of 2024, but for eager pilgrims and tourists who can’t wait, the smaller-sized LEGO set may do in the meantime. 

LEGO announced on May 7 a LEGO set of Notre-Dame de Paris, joining the ranks of LEGO’s models of world-famous monuments including the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Released alongside a LEGO set of the Mona Lisa as part of the LEGO Architecture Collection, the LEGO Notre-Dame has been called “one of the theme’s most ambitious sets to date” by LEGO news and review site BrickFanatics.

Released alongside a LEGO set of the Mona Lisa as part of the LEGO Architecture Collection, the LEGO Notre-Dame has been called “one of the theme’s most ambitious sets to date” by Lego news and review site BrickFanatics. Credit: LEGO Group

The building process is based on the historically accurate order that Notre Dame was built, up until the 2019 fire. About a foot tall, 8 inches wide, and more than a foot deep, the highly detailed set is made up of 4,383 pieces and is priced at about $230, available for preorder on the company’s website. The building features intricate plastic imitations of the historic cathedral’s flying buttresses, columns, pillars, and even 12 small “nanofigures” representing the 12 apostles on the roof. One nanofigure faces inward, representing the cathedral’s architect, Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc.

Notre-Dame itself took 182 years to build, and the set follows that model, split into four time periods: 1163 to 1182, 1182 to 1200, 1200 to 1225, and 1225 to 1786; though it should only take builders about eight hours total to complete. 

“In designing the LEGO Architecture Notre-Dame de Paris, we tried to bring it to life by not only capturing its outward appearance, but the way and the stages in which the original was built,” said set designer Rok Žgalin Kobe in the LEGO press release. “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.”

This is not the first LEGO creation to imitate historic Catholic buildings. 

Father Bob Simon, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Philadelphia, built a 500,000-piece replica of the Vatican several years ago. The work of art spanned 14 feet by 6 feet and was featured in the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia when Pope Francis visited the city in 2015. 

Simon also built a 300,000-piece replica of the main building of the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater, in 2023 at the request of Notre Dame’s associate vice president for storytelling and engagement, Jim Small.

The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen in Billund, Denmark, and was named for two Danish words, “Leg Godt,” which means “play well.” The family-owned company now sells products in more than 120 countries worldwide.