Notre Dame de Paris, Paris

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Place du parvis de Notre Dame , 75004

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  • View from bridge to island
    View from bridge to island
    by Martman
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    Saints
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    We can only hope that its temporary.
    by Maryimelda
  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Climbing the Tower-Tours de Notre-Dame

    by Dabs Updated Apr 15, 2014

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    Most recent visit April 2014, the bell tower is currently not open but we did get to go to the top of the south tower

    Although many of the figures that you can see from street level on the lower part of the cathedral are true gargoyles, decorative waterspouts used to preserve the building by diverting the rain water away from it, the more photographed figures on the upper levels are grotesques or chimères since they do not function as waterspouts but are still referred to by most people as gargoyles. These famous "gargoyles" don't have any function besides gazing over Paris and forcing tourists to work off a bit of the rich French food by climbing 387 steps for a better view of them.

    Climbing to the top of Notre Dame is really the only way to get a good look at these gargoyles, they are located on the Galerie des Chimères (Grand Gallery) that connects the two towers. The climb is broken down into three stages, the 1st stop in a gift shop where you can purchase tickets if you don't have the Museum Pass, the 2nd stop at the Galerie des Chimères and the 3rd stop at the top of the south tower. No elevators to help you out here! Read the signs at the entrance, on two of our visits the 3rd stop wasn't open while we were there, hmmm, did someone decide not to go to work those days? Or maybe a very specialized employee strike?

    The current gargoyles on the Galerie des Chimères are not original to the building, they date to the restoration started in 1845 by architect Viollet-le-Duc. Incidentally, Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame was written in 1831 before the renovation by Viollet-le-Duc and one of the original illustrations I saw had a couple of gargoyles on that level, did his illustrations inspire the addition of these gargoyles? Or were these just replacements?

    Access to the towers of Notre Dame is included on the Museum Pass but you can't use the Museum Pass to skip the line like you can at other attractions as only so many people can go up at one time. If you get there 20-30 minutes before it opens at 10am, one of you can hold the place in line while the other tours the interior, on our most recent visit in April 2014, we arrived at 10:30am and the line was already pretty long, I think we started climbing around 11:15 or 11:30am.

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  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    Notre Dame de Paris

    by mindcrime Updated Mar 20, 2014

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    Notre Dame de Paris
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    Thanks to Victor Hugo everyone all over the world knows about this famous catholic cathedral that Hugo described in details in the famous –larger than life- novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. The cathedral was built in 1163 (actually it was completed a century later) in french gothic style on spot where a roman temple was in the past.

    There’s free entrance to go inside but it’s the exterior that will really blow your mind, a fine sample of French gothic architecture, we spent a lot of time checking the details, especially the small gargoyles (pic 4). Although there were long lines we managed to get inside fast, the problem is that most tourists don’t really respect this is a religious area and don’t even bother to stop talking or use their cameras without flash. It was pretty annoying but it was expected considering the fact the church gets about 14 millions visitors per year, in case you wonder this means 40,000 people daily!!

    The 90m tall tower was added in the 19th century and you can climb up (you need a ticket for that) but the line was so long that we skipped it.

    It’s open daily 7.45-18:45 and there’s no entrance fee

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Most crowded church in Europe.

    by breughel Updated Feb 14, 2014

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    In the half-light of Notre-Dame
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    Notre-Dame hits all records of tourist crowds. The crowd is even tighter than in Rome's San Pietro Basilica where there is more space for the visitors.
    At Notre-Dame there are 14 millions visitors per year, an average of 40.000 every day. The tourists influx is non-stop from opening at 8 h to closing at 18.45 h (19.15 Saturdays and Sundays), all the year. Free entry.
    Visitors enter by the right door. There is lining up but the movement is not slow. NO bags allowed for security reasons.
    Photos without flash are allowed.
    Inside, the tourist stream moves anti clockwise around the nave and choir towards the exit by the door on the left side of the frontage.
    Notre-Dame is dark inside even when there is sunshine outside; be careful not to stumble on other tourists.
    Don't halt to look more close at things; the flux should not be stopped. New visitors are lining up outside and pushing to get inside.
    Even when there is a celebration, things are not really quiet but the nave is lighted up.

    If you want to avoid these tourist crowds you are better on by a visit in the winter. I visited again Notre-Dame begin December and there was no lining up outside and relatively few persons inside.

    Free GUIDED VISITS (2014). Start under the main organ.
    There are free guided visits in different languages.
    French: Monday - Friday at 14 & 15 h.; Saturday & Sunday 14.30 h.
    English: Wednesday, Thursday at 14 h, Saturday 14.30 h.
    German, Italian, Spanish & other languages: check on website http://notredamedeparis.fr or tel. 01 42 34 56 10.
    Audio-guides available from 9h30 to 18h00 (13h00 - 18h00 on Sunday). Price: 5€.

    To ATTEND SERVICES, visitors can take any seat in the nave (or in the choir).
    Hereafter the hours for the services in 2014 (are free, public, no reservations):

    Weekdays, Monday to Saturday noon
    8h00 Mass in the choir
    9h00 Mass in the choir, not in July, August and first half of September.
    12h00 Mass at the main altar
    17h45 Vespers service broadcast live on KTO-Catholic Television
    18h15 Mass at the main altar

    Saturday:
    17h45 First Sunday Vespers services
    18h30 Sunday mass at the main altar

    Sundays (all services held at the main altar):
    8h30 Mass
    9h30 Lauds service
    10h00 Gregorian mass at the cathedral chapter
    11h30 International mass
    12h45 Mass
    17h45 Vespers service
    18h30 Mass usually by the archbishop, broadcast live.

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  • datapanik's Profile Photo

    Meet the chimera in the towers of Notre-Dame

    by datapanik Written Jan 14, 2014

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    View from the chimera gallery, Notre-Dame
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    Climbing the 400 stone steps up the tower of Notre-Dame is an ideal way to round off a visit to this glorious example of Gothic architecture and enjoy fantastic panoramic views over Paris. The first level to be reached is the chimera gallery, 46 metres above ground, and then the climb continues until you emerge, probably a little breathlessly, on the top of the south tower.

    Admission is in small groups at regular intervals and costs €8.50.

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  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Notre-Dame-de-Lorette

    by solopes Updated Dec 19, 2013

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    Paris - France
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    Discreet, facing a narrow street, and diminished by the image of Sacré-Couer in its back, this neoclassic church was built in the 19Th century.

    A statue symbolizing faith dominates the facade, and the interior in decorated with paintings, statues and stained glasses

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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    The eyesore of Notre Dame

    by Maryimelda Written Oct 30, 2013

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    What is it!!!!!!!!!?????
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    I couldn't believe my eyes! I took my daughter-in-law for a stroll on our first full day in Paris and thought she might like to visit Notre Dame. As we neared the general area, I was horrified to see a huge blue thing blocking what has always been to me a stunning view of one of the world's very most famous Cathedrals.

    Turns out it is an enormous, ugly grandstand which some in their wisdom thought would be nice for people to take pictures from in this the 850th anniversary year of Notre Dame. Words fail me, so I will refer you to this great blog by David Benjamin who says it all very well.

    http://benjaminsmess.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/the-weekly-screed-627.html

    If I read the blog correctly, it is not going to be a permanent fixture, but one can only hark back to another enormous structure in Paris that was never meant to be permanent and is still standing today. I speak of course of the Eiffel Tower, but don't get me wrong, I love the Eiffel Tower but this big blue thing? Never!

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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    The Bird Lady of Notre Dame

    by Maryimelda Written Oct 28, 2013

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    This dear old treasure can be seen very regularly in the late afternoon at Notre Dame feeding the pigeons. She comes laden with huge bags of bread scraps and the like and the birds appear in their hundreds to relieve her of the goodies. She not only attracts the birds but also draws a crowd of people around her.

    About one split second after I took these photos a young boy who was old enough to know better, ran up to the fence and frightened the birds away. The lady was deeply saddened by this and very quietly walked away.

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  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Going up into the Towers

    by GentleSpirit Written Sep 27, 2013

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    If you want to go up into the towers and see the gargoyles up close and get some truly splendid views of Paris, you should make sure to come early. Today, I went up in the towers for the first time and to be honest I have mixed feelings about it. The Museum Pass will do you no good, you will have to wait in line just like anyone else.

    Waiting will be a bit of a problem. Today, for example, I waited at least an hour and a quarter before we reached the front of the line. Once inside remember you will have to do a lot of climbing and in some places it is very narrow, make sure to hold on the railings and keep your eyes on what you're doing! Granted, for persons with limited mobility there is no elevator.

    You get a totally different view of Notre Dame, in a way a look at the innards of how it was built and decorated on the outside. Of course the main attraction is seeing the assortment of gargoyles and chimeras, which is a lot of fun.

    Please bear in mind that when you are out of the viewing platform, it is a rather confined space, so try to be patient with the others.

    In the sense that you get a real good view of the Notre Dame from above and from the outside, and to the extent that you get amazing views of Paris, there is no doubt that this is worth the wait. Be aware, however, that after a while the gargoyles start to look the same, so you will find yourself noticing little intricacies in the construction.

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  • shavy's Profile Photo

    Notre dame paris

    by shavy Updated Aug 30, 2013

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    Notre dame
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    The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is in early Gothic style cathedral. The place where Notre Dame now stands is through the history of the city has always been the religious center, It was the first cathedral built on such a monumental scale

    The Gothic structure was a prototype for future cathedrals as Amiens, Chartres and Reims
    The restauration luminance led by the Parisian architect Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc lasted twenty years and is very controversial because of the many changes that were made as the aisles and the new steeple

    The cathedral was recently but this time taking into account between 1991 and extensively renovated in 2001, with the preservation of the existing historic architecture

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  • xoxoxenophile's Profile Photo

    Stunning stained glass and hideous gargoyles!

    by xoxoxenophile Written Aug 1, 2013

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    Notre Dame
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    Notre Dame is a very beautiful cathedral and definitely something you shouldn't miss on your visit to Paris. Unlike the other major churches I visited on my trip (St. Paul's Basilica and Westminster Abbey), Notre Dame did not charge us to get in, allowed photography (just no flash), and didn't have a giant gift shop, just a stand selling some rosaries and crosses as well as a few small souvenirs. There is a very peaceful atmosphere inside, as everyone is asked to be quiet and there are many candles around, lit by visitors in memory of someone or in prayer. The stained glass is absolutely gorgeous, and there are many different windows--no two are alike. We did not do the tour up top near the gargoyles, but if you would like to go up and see them up close (and I'm sure get great views of Paris), you can for a small fee (it was around 8 euros I believe). The gargoyles are really neat! You can sit on these sort of steps or bleachers they have across from the front of the cathedral and take pictures of the gargoyles at the top. There is a pretty garden behind Notre Dame and a bridge where people hang "love locks". The area around it has some of the nicer tourist shops I saw while in Paris. All in all, this is a very pretty part of Paris and definitely something that should be on the short list for your visit!

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    How to have Notre Dame all to yourself

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jun 7, 2013

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    It sounds like an unrealistic aspiration, but it is possible to have even Paris' most popular tourist attractions virtually to yourself if you are willing to visit out of season and/or get up early enough in the morning.

    For example, the above photo was taken at 08:15 on a Sunday morning at the beginning of early March, when there was scarcely a soul around, apart from a trickle of people arriving for mass at 08:30. The beauty of visiting churches early in the day is that they are almost guaranteed to be open for early mass. And of course, the very best way of appreciating the architecture and acoustics of a church is to experience it performing the function for which it was designed.

    For fear of stating the obvious, visitors need to demonstrate respect when visiting during services, so best to follow Homer's rules. It is rude and disrespectful to wander around whilst the service is in progress (particularly if it is being celebrated at the main altar rather than in a side chapel), so sit quietly until the service has ended and people start to leave. Similarly, visitors who are inappropriately clothed (for example, women in short mini skirts or other revealing outfits) may be asked to cover up and/or leave.

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Look up to the Emperor Charlemagne

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jun 7, 2013

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    I love the concept of 'happenstance' - a chance occurrence that sometimes strangely aligns with other seemingly unrelated events. So unexpectedly encountering a statue of Charlemagne outside Notre Dame de Paris at the beginning of a trip which I had planned to end in Aachen - the city that Charlemagne raised to prominance - proved to be a perfect example of this concept.

    Charlemagne is a fascinating figure who looms out of the otherwise anonymous mists of the Dark Ages. Although Charlemagne is often considered to be a German monarch, he was in fact King of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor, who established a vast empire covering most of Western Europe, encompassing present day France, Switzerland, the Low Countries and swathes of Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy - not bad going for a man who was barely literate and never learned to write.

    Indeed there seems to have been little that Charlemagne could not do: in fact, he was even elevated to saintdom, but – unfortunately for him – was canonised by an anti Pope during the Papal Schism in the Middle Ages, so his ‘saintly status’ is not recognised by the Church today. One cannot help thinking that this unfortunate blunder would have irked such a ‘can do’ sort of individual, but since this happened several hundred years after his death, this was one of the very few outcomes that he could not influence in his own favour. In all fairness, it seems likely that the qualities that allowed him to establish and maintain the most celebrated Empire of the Dark Ages (lots of militaristic marauding, self-interested diplomacy and general meting out of harsh discipline) are unlikely to tally with the contemporary qualifications for sainthood!

    For more on Charlemagne, see my Aachen travel pages.

    Update (October 2011): If you're interested in Charlemagne, you may be intrigued to know - as I discovered on my last visit - that both his mother and father are buried in the necropolis at St Denis, which is the last resting place of the majority of French royalty (see my St Denis travel tip). I already knew that his father was somewhat unfortunately known as Peppin the Short but it was a revelation to discover that his mother was called Bertha Bigfoot! Since Charlemagne was renowned for his great height (one of the meanings of the name Charlemagne is that 'Charles the Great' refers to his stature, not just his status), one can only presume that he took after his Mum, and given the unfortunate monikers that his parents endured, he may well have considered himself fortunate to be known as Carolus Magnus, Charlemagne or just plain Charles!

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  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Notre-Dame de Paris. 1482

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 5, 2013

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    1. Notre-Dame de Paris
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    The original title of Victor Hugo’s blockbuster novel included the year, 1482. He chose that year because it was still in the Middle Ages but was a year without any outstanding historical events that might have interfered with his story.

    Many of the crucial scenes of the novel take place in the upper reaches of the cathedral of Notre-Dame, up in the towers and galleries. Up there the fanatical priest Claude Frollo had his secret cubicle where he studied forbidden books about alchemy and where he received a mysterious cloaked visitor who turned out to be King Louis XI.

    From up on the galleries Claude Frollo observed Esmeralda dancing and playing her tambourine in the square below, beginning his infatuation and deadly obsession with her.

    Up there was where Quasimodo, the hunchback, carried Esmeralda after saving her temporarily from the hangman, and where he hid her in a secret room and supplied her with food and water. From up on the galleries Quasimodo repelled an invasion by hundreds of outlaws by pouring molten lead on them. Because he was deaf from years of bell-ringing up in the towers he didn’t understand that the outlaws were coming to save Esmeralda, not to hang her.

    From a vantage point up on the galleries Claude Frollo laughed insanely as he watched Esmeralda finally being hung on the gallows below, until the horrified Quasimodo pushed him off and he fell to his death.

    Second photo: In the cathedral looking up.

    Third photo: The young man on this book cover is Victor Hugo in 1829 at age twenty-seven, shortly before he began writing Notre-Dame de Paris.

    Fourth photo: The 14th century carvings around the outside of the choir show scenes from the life of Christ.

    Fifth photo: A model shows how they built the cathedral from 1163 to 1345, using lots of muscle-power but also hand-cranked winches to help them lift the heavy stones.

    Next review from January 2012: National Museum of the Middle Ages

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  • TrendsetterME's Profile Photo

    Notre Dame de Paris, France ...

    by TrendsetterME Updated May 25, 2013

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    Notre Dame de Paris, France
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    "Notre Dame de Paris" also known as "Notre Dame Cathedral" or simply Notre Dame is a Gothic, Roman Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra (official chair) of the Archbishop of Paris, currently André Vingt-Trois. The cathedral treasury houses a reliquary with the purported Crown of Thorns.

    Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe, and the naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture. The first period of construction from 1163 into 1240s coincided with the musical experiments of the Notre Dame school.

    The cathedral suffered desecration during the radical phase of the French Revolution in the 1790s, when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. An extensive restoration supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc removed remaining decoration, returning the cathedral to an 'original' gothic state.

    There are five bells at Notre Dame. The great bourdon bell, Emmanuel, is located in the South Tower, weighs just over 13 tons, and is tolled to mark the hours of the day and for various occasions and services, ringing in a resounding E♭. This bell is always rung first, at least 5 seconds before the rest. There are four additional bells on wheels in the North Tower, which are swing chimed. These bells are rung for various services and festivals. The bells were once rung manually, but are currently rung by electric motors. When it was discovered that the size of the bells could cause the entire building to vibrate, threatening its structural integrity, they were taken out of use. The bells also have external hammers for tune playing from a small clavier.

    Its always a very well known and crowded area, summer or winter full of locals and tourist, several cafes around, where u can sip a drink and enjoy ur time in Paris ... :)

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    My favorite facades.

    by breughel Updated Apr 6, 2013

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    South fa��ade.
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    The most monumental facade and most famous of world tourism is certainly the west front with its two towers. It is recognizable between all the cathedrals of our old continent.
    The less preferred side is the one on the north bordering the rue du cloître Notre-Dame.

    One that is preferred by many visitors is the façade on the south that can be seen from the banks of the Seine. This is the best view, the favorite of painters and photographers.
    The apse exterior of Notre Dame as seen from the Quai de la Tournelle also has many fans among the specialists of the best angle of view.

    I tried to combine with my picture the two towers and the south facade. My small digital camera can not avoid the barrel distortion of the towers but is so much lighter in my pocket than my former non digital one with a much better lens!

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