Notre Dame de Paris, Paris

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Place du parvis de Notre Dame , 75004

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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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  • 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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  • BeatChick's Profile Photo

    Notre Dame Towers

    by BeatChick Updated Sep 23, 2006

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    Notre Dame - North Tower
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    I consider a climb up to Notre Dame's tower to be an essential thing to do each visit if only to see the fantastic gargoyles & chimera at the top, each with distinct personalities. The gargoyles are the animals jutting off the side of the cathedral acting as waterspouts while the chimera are the animal figures at the top. The views from up to are incredible - you can see as far as the Eiffel Tower & Sacre Coeur while the view overlooking the Latin Quarter is cool and shows the tangle of medieval streets.

    There are close to 400 steps to the top. You'll get a breather once you reach the area of the chimera & then more steps to the bell tower where you climb the wooden steps, with the wooden hand railing smoothed by many centuries of hands running along it, to see the great Quasimodo bell. The attendant will be happy to take a photo of you with the bell.

    Although entrance to the cathedral is free the climb up the towers is not. Click on the website below for more details. Just click on the Notre Dame picture and it'll take you to the official website.

    Price: 5.50 euro

    Photos: March 2001

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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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  • sim1's Profile Photo

    The Gargoyles of the Notre Dame

    by sim1 Updated Feb 4, 2007

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    The Gargoyles of the Notre Dame
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    I have to admit that I simply loved all the decoration on the Notre-Dame. There are so many statues, decorations and of course the gargoyles. These creepy creative figures looking down from the rooftops were my absolute favourite. Most of the gargoyles of the Notre Dame have unfortunately weathered away over the centuries. So the ones you can see nowadays are the result of the restorations of Eugene Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879), a prominent French architect of those times.

    These gargoyles are actually not 'gargoyles' but are 'grotesques'. The word gargoyle derives from the Latin word Latin word "gurgulio", which literally means throat and also the sound water makes passing through the throat. So a gargoyle is a decorative spout, to convey water away from the sides of buildings. A 'grotesque' is a similar figure, but doesn't have the function to lead away water from these types of cathedrals. So I should call them the 'grotesques of the Notre-Dame' instead. Hahaha, but lucky me discovered that it is accepted to use the word 'gargoyle' for both type of creatures.

    The best way to see the gargoyles of the Notre-Dame is to climb up to the cathedral towers. Alternatively you can do as I did, take a good zoom-lens, and zoom in on some of the many figures at the top of the Cathedral.

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  • tiabunna's Profile Photo

    You just have to see #3

    by tiabunna Updated Apr 9, 2008

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    Notre Dame - from across the Seine
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    This and the previous two tips cover some of the most iconic Paris sights. I don’t claim to have any original insights on any of them: there are, after all, now nearly 900 tips on the Eiffel Tower; about 600 on the Arc de Triomphe; and over 700 on Notre Dame! So why am I writing this? Well, as the title suggests ‘you just have to see…’. When you return home, your friends and family are sure to ask about these sights and to wish to see your photos. Fortunately, it’s possible to get acceptable photographs of all three fairly quickly if visiting time is short – the tour bus I’ve suggested above will take you past all of them within a fairly short trip. Plus the Louvre and a bit more.

    If you can spare a little time though, Notre Dame can be much more than the imposing façade and the trademark two large towers. I rather like the view in the main photo, taken from the left bank of the Seine, just a little upstream, as this shows well the enormous flying buttresses and the general structure of the building. If you cross to the Ile de la Cité, you can get closer to the same perspective, near the apse of the church, and see more details (photo 2). Now head around to the entrance and go in. The sheer dimensions of the building (photo 3) still are amazing, just imagine what a knockout it was when finished in the 14th century! Equally impressive are the stained glass windows (photo 4): I won’t forget in a hurry the effect of the late winter afternoon light streaming nearly horizontally as coloured rays through clouds of incense on a Sunday afternoon on our first visit. Then head down to the left (from the front) rear of the building for a small display of how it was built (photo 5): it is staggering to contemplate how such a construction could be erected with relatively simple non-mechanised tools in the mediaeval period and easy to overlook what a dominant influence it must have been on the lives of the people involved.

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  • BeatChick's Profile Photo

    Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris

    by BeatChick Updated Apr 23, 2006

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    Notre Dame
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    My favorite place in Paris, I visit Notre-Dame & its towers every single trip. The entrance into the cathedrale is free but it costs 5.50 euro to climb the towers. It's best to get there early in order to go up first as the lines get quite long very quickly.

    Inside the cathedral it's quite dark but beautiful. Walk around the ambulatory to see the beautiful stained glass and the ribbed arches inside. The rose windows are especially beautiful. One has more red in it and the other has more blue to catch the northern & southern cool and warm light wafting through the windows.

    If you like you may light candles for your family as I did mine. I'm not Catholic but my husband grew up in that church so I felt it was something I must do.

    Outside is a t-shirts vendor planted in the midst of the Place du Parvis (and covering up the Kilometre Zero brass inlay, I'm pretty sure).

    Horrors! Despite all my cautions that this is still a working cathedral, my friend Kristin took flash photos during Easter mass - and she's Catholic. She reasoned that because all the other tourists were doing it that it was okay to do.

    Hours: 7:45am - 6:45pm

    MASSES
    Sunday
    Saturday evening
    6:30 (cantor)
    Sunday
    8:30 am
    10:00 am (gregorian chant)
    11:30 am (choir)
    12:45 am (cantor)
    6:30 pm (choir)

    Weekdays
    8:00, 9:00, 12:00 am
    6:15 pm (cantor)

    Photos: March 2001 & Feb 2006

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    The heart of Paris

    by Jefie Written May 3, 2007

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    Notre-Dame de Paris
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    Next to the Eiffel Tower and the Arc du Triomphe, Notre-Dame probably is the most easily recognizable building in Paris. Built on l'Ile de la Cite, where the city was founded, it took approximately 170 years to complete this stunning Gothic masterpiece. It is worth going inside to admire its spendid stained glass or "rose" windows and numerous works of art. It is also definitely worth going on the Towers tour; the first 255 steps take you to the "Gallery of chimeras", which was added during the course of the restoration program that began in 1845. The numerous gargoyles and funny-looking chimeras, sticking their tongues out at Paris below, make for really great pictures! The only problem is that a grid has been added, presumably to stop people from jumping down as in the movie "Amelie"?

    Another 147 steps will take you to the bell tower, where you can see "Emmanuel", the biggest bell of Notre-Dame with its 28,000 pounds. Of course, it is impossible to go up there without thinking of Quasimodo, the hero of Victor Hugo's popular story "The Huntchback of Notre-Dame" (1831). The tour ends on top of the 69 m tall left tower, where you will have a great view of the spire and of the city all around.

    The Cathedral is open every day of the week, and admission is free. It costs 5.50 Euros to go on the Towers tour (but you can use your Museum Pass if you have one). Might be a good idea to get there early if you can - the line-up stretches along the side of the Cathedral all day long, and people are often turned away at the end of the day.

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  • Olgeorg's Profile Photo

    Notre-Dame

    by Olgeorg Written May 31, 2004

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    Notre-Dame is now viewed as one of the key defining examples of the style which was to become known as Ile-de-France Gothic, by the early nineteenth century few Parisians valued their medieval past very highly. Interest in the medieval building was largely rekindled by Victor Hugo's novel Notre-Dame de Paris. For twenty years, Viollet-le-Duc worked at Notre-Dame, adding the spire, consolidating the fabric and replacing missing or defaced sculptures.

    Inside
    Interior, the immediately striking feature, if you can ignore the noise and movement, is the dramatic contrast between the darkness of the nave and the light falling on the first clustered pillars of the choir, placing an emphasis on the special nature of the sanctuary. Nearly two-thirds glass, it is the end walls of the transepts that admit all this light as well as the two magnificent rose windows coloured in imperial purple. These, the vaulting, the soaring shafts reaching to the springs of the vaults, are all definite Gothic elements, yet, inside as well as outside, there remains a strong sense of Romanesque in the stout round pillars of the nave and the general sense of four-squareness.

    Not to be missed !
    Before leaving, do not forget to walk round to the public garden at the east end for a view of the flying buttresses supporting the choir, and then along the riverside under the south transept, where you can sit in springtime under the cherry blossom.
    And in front of the cathedral, in the square separating Notre Dame from Haussmann's police Headquarters, is what appears to be and smells like the entrance to an underground toilet. In fact, it is a very well-displayed and interesting museum, the crypte archeologique, in which are revealed the remains of the church which predated the cathedral, as well as streets and houses of the Cite dating as far back as the Roman era.
    On the pavement by the west door of Notre-Dame is a spot known as kilometre zero. This is where all of the main road distances in France are calculated.

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  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    When is best time to visit Notre Dame Cathedral?

    by jumpingnorman Updated Feb 5, 2009

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    Years ago, first visit, Notre Dame, Paris, France
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    We decided to visit the Notre Dame at 5 AM! Yes, we were up that early (due to jetlag) and we just walked from our hotel (with our 3 year old twins still in their umbrella strollers). There was no one around but us…and it was nice except that our pictures were dark, hehehe….But seriously, the lines can stretch so far for entering this famous Cathedral.

    So when is the best time? Preferrably early...before the buses of tourists come by...

    The Church was started in 1163 with the approval of Pope Alexander III and then completed in the 14th century. It went into disrepair years later, turned into a barn, and its revival was initiated by Victor hugo himself and other artists. Now, the Church looks great with its new spire!

    If you do wait for this church to open when you visit early in the morning, you just might appreciate the rays of the sun creating that beautiful glow through the giant rose windows. There are 387 narrow and winding steps going up for a magnificent view of paris and the gargoyles.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    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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  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Gothic glory

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Dec 6, 2005

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    To the Glory of God

    What is there to say about Notre Dame that hasn't been said before? Nothing really, except that no visit to Paris is complete without paying the great lady a visit. Join the crowds and do just that - the architecture is sublime, the glass magnificent, the view from the towers worth the climb, the sense of history palpable. A visit here is an unforgettable experience and such is the presence of this wonderful building that every glimpse you get of it as you move around the city will give you a small thrill of recognition.

    Remember that this is a place of worship, the city's cathedral. There are several masses daily and visitors' movements around the interior are restricted at those times.

    leyle

    Warning from Lulu : when leyle says "climb" she means on foot! I hadn't realised that until I was already launched on the climb, on a staircase less than one meter wide and a couple of hundred people coming up behind me - no way to change my mind!

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Notre Dame de Paris

    by Beausoleil Updated Oct 24, 2011

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    Beside the main altar, Notre Dame de Paris
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    The first time we visited Paris, we had major jet lag and decided to just leave our hotel and start walking. We headed toward the Seine and finally arrived. We turned left and walked west along the river.

    We arrived at the Jardin des Plantes and immediately felt the charm of the matched lines of very well-trimmed trees with the walkway between them. We stopped momentarily to enjoy the ambience and then continued along the Seine.

    As we approached the Pont de Sully, I looked ahead and as if by magic there was the Notre Dame Cathedral we had seen in countless pictures. It was really there and even more lovely than we had imagined.

    We walked on to the cathedral and entered.

    Try to attend a Gregorian Mass during your visit. We've heard their boy choir and their adult choir and they are wonderful. There are also free organ recitals at 4:30 PM on most Sundays. If you want a seat, arrive a little early. The organ and the acoustics are incredible. The tourists popping flash bulbs and talking are also incredible but in a different way. If you're an observer, please respect those who are there for the music. 8^)

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  • sim1's Profile Photo

    Glass stained windows of the Notre Dame

    by sim1 Updated Feb 3, 2007

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    Glass stained windows of the Notre Dame
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    I was disappointed in the Notre Dame, but there was one exception, and those were the glass stained windows. These are really stunning, and enormous! Especially the rose windows! I just couldn't get enough of looking at them. The colour, the motives and probably as well the amazing size of the windows just took my breath away. There are three of these rose windows and without a doubt they will mesmerise you as well. These are still the original windows, but unfortunately all the other glass stained windows were destroyed in the 18th century. Having said that, these newer windows are stunning as well, as you can see for example in the first photo.

    In photos number two and four you can see the North rose window, which dates back to 1250. This glass stained window is dedicated to the Old Testament and has mainly violet shades of colour. In the middle you can see the Virgin Mary carrying her child, and around her are no less then eighty figures in three layers of circles. The first circle shows the sixteen prophets, and in the outer two you can see kings, judges and high priests.

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    Charles the Great / Charlemagne

    by sim1 Updated Feb 4, 2007

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    Charles the Great / Charlemagne


    Before saying the Notre-Dame goodbye you might want to take a look around on the parvis in front of the cathedral. A "parvis" is an enclosed area or court in front of a building, particularly a building such as a cathedral or church. And on the parvis of the Notre Dame you have an amazing view of the Notre Dame itself. But there is a bit more then just this. You also might notice this huge statue of Charles the Great / Charlemagne. The statue was created in 1886 by Louis and Charles Rochet.

    Also on the Paris you can see stone in the pavement called "Point Zéro". This point is considered as the exact centre of Paris and all locations in France are geographically measured to this point. I have to admit I didn't see the stone as the crowds surrounding this part of the square was too large for me to really bother.

    Okay, time to move on and stretch the legs a bit more. I am almost done with my virtual walk through Paris, but there are two more places that I would like to share with you first.....

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