The builders of Paris’s hulking cathedral weren't in it for instant gratification. This Gothic marvel took an unimaginable 200 years to construct, from 1163 to the early 14th century. Yet, like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame too was nearly demolished, following damage inflicted during the French Revolution. Fortunately, fans of Victor Hugo's timely best-seller The Hunchback of Notre Dame, published in 1831, petitioned for renovations. Nearly two centuries on, it's the most visited site in the world's most visited city.
It's free to enter the cathedral's stained-glass interior and/or take a tour (including versions in English), and to check out the flying buttresses from square Jean XXIII at the back. But it's worth paying to climb 387 stairs (you guessed it: no elevator) into the towers for close-ups of the gargoyles and panoramas over Paris.
- Open Hours: Monday to Friday from 08:00 AM to 06:45 PM, Saturday to Sunday from 08:00 AM to 07:15 PM
Attractions & Landmarks, Religious,
Festivals & Fairs,
Festivals & Fairs
- Nearest Train: Saint-Michel - Notre-Dame