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Notre Dame Cathedral

Photo credit: MPD01605 / Foter / CC BY-SA
Notre Dame Cathedral
  • (interesting)
  • less than 1 km
  • Easy
  • Free
  • 2 hours
  • 1 1

One of Paris's most iconic building and the most famous cathedral in the world

6 Parvis Notre-Dame, Place Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France

The Notre Dame de Paris, which translated into english means “Our Lady of Paris” is the most famous and largest gothic Church of the world. It is located on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in in the the capital city of France, Paris.


The Notre Dame Cathedral is over 800 years old as its construction began in the year 1163, under Louis VII’s reign. It was finished over a hundred years later, in the year 1272. Originally, there was another cathedral where the famous Notre Dame stands today, but in 1160, Maurice de Sully, the then bishop of Paris ordered for it to be demolished. Three years later, the construction of the current cathedral began and it has been one of the main symbols of not only Paris, but the whole country ever since.


During its construction, many ruins important to the history of Paris were found, many of which gave important clues about the very first settlements in Paris. For that reason, an Archeological crypt was created in order to keep and protect these objects. The crypts are a museum  now and can be visited.


The cathedral measures 130 meters in length, 48 meters in width and is 35 meters hight. Its windows have a diameters of 10 meters and the pillars a diameters of 5 meters. The cathedral houses ten bells, each has its own name: Namely the Emmanuel, Marie, Gabriel, Anne Geneviéve, Denis Marcel, Étienne, Benoit-Joseph, Maurice and the Jean-Marie. Emmanuel is the largest of them all, it is located in the 13th tower and weighs roughly 13 tons and has a diameters of 261 centimeters.


Many statues decorate the façade of the cathedral, the most well-known ones are the gargoyles and the chimeras. Though today they only look like stones, at the time of the construction, these statues resembling mythological creatures were painted in vivid colours along with the exterior of the building. However, with time, the paint has worn off.


Notre Dame de Paris is so beautiful and impressive, that many claim they felt like crying when walking in and admiring the building, despite not being religious. There is a climb up consisting of 387 steps on a spiral staircase, during it, you’ll be able to admire the gargoyles, the bell Emmanuel and when reaching the top, you’ll be able to see the city of Paris in all its glory.

Opening hours

Opened every day:

From April 1 till September 30:
10:00 - 18:30

in July and August:
Friday and Saturday from 10:00 - 11:00

From October 1 to March 31
10:00 - 17:30

Closed on January 1, in May 1, December 25

How to get there

Metro: Cite station on line 4. Saint Michel station on RER B and C lines