March 25 - The new bells of Notre Dame Cathedral sound for the first time to mark the start of Holy Week. Sharon Reich reports.
Notre Dame Cathedral is ringing in its 850th birthday with a new sound. France's most famous cathedral had four new bells installed, all chiming in perfect pitch. That's quite a contrast from the old bells, which were considered Europe's most out of tune church bells. The bells were inaugurated at an official ceremony that kicked off Palm Sunday celebrations. Visitors to the cathedral were in awe of the impressive sound they made. SOUNDBITE: Cathedral visitor Patricia Kerserho saying (English): "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," SOUNDBITE: Cathedral visitor Jennifer Rasamimanana saying (English): "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." 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.