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Review: LEGO 21061 Notre-Dame de Paris

LEGO takes on one of Paris’ most well-known architectural wonders that isn’t the Eiffel Tower with 21061 Notre-Dame de Paris, launching as part of the LEGO Architecture range on 1 June 2024.

Cutting to the chase – this is an exquisite model that exceeds even the highest expectations I had for this cultural and religious landmark and is an absolute LEGO masterpiece that’s worthy of your attention.

Whether you’re passionate about Paris, history, cathedrals or French Gothic architecture, there’s so much to immerse yourself into, so without any delay, let’s just into this review of 21061 Notre-Dame de Paris ahead of its launch on 1 June 2024.

Let us give thanks that LEGO has decided to bless us with such a fine LEGO Architecture set in the year of our lord, 2024.

Special thanks to LEGO for sending this set over for review.


21061 Notre-Dame de Paris Set Details

21061 Notre-Dame de Paris

Set Number

21061

Set Name

Notre-Dame de Paris

Minifigures

N/A

Pieces

4,383

Retail Price

US$229.99 / AU$349.99 / £199.99 / €229.99 / CAD$299.99

Theme

LEGO Archictecture

Release Date

1 June 2024

Building the LEGO Notre-Dame Cathedral

Here’s some work in progress shots of the build of LEGO Notre-Dame!

There are 34 numbered bags in total, and the build took me the better part of about 10 hours, building at a brisk pace.

The build is honestly, one of the main highlights of the set. The set designer Rok Žgalin Kobe did something incredibly innovative with the build, as you build the Notre-Dame Cathedral in chronological order, just as the majestic structure took shape, beginning from the laying of the foundation in 1163.

If you’re a history buff, you will relish what LEGO have done with Notre-Dame. Plenty of interesting factoids, and important construction milestones are scattered throughout the build, giving context to the different sections you build.

It’s a journey through history, and tremendously educational, mostly for myself as I wasn’t that intimately familiar with the entire history of the Notre-Dame cathedral, but emerged from the build gaining more appreciation of the history, and 2 centuries of construction to build such a monumental structure.

The instructions being so educational, and the build process mimicking the actual construction through the years and it being so seamlessly integrated is an absolute game-changer for historical sets like these.

This really made this set stand out, and introduced a whole new dimension into what I now expect from a LEGO set.

While I mostly enjoyed the build, and how meticulously detailed each section is, be warned that there are a lot of repetitive sections throughout the build.

This step, where you place 40 Star Wands that need to be angled a certain way was particularly painful, and there are many more like these where you build dozens of smaller segments, over and over again.

No wonder the real thing took over 200 years to build!

The Completed Model

The completed LEGO Notre-Dame de Paris is just stunning, and hands down, one of the best LEGO Architecture models I’ve ever built, and is quite simply, a masterpiece.

At over 4,000-pieces, you really do feel the weight of the history and significance of this cathedral, and LEGO’s big bet with this being the biggest Architecture set by piece count was absolutely the right call to adequately represent one of the most well-known cathedrals in history in LEGO form.

The model is absolutely massive, and packed with details for your eyes to feast on from nearly every angle, accurately replicating many of Notre-Dame’s most recognisable architectural features.

Some of my favourite details are the Flying Buttresses which adorn the exterior and have come to define French gothic architecture.

Many of Notre-Dame’s iconic features like the Red Door can be spotted here.

And here’s a closer look at the Iconic Rose window, and even a smaller one which uses a tan hubcap to great effect.

The larger rose windows are printed 4×4 dishes – one of the few new printed decorations you’ll find the build apart from the name tile.

Here’s another Rose Window, on the West Facade.

Another ingenious technique employed are these bars with stop rings, which have a hollow core – these are meant to represent the Gargoyles, which are used for drainage to divert water away from the walls.

Here’s a view of the East side Cathedral.

And here’s a look at the two square towers of the West Facade.

And those numerous wands that were so painstaking to put into place, but the visual effect makes it all worth it.

And here’s a look at the cathedral spire, including the sand green statuettes which represent the statues of the 12 apostles. One of the statues, facing the spire is meant to represent architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, one of the architects of Notre-Dame, as he gazes at the spire, whereas the other statues gaze out towards Paris.

The roof of Notre-Dame is also removable, allowing you to peer into the building and admire the interiors. In this view, you get a better look at the Ribbed Vaults, as well as the black and white chequered floor.

Obviously, when completed, it can be hard to appreciate all the details, but during the build, the tiling was quite pleasant and enjoyable, plus you really get the full sense of the pillars during the build.

And here’s the view from above, where you can get the best view of the shape of the cross, which is typical of most French cathedrals.

And last but not least, some trees for some greenery! These add a really nice pop of colour to the otherwise mostly tan structure.

Oh and if these trees look familiar, they’re the same as the ones from 10307 Eiffel Tower, another Parisian icon also designed by Rok Žgalin Kobe! Guess this means both sets are to scale?

Final Thoughts

21061 Notre-Dame de Paris is a LEGO masterpiece and an undeniable classic that is a worthy LEGO re-creation of one of the most famed cathedrals in the world.

This set truly transcends time and space, taking you on a journey through history, and the over 200 years it took to build the Notre-Dame de Paris.

As a LEGO set, it’s just awe-inspiring to see a LEGO Architecture set at this scale and ambition. Each and every one of the 4,383-pieces used to construct this icon is intentionally used to great effect, and you can really tell that the designer Rok Žgalin Kobe spared no expense, and poured his entire heart and master of the brick to bring LEGO Notre-Dame to life.

It’s a hefty set that just looks sublime, and despite it being one of the most expensive LEGO Architecture set, it’s also incredible value when you consider that the US$229.99 / AU$349.99 loosely translates to about $0.05 per piece, which is unheard of in this day and age.

Add in an educational building process, where you build Notre-Dame in historical sequence, which galvanises the entire essence of this set together, and you have one of the best LEGO releases of 2024 in a box.

If you’re passionate about Paris, history, Christianity, or Gothic architecture, you need to absolutely make space for 21061 Notre-Dame de Paris when it releases on 1 June 2024.

Speaking of the religious nature of this, and LEGO’s prior stance on not producing sets based on religion, I think that Notre-Dame transcends its original purpose as a place of worship, and is now fully embedded into the Parisian and French identity, and I am actually excited for what this means for future LEGO Architecture sets.

Maybe if this sells well, it’ll convince LEGO to take on other notable architectural icons which have religious roots, like Sagrada Familia or Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

21061 Notre-Dame de Paris is a revelation, and a blessing to LEGO Architecture fans, which is why I’ve awarded this set a perfect 5-star rating, only the second one I’ve handed out so far in 2024, reserved for the very best of the best releases.

Final Score

5
Build
Despite many repetitive sections, the educational walk through history, and build sequence makes every step worth savouring.
5
Display Value
Just a stunning display model that’s large, and contains a wealth of details for you to admire up close
5
Real Value
Unrivalled price per piece, and so much value for so much LEGO.
4
Innovation
Integrating the historical construction sequence into the build process is a revelation
5
Keepability
A stunningly beautiful model that deserves prime LEGO display real estate

Audience rating

How would you rate this set?
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Thanks for reading! 21061 Notre-Dame de Paris will be available from LEGO.com or your local LEGO Store from 1 June 2024, with pre-orders available now.

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22 responses to “Review: LEGO 21061 Notre-Dame de Paris”

  1. Gunta007 says:

    Wondering how this set would fit into a modular city with other Lego sets. Would it be of appropriate scale?

  2. Metalbeard says:

    Does it include the phase where it burned and then more phases of the rebuild?

  3. Very Impressed says:

    I hope this set will mark the beginning of Lego making more officially licensed sets based on churches.

    Imagine churches like I’m a Saint Basil’s in Moscow, St Peter’s in Rome, or the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. All those and more made into amazing sets. I’d love to see that happen someday.

    I very much want to pick this set up and add it to my collection.

    In the meantime, let’s get characters from The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the next line of Disney collectible minifigures!

  4. Daniel says:

    I did a quick calculation which I believe is right.
    This set is 35cm tall, the real Notre Dame Cathedral is 33m tall, so I think it’s 1:106 scale roughly.
    The Eiffel Tower set is 149cm tall, the real Eiffel Tower is 300m tall, so it’s roughly 1:201 scale.
    That means to scale right either this set would have to half the size ~16cm tall or the Eiffel Tower would have to be twice the height ~3 friggin metres!
    It does show how truly massive the Eiffel Tower is and why it was so impactful when it was built. It was the tallest human made structure when built, taking over from the Great Pyramid of Giza which held the record for several thousand years.

    • Jay Ong says:

      The math checks out! Maybe you could be a little cheeky with the perspective, but yeah, I don’t think a 3m LEGO set would be feasible!

  5. Daniel says:

    smaller than that i think

  6. Felipe L says:

    I rate this review 5 stars! I initially had only a small interest in this set. However, you really helped me appreciate its amazing and educational details.

    • Jay Ong says:

      Yeah, I was expecting it to be a good build, but the little details that emerged during the build, and watching it come together made all the difference.

  7. Honbushu says:

    Wow – excellent review and photos!

  8. Deborah Tolland says:

    This set looks amazing! I can feel your enthusiasm for it through your writing! I can’t wait for this to be available..it’s hopefully going to be one of my favorites.

    • Jay Ong says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words! It blended both of my interests, history and LEGO, so I really enjoyed the entire process. I hope you enjoy it as much when you get the chance to build it!

  9. Alejandra Campos says:

    Love your photos, details, and enthusiasm oozing through the blog!!
    Looks fantastic!!

  10. Legolover4000 says:

    I’d love for them to do Hagia Sofia!
    So many iconic and beautiful buildings are religious, I hope this set does really well and we see more stunning architecture sets in the future!

  11. Louis Silvia says:

    Your enthusiasm for this set is so refreshing. Up to this point, I was excited for another architecture set. Your review tells me that it is so much more! I am so glad that the release date is less than a month away.

    • Jay Ong says:

      Yeah, this was such as good build and it’s just so hefty as a model itself. I hope you enjoy it as much when you have the opportunity to build it!

  12. Isaac says:

    To bad they did not add a pipe organ

  13. Kathy says:

    Is it roughly the same scale as the Eiffel Tower?

    • Jay Ong says:

      Kind of, but not really. As Daniel mentioned, the LEGO Eiffel Tower needs to be about 3m tall to be properly in scale. But if you aren’t that particular about “scale”, I think they both fit in well together.

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