Notre-Dame de Paris has become one of the most recognized monuments in France and around the world. With 12 million visitors annually, until of course recently when it caught on fire, you couldn’t visit Paris and not visit Notre Dame. Interest surfaced in this gothic cathedral in 1831, when Victor Hugo published his novel, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, in an effort to save the Cathedral and expose its deteriorating conditions.
Construction of Notre Dame began in 1163, under the ruling of King Louis XVII and Pope Alexander III. Louis IX deposited relics from passion of the Christ during the construction. Relics which included the crown of thorns and a nail from the cross. Throughout the centuries, Notre Dame has endured several restorations and of course, with the most recent fire, it will be a couple of years before it is opened to the public again.
I had the honor of visiting Notre Dame in 2018. This wasn’t one of the main attractions in my list when I traveled to France, but ended being my second favorite place in Paris, after the Louvre Museum. I was vey fortunate to stay in a hotel that was within walking distance to Notre Dame, but do know that there are several other ways to get here, the most easy and common one is by metro. The closest metro station to Notre Dame is the St. Michel-de Notre Dame. Also know, that riding the metro in Paris is easy and safe and clean 🙂
Of course if you know anything about Notre Dame you know that it is a Catholic Church and practitioners still congregate here, specially during Holy week each year. Mass is offered daily and as a visitor, I would suggest just to stay mindful of on-going services. Tourist are not restricted from entering during service and staying respectful is always a good practice (even if you are not Catholic). There are no words that can accurately help me describe the beauty of this cathedral. It is huge, very gothic, and its glass windows are unlike anything I have ever seen. I loved it so much, I went back a second time during my stay there.
The line to enter the cathedral wasn’t too long and the wait wasn’t too bad. Yes, there is a line which can sometimes be very long. I would definitely suggest visiting on a week or days that is not a religious holiday, for these occasions attract many more visitors. There is no cost to enter Notre Dame, pictures are allowed, but food or drinks are prohibited. There was also a display of villagers in one of the wings of the cathedral, which I thought was adorable (you will the pictures below). One of the most fascinating things I found, were the glass windows with depictions of various scenes from the bible, from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Thankfully, these were saved from the most recent fire. Visitors are also allowed to climb the North Tower, but do know that it’s 387 steps each way and the spiral stairs are narrow. The cost to climb the tower at the time of my visit was $10 Euros. This was all worth it for me, as I got some amazing views on the city on Paris.
Below are some of the most fascinating pictures I captured during my visit here. I hope to visit again one day, when Notre Dame opens back to the public. I am recommending that when visits are available and you happen to be in Paris, don’t forget to stop by and admire history.