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Top sights in Paris
This Gothic masterpiece took almost 200 years to build, surviving the French Revolution, Huguenots, and World War II. While the cathedral has undergone continuous restoration over the years, a fire in April of 2019 burned down significant portions of the building. While the cathedral’s famous facade remains, many of its iconic features were lost in the blaze. Here are some of the structural details that made Notre Dame a symbol of France around the world.
Placed all around the facade of the building, the phenomenal attention to detail in each of these statues has long caught the eye of visitors from around the world. Unfortunately, the fate of the gargoyles is unclear after the fire.
One of the iconic features of the cathedral, Notre Dame’s rose windows managed to escape the fire relatively unscathed. While previous fires had caused damage, most historians agree that these stained glass windows are salvageable.
Among the most intricate features of the cathedral, Notre Dame’s pipe organs are incredible constructions themselves. The church’s main organ has five keyboards and is one of the most famous musical instruments in the world. Untouched by the 2019 fire, the pipe organs will continue to play music for years to come.
As the home to some of the Catholic church’s most famous and important relics, Notre Dame has become a place of pilgrimage for people of the religion. From the piece of the cross from the crucifixion of Jesus to a gilded crown of thorns, these relics managed to survive the fire.
Made famous in literature by Victor Hugo, the cathedral’s stunning belltowers are some of its most iconic features. While the belltowers are considered to be safe, the fate of the bells themselves is unclear.
Admission to Notre Dame is free, but visitors will need tickets to enter the tower (€8.50) and the crypt (€6). Access to both is included in the price of the Paris Pass.
The closest Metro stop is Cité on the Metro 4 line.
There are 387 steps to reach the panaromas over Paris and see the gargoyles up close, so it's best to know your physical limits.
"On Sundays, all masses are held at the main altar. Arrive at least 10 minutes before the start time to get a seat.
8:30AM - Mass
9:30AM - Lauds service
10:00AM - Gregorian mass of the cathedral chapter
11:30AM - International mass
12:45PM - Mass
5:45PM - Vespers service
6:30PM - Mass
All services are held in French. Masses are also held throughout the week. More details are available at the Notre Dame de Paris official website."
- When should I visit?
- 8:00AM to 6:45PM on weekdays - open until 7:15PM at weekends.
- Is it expensive?
- Access itself is free of charge, although it's a good idea to invest in a tour to get the most out of your visit.
- Will I need a guide?
- It's worth checking out these best-selling tours.
- How to get there
- There are several metro stations in the vicinity of Notre Dame - on lines 1, 4, 7, 10, 11, and 14. The most immediate is Cité on the 4 line.
- Additional information
*Be prepared to wait in a line outside, especially on weekends.
*Dress modestly - you are in a church, after all.
What people are saying about Notre Dame Cathedral
Did a photoshoot for a surprise engagement. There were some last minute changes but everything still went very smoothly. Beks is an amazing photographer and would definitely have her do another shoot for us. We ran late to the shoot and she still stayed for almost the entire hour and did multiple different locations and poses. We LOVE how the photos came out and everyone we share them with say they are gorgeous. Highly recommend for anyone that is doing a surprise proposal or anyone that just wants to have some nice photos of your vacation!
The tickets ahead of time were a must for this venue - especially since the Notre Dame was not open due to reconstruction after the fire. We went just after lunch and the line was around the block. The no-wait tickets saved us well more than an hour to get in. And the interior art/architecture? One of the most memorable sites we visited during our whole trip. Go on an overcast day for even lighting. It was amazingly beautiful and awe-inspiring.
Windows are amazing. Make sure to watch the video on their restoration, as it makes the experience even more inspirational and appreciated. Only accessible via a fairly steep and winding staircase (although not an exceedingly large number of steps - approximately a story/floor - they are uneven and require attentiveness).
It was great that we had to wait less to get in to the Saine Chapelle, in comparison to the people who were just buying their tickets there. But at the Conciergerie there was no additional line for people with priority tickets..so it had made no value added..but there was no long line fortunately ;)
Thank you to our guide Francoise, who made our day so easy and enjoyable. She shared so much information about the French culture as well as specific information on each place we visited. We found the day so relaxing being able to take in the sights without feeling stressed about ticket lines.