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Notre Dame de Paris

France > Paris

What is it?

The Notre Dame de Paris is one of the most famous Cathedrals in the world. Being the seat of the French Archbishop, it is the focal point of France's Roman Catholic Church. As well as being a busy practising religious edifice, it is France's most popular tourist destination with some 10 million tourists visiting the Île de la Cité annually.

What's inside?

The Cathedral is a fine example of an Gothic architecture and this means that there are a great deal of fine detail everywhere you look from carved faces in obscure corners to beautiful stained glass and the infamous gargoyles. Here are some interesting points of note:

  • The circlet of rushes of Jesus' Crown of Thorns - The most significant part of the Crown of Thorns out of the 16 locations around Europe where fragments remain. You can see this relic on the first Friday of every month or any Friday during Lent.
  • The Organ - the organ you see inside has grown and developed considerably from the early versions that were built in the Cathedral. With some 7,800 pipes, it is one of the most well-known organs in the world and has attracted many talented musicians to work as the Cathedral's official organists.
  • Rose Window - the large circular stained glass window that forms the focal point of the Cathedral's Gothic façade was installed in 1225 and is one of the most famous examples of stained glass architecture in the world.
  • The two towers - The two front towers make the Cathedral's appearance very unique and it is possible to climb the 387 steps up to the top of the North Tower (see our Tip on how to get there on the left).

The Cathedral's construction

The cathedral's construction began in 1163 after the previous Paris Cathedral was demolished to make way. The Gothic style that the Cathedral was going to be built in included a number of very intricate designs which meant that construction was slow and was done in stages. It took almost 200 years to finish off the Cathedrals as designs had to change over time as the original walls were not thick enough to support the structure.

Notre Dame's latter history

French Kings had a passion for alteration of Cathedrals to suit their tastes and the fashions of the time which meant the Cathedral was continuously changing during the reghns of Louix XIV and Louis XV.

Unfortunately, the cathedral was ransacked during the French Revolution and most of its possessions and interior decorations were stolen or destroyed. It was not until 1845 that the cathedral's reconstruction began and was completed some 20 years later. The tall spire towards the back of the cathedral was added at this time as well as some chimeras in addition to the pre-existing gargoyles (one of these can be seen from the North Tower).

Opening Times

Throughout the Year

  • Sunday: 07:45 AM to 07:15 PM
  • Saturday: 07:45 AM to 07:15 PM
  • Monday to Friday: 07:45 AM to 06:45 PM
Price Information

Free

  • General Free
Address

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

6 Place du Parvis Notre-Dame

Paris

Île-de-France

France 75004

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