Notre Dame de Paris, Paris

4.5 out of 5 stars 650 Reviews

Place du parvis de Notre Dame , 75004

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  • Saints
    Saints
    by Martman
  • View from bridge to island
    View from bridge to island
    by Martman
  • We can only hope that its temporary.
    We can only hope that its temporary.
    by Maryimelda
  • 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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    The Towers

    by goodfish Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    Chim��re, Notre-Dame
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    You have to puff your way up nearly 400 steps of steep, circular staircase to do it but the panorama of Paris from the top of Notre-Dame's towers will be worth your aching knees. Here you'll also see a bell so large that it even has a name: Emmanuel. That one escaped the fate of its companions - melted down for cannon during the French Revolution - and is only rung during the most important of Christian observances. The others have been replaced, ring on the hours, and call the faithful to mass several times a day; lovely to hear if you're nearby. They don't need a Quasimodo to swing on the ropes anymore as they now chime via electric motor but it's not difficult to imagine Hugo's hunchback limping along the massive beams of these dusty belfries.

    But most visitors come to see the chimères; those fanciful creatures keeping baleful watch over the rooftops of Paris. These differ from the gargoyles in the their purpose is strictly decorative and they are a much more recent addition to the architecture. The Galerie des Chimères was added during the mid-1800's restoration, and the church website has this to say about the figures:

    "Although some of them may be frightening, they remind us that all creatures are the work of God, so they deserve His love and salvation"

    My opening photo here is one you've likely seen many, many times before but it's something else again to shoot it yourself!

    Entrance to the towers is covered under the Paris Museum Pass but there's no fast line so you'll be waiting in the queue with everyone else. Space is limited so they stagger groups of 20 every 10 minutes or so, and your visit will last just under an hour. See this website for for more information:

    http://notre-dame-de-paris.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    The Church that Quasimodo Saved

    by goodfish Updated Apr 3, 2013

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    Saint Denis and his head, Notre-Dame
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    It isn't possible to condense the nearly nine centuries of the most famous of Paris' cathedrals into a couple of paragraphs so I'm not even going to try. Let's just say that with the indignities of vandalism, neglect and various other close calls the poor thing has suffered during its long, long history that it's nothing short of miraculous it has survived at all. Most interesting to me is that we owe Victor Hugo and a little novel called "The Hunchback Notre-Dame" for spurring the renaissance and restoration of a landmark plundered, defaced and left to deteriorate after the French Revolution.

    It is also one of those rare churches that is more interesting on the outside than in. Its soaring towers, graceful flying buttresses, menacing gargoyles, intricate stone tracery and images of saints overshadow an interior largely stripped of original tombs and statuary - although the windows are beautiful. Those gargoyles? They are more than just ornaments; their long necks funnel rainwater away from the foundation and make a gargling sound from whence the name possibly originated. And why do they look so threatening? Theories are many: maybe to represent a monstrous mythical dragon of similar name; chase evil spirits away; or frighten wayward parishioners into repentance. A good look at a few of those things after a night of drunken revelry might just turn a sinner into a saint - until the next Saturday, anyway?

    Entrance to the church is free; towers ( see next review) and crypt are not. All the usual guidelines for visiting sacred destinations apply: modest dress; no flash during services; quiet and respectful behavior; etc. See the website for hours and more info on the church.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Church Notre Dame des Champs

    by gwened Written Mar 26, 2013
    Church Notre Dame des Champs
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    in the best tradition of Parisien churches, the Notre Dame des Champs at montparnasse is no exception.
    This one is old and nice, its history
    there were Romans ruins on the spot of a temple dedicated to mercure. After the region was converted to Christianism, a temple dedicated to the Virgin Mary and baptise Notre Dame des Vignes as the area was surrounded by vinyards at the time. With king Robert le Pieux (996-1031), the benedictines of the abbey of Noirmoutier change the church into a prieury, take away the vinyards and renamed the church « Notre-Dame-des-Champs ».

    At the French revolution the church was closed and destroyed, it only the souvenir on the spot of the street rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs. In 1858, a parish church was built under the same name with the mass on a temporary wooden chapel at what is now 153-155 rue de Rennes.

    The architecture of the current church was of Roman inspiration,and the first stone was laid on March 17 1867 , and on October 31 1876,the church received its benediction. On March 25 1912 , the church was consacrated by Cardinal Amette, archbishop of Paris

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Queuing to enter Notre-Dame.

    by breughel Updated Mar 26, 2013

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    Notre-Dame lines at church entry.
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    There are two lines: the main one (free) to enter the cathedral and the one (price 8,50 €) to climb to the towers.
    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. With of course peak periods during all vacation periods.
    Visitors enter by the right door. There is lining up (photo 1) but in absence of security check the movement is not slow. My photo was made in the summer but I have been inside in December with no line (photo 3).

    For the visit of the Towers (8,50 €) the entry is located outside the cathedral on the left side of the front at rue du cloître Notre-Dame. For the tower there is a permanent line (photo 2) to visit all the high parts of the western facade dated from the thirteenth century. There is NO priority for the holders of the Paris museum pass.
    There are renovation works till end August 2013 at the south belfry.
    There are 387 steps with no elevator to reach the summit of the South Tower, it is recommended to be fit!
    I did the climbing when I was a young man; I remember that is was possible to lie down on the leaden roof of the towers as the slope of that roof is gentle. Probably now forbidden-interdit!

    Open each day 10 - 18.30 h from 1/04 -30/09; 10 - 17.30 h from 1/10 - 31/03.

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  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Portal of the Virgin

    by GentleSpirit Written Mar 20, 2013

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    This the portal on the left side. It was built between 1210 and 1220, the second of the three portals at Notre Dame.

    The main scene shows her being crowned Queen of Heaven by one of the angels. She is sitting on the same throne as Jesus, a common artistic depiction in this period.

    The scene right below it shows Mary on her death bed, surrounded by Jesus and the Apostles.

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    Portal of the Last Judgement

    by GentleSpirit Written Mar 20, 2013

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    Portal of the Last Judgement

    This is the center portal of the western facade and the last one to be completed (around 1230).

    In the main panel you see Christ, now risen, showing his hands that had been crucified.
    On his sides are the Virgin Mary and St John.

    The panels below the main scene show two halves, the redeemed are on the left with the angel in the center, the damned are on the right with the demon preparing to take them away, Below that is the scene of the dead rising from their graves.

    The detail is amazing, though its hard to see with the naked eye.

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    Portal of St Anne

    by GentleSpirit Written Mar 20, 2013

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    The first portal of the three (the one farthest to the right) is the Portal of St Anne. Though she is not mentioned in the Bible, St Anne was the mother of Mary, hence she was Jesus' grandmother.

    On the throne in the center is Mary, holding Jesus. There are angels to their left and right. Beyond that in the center panel are the bishop of Paris and the King of France.

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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    The Gargoyles and Chimera of Notre Dame

    by Maryimelda Updated Mar 17, 2013

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    The gargoyles of Notre Dame are almost as famous as the "Hunchback" (just kidding of course, the hunchback is far more famous!) Just my little attempt at humour there!. In any event it is well to note that these horrible creatures in actual fact have a very practical reason for being there. They act as an assortment of extensions to the gutters which direct excess water which may fall on the roof during storms and the like, to fall to the ground away from the foundations of the building.

    As grotesque as they are, they serve to remind us that all creatures are God's creation.

    To get a really good look at the gargoyles it is best to do the climb to the roof of the Cathedral. This way you can meet many of them face to face. Mmmh.....

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    "OUR LADY OF PARIS"

    by balhannah Updated Mar 6, 2013

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    "Our lady of Paris" is another name for Notre Dame Cathedral, stop 4 on the hop on/off Bus route.
    This happened to be one of the busiest places we had been to in Paris, I guess we all wanted to see the inside of this famous Cathedral.
    The Cathedral is built in the shape of a cross in French Gothic style, my favorite. There was quite a queue, [probably from my Bus] so instead of waiting, I decided to wander around and take some outdoor photo's first. For a good side photo, I walked across the street and took one overlooking the River Seine with the Cathedral in the background, as for my others, don't like them much because of tents and lots of cars and people in them. Building of the Cathedral began in 1163, finally being completed in 1345. During its life-time, it has suffered damage, but has been restored for us all today.
    Even before I entered, I found so much of interest.
    By the time I returned from my outdoors photo session, the long queue had gone and there were only a few people waiting, it wasn't long and I was inside.

    Unlike many of the well known Churches, entry to the Cathedral is FREE all year long.
    Donations are gratefully accepted, which I gave. Volunteers are on hand to answer any questions or you can hire an Audio guide for 5 euros.
    To visit the Treasury is 3 euros.

    Opening hours
    Every day 8:00 am to 6:45 pm (7:15 pm on Saturdays and Sundays).

    I will tell you about my favorites at Notre Dame under my "general/favorite" tips.

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    NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL TREASURY

    by balhannah Written Mar 6, 2013

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    THE TREASURY IS NOT FREE TO ENTER - DON'T LET THIS PUT YOU OFF.

    The reason there is a Treasury, is so precious religious objects are saved and protected. This means that you will find anything to do with the Church in here. You will see Chalices used by Popes Leo XIII and John XXIII, a Cross given by the Emperor of Ethiopia, and other items by high up people who wished to donate.
    There is lots to see, I thought worth the money!

    ENTRANCE FEE IS 3 euros

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    WEST FACADE OF NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL

    by balhannah Updated Mar 5, 2013

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    Notre Dame Towers
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    The west facade is where the North Tower [completed 1240] and the South tower [completed 1250] are. Located in the centre, is a large Rose forming a halo above a statue of the Virgin with Child standing between two Angels. On either side are statues of Adam and Eve. Under the balustrade, is the the gallery of Kings, 28 statues altogether, representing 28 generations of Kings of Judah
    On the lower level, under the gallery of kings, there are three large portals which I have described in my "favorite" tips.

    The Notre-Dame Tower Tour includes the north tower, the exhibition hall, the galerie des chimères, the Bourdon de Notre-Dame, and the south tower: Approx 400 steps and no lift, but you have good views of Paris, the Cathedral and Gargoyles.
    The entrance for the visit of the tower is located OUTSIDE of the cathedral, on the left-hand side of the facade, Rue du Cloître Notre-Dame.

    ADMISSION...8.50 euros
    OPEN from April 1st till September 30th, 10 am - 6:30 pm
    (in June, July and August : on Saturday, Sunday, 10 am - 11 pm)
    from October 1st to March 31st, 10 am - 5:30 pm
    Groups of 20 are admitted every 10 minutes.

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  • iaint's Profile Photo

    Notre Dame!

    by iaint Written Mar 4, 2013
    entrance
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    It was only when I got to writing up some Paris tips after last month’s tips that I realised I’ve never done one for that famous church!

    I suppose my first visit will have been the first time I visited Paris, and I suspect I’ve had 3 or 4 visits since.

    On this recent Paris trip, we got there late afternoon on the Saturday. The queue was around the block. We declined.

    We went back after breakfast on the Sunday. Way quieter. Dr D went in for mass, while I resumed my agnosticism with a trip to the cafe next door.

    So, like most things in the tourist world, the biggest & best tip is - go early!

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    A symbol of Paris and France,Notre Dame

    by gwened Updated Feb 7, 2013

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    Cath��drale Notre Dame de Paris
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    much written on it here and everywhere, a must to see while in Paris. It is the essence of all that is Paris and France. Link to history and religion of France. A monument to mankind,and cant say no more,see it ,its beautiful

    see the chapel and statue of Jeanne d'Arc ,the patron saint of France . This year is the 850 anniversary of Notre Dame de Paris, so go for it
    http://www.notredamedeparis2013.com/en/

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  • Gypsystravels's Profile Photo

    Visiting the Cathedrale Towers

    by Gypsystravels Updated Jan 25, 2013

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    Making my way up to the top
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    The cathedral towers are open daily and is a must for any visitor. Climb the 387 steps of the steeple where you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the flying buttresses, Ile de la Cite, the spires and gargoles as well as the Emmanuel Bell which is the cathedrals largest bell.

    There is an admission charge of 8.50€ for adults and the tower visit is managed by the National Monuments Center. For operating hours and more information about visiting the tower check out their webiste.

    Although I had been to Paris many times, during my most recent visit I decided to climb the stairs and reward myself with the famous views and the gargoyles.

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