Whew! Can you believe we climbed up and back down 387 narrow spiraling steps (there is no elevator) to the top of The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. Absolutely worth every single step for these unobstructed views of the magnificent city below. It was very clear why more than 13 million people visit the cathedral each year. (Thanks again for the recommendation Katie!)
To climb the to the top tower there is a small fee. The entrance is located outside of the cathedral, on the left-hand side of the facade, Rue du Cloître Notre-Dame. We waited in a line for about an hour or so. It’s not as bad as it sounds, we grabbed an orangina and munched on a baguette sandwich from the cafes that line the street and listened to the bells chime every so often. The ideal plan would be to start out your Paris city exploring by starting here to avoid a lengthy wait. Once you reach the top besides the breathtaking views of Paris, the towers offer an opportunity to get right up close with the many guarding gargoyles and grotesques. You also will step inside the bell tower and have the opportunity to see the 17th century Emmanuel bell, weighing in over 13 tons!
While we didn’t find the Victor Hugo’s Hunchback up in the bell tower, we did find the entrance to go inside the bottom portion of the Cathedral just out front. There isn’t a fee and the line of people waiting to get inside moves rather quickly compared to the bell tower wait. Once we were inside our eyes had to adjust because everything was very dim, lighting only provided by the glowing votive candles and beautiful light shining through the beautiful rose stained glass windows. We both wandered around in silence just gazing around taking it all in. Magnificent!
YELP reviews: HERE
To take in the views from tower above:
Open everyday April 1st – September 30th from 10AM to 6:30 PM
July and August on Friday and Saturday, from 10 AM to 11 PM October 1st – March 31st from 10 am to 5:30 pm
*Last access 45 mn before the closure
*Closed on January 1st, in May 1st, December 25th
Cost: 8.50 Eur per adult
To tour inside Cathedral:
Open every day of the year from 8:00 am to 6:45 pm
(7:15 pm on Saturdays and Sundays)