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.
Visitors enter by the right door. There is lining up but in absence of security check the movement is not slow. NO bags 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 (2013).
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.
To attend services, visitors can take any seat in the nave (or in the choir).
Hereafter the hours for the services (2013):
Weekdays, Monday to Saturday noon
8h00 Mass in the choir
9h00 Mass in the choir, not in July and August.
12h00 Mass at the main altar
17h45 Vespers service broadcast live on KTO-Catholic Television
18h15 Mass at the main altar
17h45 First Sunday Vespers services
18h30 Sunday mass at the main altar
Sundays (all services held at the main altar):
9h30 Lauds service
10h00 Gregorian mass at the cathedral chapter
11h30 International mass
17h45 Vespers service
18h30 Mass usually by the archbishop, broadcast live.
"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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
This structure was made famous after Victor Hugo published 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'. The Cathedrale was designed by Maurice de Sully and erected between 1163 and 1345 and then restored by Viollet-Le-Duc. All road distances are calculated from the "zero kilometer" point located on the square in front of Notre-Dame.
The cathedrale boasts a West Rose Window, South Rose Window, Galerie des chimeres (the famours gargoles) and the the beautiful flying buttresses. There is no fee to visit the interior of the cathedrale and you can even stay awhile and listen to a service.
The Notre Dame is, without a doubt, the most popular attraction on the Ile de la Cité. Its first stone was laid in 1163, it was finished 170 years later. The Cathedral is a magnificent example of gothic architecture.
For me, I know Notre dame is from the book by Victor Hugo and Disney movie "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".
Usually we tourists love to come in and see a magnificent Cathedral like the Notre Dame, gaze in awe at the architecture and artwork and not much more. I am not personally very religious but I thought it would be a great experience to hear Mass in one of the great Cathedrals of the World.
It was one of the "ordinary" Masses, not one of the ones with great pomp and color. Regardless, sitting there in Notre Dame, seeing the light from the huge stained glass windows, it was a wonderful feeling of calm for me. The acoustics were surprisingly good considering how large the structure is. I thought I may be distracted by the beauty of the place, but somehow it just blended together in a wonderful harmony.
Service was in French, though there is an International Mass on Sundays. (If you've heard Mass before, it shouldn't be too hard to follow in French).
Not something I normally do, but an experience I am grateful for and enjoyed immensely.
A special advice: If you plan to visit Notre-Dâme and Sainte-Chapelle (and you must!), start in Notre-Dâme. The stained glasses in the cathedral are very beautiful, but after seeing the wonders of Sainte-Chapelle they may seem banal.
Each thing has its epoch, its concept, and comparisons are often unfair.
It is always a pleasure the visit to this cathedral, one of the oldest and biggest of early French Gothic. In each detail we may find in our memories references of the old stories that made the history of France and western culture.
This was my fifth or sixth visit, but not the last. I hope!
Most of the great European Cathedrals have a Treasury displaying precious vessels , artworks, vestments etc for the public to view at a small cost. Notre Dame de Paris is no exception. The contents of the Treasury are magnificent to say the least.
The Treasury can be accessed at the following times:
Monday to Friday: from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
• Saturday: from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
• Sundays: from 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm
These hours may vary according to exceptional celebrations.
Wow! Inside Notre Dame it is amazing. The cathedral really is a masterpiece and the brilliant design means that the light coming through the multitude of stained glass windows, some of which contain original 13th century glass in places. The overall effect is a movingly spiritual one, even for a non believer like me! You can imagine how people in the 13th century must have been impressed by the spectacle when they first entered.
The down side is that it is so popular and so much on the list of top sites for every tourist in Paris that it is extremely crowded. This does make it lose something as I'm sure the effect would be much more moving if you had the place more to yourself. Instead you will have to accept that you will have to move along at the pace of the crowd, no slower or faster, it really is that packed with people.
Entry is free, but of course a donation is requested for the upkeep of the cathedral.
As I left a service was about to start and the music is beautiful, in part thanks to the wonderful acoustics of the building.
The gothic masterpiece that is Notre Dame had it's first stone laid in 1163 in the presence of Pope Alexander III and the toil continued for 170 years before the building was completed.
Notre Dame de Paris must be one of the most well known churches in the world. The front of the cathedral is certainly very well known with it's three doors below the rose window and two massive towers.
One of the other famous features of the cathedral is at the back (east end) of the building - the flying buttresses which have a span of 15 metres.
At the front (west end) of the building is that famous rose window which depict the vigin Mary in a spectacular medallion of blues and reds and the towers which stand 69 metres high. There are plenty of grotesques and gargoyles around the building (I'm told the difference is that gargoyles are water spouts and grotesques are not) which all add to the gothic character of the place.
The carved stone statues around and above the doorways are excellent and it's amazing that they have survived so well from the 13th century.