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Notre Dame Cathedral

A monumental masterpiece in French gothic architecture on the outside, inside this landmark cathedral is a serene place of worship for devotees of religion and art.

Notre Dame Cathedral sits on the natural island called Île de la Cité. This is the central point of the city, where distances from Paris to all parts of France are measured. The cathedral is the result of a massive effort in construction, which started in 1163 and ended in the mid-14th century. A grand restoration project began in 1845 and lasted two decades.

For a dramatic introduction to the cathedral, approach from the Place du Parvis. From here you’ll see the grand west façade, famous for three doorways framed by intricately carved religious scenes. From Square Jean XXIII on the south and east sides of the cathedral, you’ll see the massive flying buttresses at their best. The Seine River is also an excellent vantage point for admiring the cathedral’s architecture, and boat tours of the city pass right by here. 

Admission to the cathedral is free and there are informative guided one-hour tours in various languages throughout the day. If you prefer a self-guided wander, an audio guide and brochure are both excellent options. 

There is a charge to see the world-famous Notre Dame towers, which are both a historic treasure and known for the association with Victor Hugo’s classic novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. A 50-minute tour takes visitors through the upper sections of the west façade to get a closer look at the gargoyles and the colossal Emmanuel bell, weighing more than 13 tons.

Other highlights inside the cathedral include the three ancient stained-glass windows, including the north window dating back to the 13th century, and the impressive Grand Organ.

Beneath the cathedral lies another layer of intrigue. More than 260 feet (79 meters) below Notre Dame is the eerie Archaeological Crypt. It contains fascinating Gallo-Roman artifacts, including the ancient remains of a house from Lutèce, the name given to Paris in the Roman era. Except Mondays and public holidays, the crypt is open daily.

Notre Dame Cathedral, located on Île de la Cité, is accessible by public transportation or car, and street parking is available. Another option is to sit back and relax in a tour bus, available by reservation at many hotels and tourist agencies as part of a tour of the city.


Guide to Exploring around Notre Dame Cathedral


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Lodging Near Notre Dame Cathedral

See all 3,215 Hotels near Notre Dame Cathedral
Hotel Bel Ami $235
Hotel Bel Ami

Hotel Bel Ami

7-11 Rue Saint Benoit, Paris
     
    4.4
    of 5, from 449 reviews
    5.0 out of 5.0

    Located in the St. Germain neighborhood, this chic, contemporary hotel is within 0.8 km (0.5 mi) of the Louvre, Pont Neuf, Musee d'Orsay, and numerous cafés. A Metro station is 1 block away.

    Hôtel Villa Lafayette Paris IX $118
    Hôtel Villa Lafayette Paris IX

    Hôtel Villa Lafayette Paris IX

    46 rue de Trévise, Paris
       
      4.3
      of 5, from 222 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Located in 9th Arrondissement, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Folies Bergere and Galeries Lafayette. Moulin Rouge and Paris Opera are also within 1 mi (2 km).

      Citadines Apart'hotel Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris $229
      Citadines Apart'hotel Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris

      Citadines Apart'hotel Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris

      53 Ter Quai des Grands Augustins, Paris
         
        4.4
        of 5, from 2,009 reviews
        4.0 out of 5.0

        Located in 6th Arrondissement, this residence is steps from Place Dauphine and Pont Neuf. Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame Cathedral are also within 10 minutes.

        Hotel Moderne St Germain $116
        Hotel Moderne St Germain

        Hotel Moderne St Germain

        33 Rue Des Ecoles, Paris
           
          4.2
          of 5, from 407 reviews
          3.0 out of 5.0

          Located in the Latin Quarter, this Paris hotel is 250 meters from the famous Sorbonne University.

          Hotel Claude Bernard Saint Germain $108
          Hotel Claude Bernard Saint Germain

          Hotel Claude Bernard Saint Germain

          43 Rue Des Ecoles, Paris
             
            3.8
            of 5, from 204 reviews
            3.0 out of 5.0

            Located in 5th Arrondissement, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Sorbonne University, Pantheon, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Sainte Chapelle and Luxembourg Palace are also within 15 minutes.

            Hôtel Saint Jacques $129
            Hôtel Saint Jacques

            Hôtel Saint Jacques

            35 Rue Des Ecoles, Paris
               
              4.1
              of 5, from 281 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              Located in 5th Arrondissement, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Pantheon, Sorbonne University, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Sainte Chapelle and Grande Galerie de l'Evolution are also within 15 minutes.

              Novotel Paris Les Halles $182
              Novotel Paris Les Halles

              Novotel Paris Les Halles

              8 Place Marguerite De Navarre, Paris
                 
                4.2
                of 5, from 1,997 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Plenty of tourist attractions nearby the hotel Novotel Paris les Halles: the Marais area, Georges Pompidou center, Notre-Dame, Louvre etc. Business or leisure travelers can enjoy the culture of the city.

                Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris
                Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris

                Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris

                38-40 Rue Saint Séverin, Paris
                   
                  4.2
                  of 5, from 704 reviews
                  3.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in 5th Arrondissement, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Pont Neuf. Sorbonne University and Pantheon are also within 15 minutes.