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Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Attractions Ile de la Cité Free
5 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Time Out Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame was constructed between 1163 and 1334, and the amount of time and money spent on it reflected the city's growing prestige. The west front remains a high point of Gothic art for the balanced proportions of its twin towers and rose window, and the three doorways with their rows of saints and sculpted tympanums: the Last Judgement (centre), Life of the Virgin (left) and Life of St Anne (right). Inside, take a moment to admire the long nave with its solid foliate capitals and high altar with a marble Pietà by Coustou.

The cathedral was plundered during the French Revolution, then rededicated to the cult of Reason. The original statues of the Kings of Judah from the west front were torn down by the mob (who thought they represented the kings of France) and rediscovered during the construction of a car park in 1977. By the 19th-century, 'Our Lady' was looking pretty shabby.

Victor Hugo, whose novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) had been a great success, led the campaign for its restoration. But the man behind the building work was architect Viollet-le-Duc.  To truly appreciate his masonry, climb up the towers. The route runs up the north tower and down the south. Between the two you get a close-up view of his gallery of chimeras - the fantastic birds and hybrid beasts designed along the balustrade. After a detour to see the Bourdon (the massive bell Quasimodo rang in Hugo's novel), a staircase leads to the top of the south tower where the views are utterly breathtaking.


Venue name: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Address: Place du Parvis Notre-Dame

Opening hours: 8am-6.45pm Mon-Fri; 8am-7.15pm Sat, Sun. Towers Apr-Sept 10am-6.30pm daily (June, Aug until 11pm Sat, Sun). Oct-Mar 10am-5.30pm daily
Transport: Métro Hotel de Ville / RER St-Michel / Cluny-La-Sorbonne
Price: free. Towers €8; €5 reductions; free under-18s. PMP
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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I've been to Paris a couple of times before but have never really had the opportunity to properly see all it has to offer as an adult. With a bit of spare time between meetings, I figured what could be better, or indeed more Parisien, than a walk along the Seine culminating under the Eiffel Tower (or Tour d'Eiffel), with a mandatory stop off at the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris. 

I was up uncharacteristically early and it was mid-week but was still very surprised that there was no queue when I arrived so was able to walk straight in. The catholic cathedral, considered to be one of the most impressive examples of French medieval and gothic architecture, is just so vast it was difficult to take it all in; between the gargoyles, chimeras, columns, spires and of course, the infamous giant and oh-so vibrant stained glass windows, anyone who visits this must-see Paris attraction is in for a truly unique if-not spiritual experience...and I'm not even religious!

moderatorStaff Writer

Highly recommend visiting the Cathedral when a service is on even if you have no/or another religious persuasion - extremely atmospheric and the building is a marvel