Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris ( Our lady of Paris, which is a reference to the ' Virgin Mary' ) is a gothic french Cathedral situated on the Île de la Cité, a natural island in the Seine within the city of Paris.
The construction of the building started in 1163 and was finally completed in 1345. It is one of France's most beautiful landmarks featuring innovative architectural designs that display exquisite details for that time period. If you have a love for historically beautiful architecture it is definitely the place to visit in Paris.
The Notre Dame cathedral stands 69 meters tall, taking up a total space of 1,359 acres. It is home to ten grand bells, the lightest one being 782 kilograms with the heaviest being an astounding 13 271 kilograms. Emmanuel, the heaviest bell, is rung for every hour of the day and for special occasions, the other bells always follow afterward. It is also home to France's largest organ! Originally added in the 13th century it has eight thousand pipes, five keyboards and one hundred and ninety ties.
Victor Hugo uses the Notre Dame Cathedral as the backdrop for his popular novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, that was published in 1831. Hugo incorporated the Notre Dame into his gothic novel appropriately and intentionally as it is thought that he was disturbed by the lack of care and appreciation towards gothic architecture. Evident in his novel Hugo had a great admiration for the style of architecture. Justified clearly by the exquisite details incorporated into the building, a very romantic sort of building that is not often seen anymore.
The Notre Dame cathedral is fully accessible to the public and is free of charge but if you wish to tour the towers or crypts it will cost 10€, these tours have different operating times dependant on whether it is peak season or not, peak season the times are 10 am to 18:30 pm. Without the tours it opens at 7:45 am until 18:45 in the evening, from Monday to Friday, it does open earlier however on a weekend at 7:15. It is also easily accessible to those who may be disabled. It is important to note though that no luggage will be allowed into the cathedral for safety purposes.
The Notre Dame cathedral is definitely a place to visit in Paris as it holds hundreds of years of history that you would be able to experience by simply walking through its doors. With breathtaking views from its two towers of the Seine and Paris. The aura of a building that has withstood all the trials of history is simply overwhelming. Enjoy the brilliant display of the stain glass windows, the Rose windows, and the dramatic yet brilliant design of the gargoyles that were designed and added in the 19th century. The french gothic architecture of the Notre-Dame cathedral is simply something from another century that can be ever so intriguing considering the modern structures we are surrounded by today.