Built between 1163 and 1245 on the Île de la Cité, Notre Dame de Paris is one of the oldest gothic cathedrals in the world. The name of the cathedral in English means 'Our Lady', and it is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.
During the last eight centuries, the cathedral building has been renovated and restored several times. The most significant renovation took place in 1845 and took twenty-five years to complete. During this restoration, the flying buttresses were replaced, the chapel was restored, statues were added and a new rose window was placed.
Decisive events have taken place in Notre Dame, including the coronation of Napoleón Bonaparte, the beatification of Joan of Arc and the coronation of Henry VI of England.
The towers of Notre Dame
The cathedral has two towers standing 226 ft (69 metres) tall on its façade. Visitors can climb to the top and, apart from the magnificent views of Paris, you can visit the bell tower, where the Hunchback of Notre Dame lived, and see the cathedral’s multiple gargoyles.
The access to climb the cathedral’s two towers is found on the North Tower (rue du Cloître) and visitors will have to climb 387 steep steps, since the cathedral doesn’t have an elevator.
We recommend getting to Notre Dame before 10 am to be the first in line, as the queue to this landmark moves extremely slowly and sometimes takes up to two hours to finally get to the towers.
Visiting Notre Dame
For travelers who visit Notre Dame and want to learn more about the cathedral there are free tour guides of the cathedral on Wednesday at 2 pm, Thursday at 2 pm and Saturday at 2:30 pm (all in English).
Located under the Parvis (medieval square) de Notre-Dame de Paris, the crypt contains historical ruins discovered during construction work in 1965. It was opened in 1980 and visitors can access the crypt from 1 place du Parvis Notre-Dame.
In our opinion, the crypt isn’t worth visiting.
Monday – Friday: 7:45 am to 6:45 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 8 am to 7:15 pm
Cathedral: free entry
Children (less than 18): free entry
EU citizens (18-24 years old): free entry
Free entry with the Paris Pass and Paris Museum Pass.
Youth (14-26 years old): €5
Children under 14: free entry
Free entrance with the Paris Pass and Paris Museum Pass.