The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is an iconic example of French Gothic architecture and is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in the world. Built in 1163 on the site of former churches and temples and completed in 1345, this religious site is a study in harmony and beauty.
While not the biggest or oldest cathedral in France, Notre-Dame’s appeal lies in its symmetrical lines and balanced appearance. The Roman-Catholic cathedral can accommodate 6,000 worshippers within its interior where can still attend mass every day. A free one-hour tour allows you to discover the cathedral’s artworks including sculptures, paintings and stained glass décor, and the cathedral as an artwork itself. Some of Notre-Dame’s interior highlights include three rose windows, the 12th century statue of the namesake – Our Lady of Paris - and the carved central choir, as well as that arresting exterior which is also stunning by night.
While entry to Notre-Dame is free, some components of the cathedral attract a separate fee. The Treasury of Notre-Dame de Paris exhibits gold liturgical objects, architecture, furniture and neo-gothic decoration from 17th and 18th centuries daily. Entry is €3 for adults, €2 for those under 26 and children aged six to 12 for €1. For €8.5 (free for under 25), adults can access the cathedral towers for a breathtaking view of Paris and detailed looks at the roof, spire and the church’s largest bell, the Emmanuel Bell.
There’s also an archeological crypt underneath the cathedral’s parvis where excavations reveal the Île de la Cité and various architectural layers dating from ancient times to the 20th century. Entry to the crypt and exhibition is €5 for adults, €2.5 for 14 to 26 years and free for children under 13. To visit the Cathedral de Notre-Dame, the closest metro station is Cité and then a five minute walk down Quai de la Corse and right into Rue d’Arcole.