PARIS -- Thousands have gathered outside Notre Dame Cathedral to hear the inaugural ringing of nine gargantuan new bells at the Paris landmark.
The bells, the largest of which weighs in at 6 1/2 tons, or 6,000 kilograms, were ordered for the cathedral's 850th birthday -- to replace the discordant "ding dang" of the previous four 19th century chimes.
Saturday was the first time the bells have been rung since they were delivered to the cathedral in late January. They join the cathedral's oldest surviving bell, named Emmanuel, to restore the 10-bell harmony originally conceived for Notre Dame's bell towers.
Onlooker Jean-Claude Blanchard says, "It was a stirring moment, a nice sound that we won't forget because these (bells) will stay for centuries and we were here today."