Situated on the île de la Cité in central Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Famous for being the setting of writer Victor Hugo’s ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’, the cathedral is one of the most recognisable sites in Paris. Visitors are drawn to its spectacular stained glass displays, grotesque gargoyles and monstrous chimeras. If you’d like a closer look at its famous statues, you can climb the 380-step spiral staircase to its summit. The 12th century Notre Dame also contains a wealth of treasures in its vault, including the Crown of Thorns and one of the Holy Nails, making it one of Catholicism’s buildings of true importance. You can visit the Cathedral’s Treasury, scale its Towers or descend into the crypt which houses a collection of ancient ruins of Paris.
The main area of the cathedral is free to visit and is open from 9.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 6pm at weekends. There are audioguides available at €5 each and booklets for €2 to explain the history in more detail. The nearest airports are Paris Charles de Gaulle or Orly. From there, you can continue your journey to the Cathedral by taking the Regional RER train to Notre-Dame station or the underground metro to any of Saint-Michel, Hôtel de Ville or Châtelet stations.
Notre Dame is a working cathedral and you can attend one of the several masses that take place during the week and on Sundays. There is an international mass, which is conducted in English, on Sundays. Please consult the official website for details of the times.
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When you visit Paris, don’t miss all the other sights and experiences that the city has to offer: visit the world’s largest modern art museum at the Pompidou Centre, see Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ in the flesh in the Louvre and sip champagne while taking in the amazing Paris views after climbing the Eiffel Tower.
To find out more information, please contact the cathedral directly, where you’ll be able to find out more about the entrance fee, history, opening hours, nearby monuments such as the Palais Royal, the Pompidou Centre and the Tuileries Garden. You’ll also be able to find out more about the cathedral's rich history.
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