Notre Dame's Big Bell Marie Leaves Netherlands for France


Marie, the biggest of all the new bells being made for Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral on its 850th anniversary next year, left its foundry in the Netherlands on Thursday headed for France.

"Marie left the foundry around 2 pm and should arrive in Normandy for final adjustments around 11 am tomorrow," the head of the Eijsbouts royal bell foundry, Joost Eijsbouts, told Agence France Presse.

The four bells in Notre Dame's North Tower were taken down in February to be replaced by eight new ones in 2013.

Four of the North Tower's original bells were removed during the 1789 revolution and never replaced.

Marie, a great or tenor bell, will be installed in the South Tower.

The biggest of the new bells was made in Asten in the southeastern Netherlands, and the other eight at the Villedieu foundry in Normandy.

The old bells, in place since 1856, had deteriorated because of the low-quality metals used, rendering them out of key with the other tenor bell, Emmanuel, considered one of the finest examples in Europe.

Marie is made from a mix of tin and copper and weighs around six tonnes, with a diameter and height of just over 2 metres, Eijsbouts said.

Marie has been designed to sound exactly like Emmanuel, Eijsbouts said, adding that the bell would head for Paris on February 2.

The bells are to be put in place the following week and inaugurated at the end of March.

The campanological extravaganza is costing around two million euros (2.6 million dollars), financed entirely through donations.

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