Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris), is one of the most beautiful examples of French medieval architecture. The cathedral finished building in 1260 and has since been restored many times throughout the centuries.
Notre-Dame was the first place I visited upon my arrival to Paris. I was fortunate to stay at a hotel close by and I was able to walk to and from there. However, I did discover that there are 3 metro stations close by, which are: Cité, Maubert-Mutualité, and Saint- Michel-Notre-Dame. If you are staying in a vicinity of Paris, riding the metro here is very convenient and easy.
Entering Notre-Dame Cathedral is free of charge. The hours for the cathedral could vary depending on the season and days of observance; however, Monday through Friday you can visit from 8 am to 6:45 pm and on weekends from 8 am to 7:45 pm. The cathedral is most visited in the summer, July and August to be more exact. If you want to avoid tourist crowds, plan accordingly. I also recommend visiting during non-mass hours and avoid any religious holidays, as these usually attract even bigger crowds.
Walking into Notre-Dame will take your breath away (as you will see below). As you enter, you will get a glimpse of the entire cathedral; you will be able to walk on the side isles and admire its decor, architecture and history. Pay close attention to the glass windows, but most noticeably, the Rose window. Each window tells a bible story. Although, you probably won’t have time to admire each individual glass window for long, unless you’re there for an entire day. But also, the crowds will indirectly keep you moving.
Another exciting part about visiting Notre-Dame, is climbing to the top tower, where you can get a close glimpse of many of the gargoyles. The fee at the time of my visit to climb the tower was 10 €. Please note that there are 387 steps to climb (spiral stairs) to reach the top; there are no places to stop and rest, and because the stairs are slightly narrow, you will cause a jam if you stop and others are behind you. A good idea is to have a bottle of water, since there are no shops available inside the tower.
At the top of the tower, not only will you enjoy a close look at the many different gargoyles, but you will get an amazing view of the city of Paris. Judge for yourself below!