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6, Parvis Notre-Dame, Île de la Cité (4th Arr.)
(33) 01-42-34-56-10 | www.notredamedeparis.fr
HOURS/TIMESCathedral: Mon.-Fri.: 8:00am-6:45pm; Sat.-Sun.: 8:00am-7:15pm; Tower: Apr. 1-Sept. 30: Daily: 10:00am-6:30pm; Oct. 1-Mar. 31: Daily: 10:00am-5:30pm; Jan. 1, May 1, and Dec. 25: Closed; Crypt: Tue.-Sun.: 10:00am-6:00pm; Mon. and public holidays: Closed; Treasury: Mon.-Fri.: 9:30am-6:00pm; Sat.: 9:30am-6:30pm; Sun.: 1:30pm-6:30pm
PRICE (ENTRANCE)Cathedral: Free; Tower: Adult: EUR 8; Youth (under 18): Free; Crypt: Adult: EUR 4; Youth (under 13): Free; Treasury: Adult: EUR 3; Youth (13-25): EUR 1.60; Under 12: Free
POPULAR TIMESSummer; Christmas; Holy Week
RESERVE IN ADVANCENo
WAIT TIME WITHOUT RESERVATIONNone
HIGHLIGHTSThe tower; stained glass windows
METROCite; St-Michel; Hotel de Ville
Begun in 1163, completed in 1345, and popularized the world over (and saved from destruction) by Victor Hugo in the 19th century, this Gothic cathedral is famous for its 13th century stained glass, its innovative flying buttresses, and the tales of hunchbacks living in its towers. Besides visiting the main cathedral (which was restored to its medieval grandeur and then some by genius architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century), you can also climb the 387 steps to the top of the South Tower for panoramic views of the city and close-ups of the gargoyles. If you’re into history, recently discovered crypts under the cathedral offer an insight into the architectural and urban history of Paris by revealing everything from Roman baths to Haussmannian debris.
GO HERE WITH
History and architecture buffs; friends; family
WHY WE LIKE IT
It’s a splendid example of Gothic architecture (we especially appreciate the ornate carvings around the entrance and the graceful flying buttresses around the back). Don’t miss the small treasury exhibit inside the cathedral, which showcases some of Notre-Dame’s most valuable holdings–it gives an interesting glimpse into the workings of a historic Catholic cathedral. And of course, huffing and puffing on the stairs aside, the climb to the top of the tower is definitely worth it for the stunning views.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
It’s confusing that the cathedral, the tower, the treasury, and the crypts are all under different management, so you have to buy separate tickets for each.
GOOD TO KNOW
If you’d like to attend mass, it’s free and no reservations are required–just try to arrive 15-30 minutes before the ceremony. (Baptisms, marriages, and funerals are not held here because it’s no longer a parish.) The entrance to the tower is on the outside of the cathedral. In June, July, and August, the tower is open until 11:00pm on weekends. Keep in mind that the tower is sometimes closed or partially closed in poor weather. In order to avoid crowds, the best time to visit is on weekday mornings.
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