Despite the sad and well-known fire which almost razed it to the ground, the famous one Notre Dame Cathedral remains one of the most beloved monuments of the Ville Lumière, and one of the most important examples of Gothic architecture in all of France.
The history of Notre-Dame intersected with the most significant events in French history: the Revolution of 1793, the coronation of Napoleon in 1804. This is why you certainly cannot fail to visit it during a trip to the beautiful city of Paris. Today it is not possible to visit the interior, but there are still some panoramic points from which to admire the imposing facade.
- How to reach us
- Costs and times (before the fire)
- Fire of April 15, 2019
- Historical notes and curiosities about Notre Dame de Paris
- User questions and comments
How to reach us
- On foot: Notre-Dame Cathedral is located in the heart of Île de la Cité and is easily accessible on foot if you are staying in the st or th arrondissements.
- By bus: buses n. 21, 24, 38, 47, 85, 96 make stops near Île de la Cité
- By metro: the closest stops to the cathedral are: Cité or Saint-Michel (line 4), Hôtel de Ville stop (lines 1 and 11), Maubert-Mutualité stop or Cluny - La Sorbonne (line 10), Châtelet stop (line 7, 11 and 14). It can also be reached by RER: line B and line C getting off at the Saint-Michel - Notre-Dame stop.
- Directions: Get directions
Costs and times (before the fire)
- before the fire the church was open every day from 8.00 to 18.45 (Saturday and Sunday until 19.15); the sacristy where the Treasury was exhibited could be visited every day, from Monday to Sunday from 9.30 to 18.00. The Towers, on the other hand, were open from 1 April to 20 September: every day from 10.00 to 18.30. In July and August: on Fridays and Saturdays until 23.00pm. From 1 October to 31 March: from 10.00 to 17.30; finally, the Archaeological Crypt was open from Tuesday to Sunday: from 10.00 to 18.00.
- before the fire it was possible to visit the Cathedral for free; but you had to pay € 10,00 for the towers, € 3,00 for the Treasury and € 4,00 for the Crypt.
Tours, guided tours and tickets online
Today, however, it is possible to admire the church from the outside from some panoramic points, perhaps by participating in a guided itinerary that tells its history and curiosities. Here are some proposals:
Fire of April 15, 2019
On April 15, 2019, around 18:50 pm, a terrible fire broke out on the roof of the church that kept the whole world in suspense for a whole night. The flames were appeased the next day when by now the iconic spire had collapsed. It was a devastating blow not only for the French, but for millions of Catholics and history buffs. The causes of the fire remained unknown, probably it was an electrical short circuit; certainly the authorities have ruled out the malicious hypothesis.
Tips for visiting Notre Dame after the fire
To date, the cathedral, its towers, the treasury and the crypt cannot be visited. The famous square in front of the church, as well as its perimeter, are off limits to the public. Sadly, there is still no certain information on when it will be possible to return to admire one of the most important symbols of history and civilization. At the moment it is i best places to admire the facade of the church are quai Saint Michel (Get directions), quai Montebello (Get directions) and the Shakespeare and Company bookshop (Get directions).
Historical notes and curiosities about Notre Dame de Paris
The Cathedral is one of the finest examples of French Gothic, yet its history has been very troubled.
It stands in the heart of the historic city center, on theÎle de la Cité, one of the river islands along the Seine. Here once stood first a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter, then a Christian basilica and later a Romanesque church. Then in 1163 the Bishop Maurice de Sully decided to erect an imposing church dedicated to the cult of the Madonna. The works went on for over two centuries, with various architectural interventions until the mid-1300s.
During the French Revolution Notre Dame de Paris was used as Temple of Reason, while the sculptures of the 28 kings of Judea on the facade were beheaded, as they were confused by images of the French kings.
Perhaps not many people know that the Cathedral was also at risk of demolition several times. After the Revolution, in fact, the philosopher Henri de Saint-Simon wanted to buy it in order to be able to destroy it, as it is considered a symbol of religious obscurantism. Yet after the Revolution, the Cathedral was in a very bad state: to save it and start the restoration work, the awareness campaign linked to the novel by Victor Hugo.
The interior of the Cathedral is entirely in stone, full of chapels, tombs and statues. Medieval manuscripts and relics are kept in the sacristy, including the crown of thorns of Christ. In the crypt, whose entrance is on the outside, you can admire the Roman foundations and archaeological remains.