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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.

Popular Activities at Notre Dame Cathedral

There's no place in the world exactly like Notre Dame Cathedral. So you can make the most of your time here, we've put together a list of the best activities:

Check out our Paris things to do page to learn about more activities while you're in the area.


Guide to Exploring around Notre Dame Cathedral


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Lodging Near Notre Dame Cathedral

See all 5,232 Properties near Notre Dame Cathedral
Novotel Paris Les Halles $274
Reviewed on May 20, 2019
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Novotel Paris Les Halles

Novotel Paris Les Halles

8 Place Marguerite De Navarre, Paris, Paris
     
    4.3 of 5
    4.0 out of 5.0

    Conveniently located, felt safe, attentive staff, quiet, no problems encountered whatsoever.

    Hotel Les Bulles de Paris $190
    Reviewed on May 22, 2019
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    Hotel Les Bulles de Paris

    Hotel Les Bulles de Paris

    32 Rue Des Ecoles, Paris, Paris
       
      4.2 of 5
      4.0 out of 5.0

      We loved our suite. Very comfortable bed, nice clean bathroom. The front desk staff was extremely helpful and kind. However, the halls of the hotel are narrow and if the staff is cleaning your floor there is NO WHERE to walk because all of their equipment and sheets/towels cover the hallways. That's ...

      Citadines Apart'hotel Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris $211
      Reviewed on May 19, 2019
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      Citadines Apart'hotel Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris

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

      53 Ter Quai des Grands Augustins, Paris, Paris
         
        4.4 of 5
        4.0 out of 5.0

        Location and room was perfect. We had no bed sheet on the bed only a heavy comforter, and the air conditioning was kept off during our stay. When we called multiple times they told us they didn’t have any sheets.

        Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris $80
        Reviewed on May 12, 2019
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        Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris

        Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris

        38-40 Rue Saint Séverin, Paris, Paris
           
          4.3 of 5
          3.0 out of 5.0

          Ideal location in the middle of the city near Notre Dame and shopping and restaurants. Staff was helpful and friendly. Balcony room was great.

          Hôtel Saint Jacques $194
          Reviewed on May 14, 2019
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          Hôtel Saint Jacques

          Hôtel Saint Jacques

          35 Rue Des Ecoles, Paris
             
            4.2 of 5
            3.0 out of 5.0

            After staying at many different hotels, I now stay regularly at the St Jacques when working in Paris. The location is perfect, but the friendly staff are what really make the hotel special!!

            Melia Paris Notre-Dame $202
            Reviewed on May 6, 2019
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            Melia Paris Notre-Dame

            Melia Paris Notre-Dame

            7 Rue De L'Hotel Colbert, Paris, Paris
               
              4.3 of 5
              4.0 out of 5.0

              Friendly staff and great location. Centre of everything but nice and quiet.

              Hotel Royal Saint Michel $151
              Reviewed on May 15, 2019
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              Hotel Royal Saint Michel

              Hotel Royal Saint Michel

              3 Boulevard Saint Michel, Paris
                 
                4.1 of 5
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Great hotel . I really recommended and it is close to notre dame , Eiffel tower ,jardín of luxemburg walking distance ! Restaurant and souvenirs are everywhere around the hotel Latin quarter too . I will go back .

                Citadines Les Halles Paris $199
                Reviewed on May 18, 2019
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                Citadines Les Halles Paris

                Citadines Les Halles Paris

                4 Rue Des Innocents, Paris, Paris
                   
                  4.1 of 5
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  The location is amazing. Just steps from the Pompidou Centre, some great restaurants and bakeries literally at your doorstep. At a major transit hub so the Metro and RERs to the airport and other out of town destinations like Versailles are again just steps away from your room. Friendly and *very* ...