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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


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Best Lodging Options Near Notre-Dame

See all 9,538 Properties near Notre-Dame
Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris $78
Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris

Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris

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

    Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Ile de la Cite and Sainte Chapelle. Notre-Dame and Sorbonne University are also within 10 minutes. Saint-Michel Station and Paris Saint-Michel - Notre Dame Station are within a 2-minute walk.

    Novotel Paris Les Halles $175
    Novotel Paris Les Halles

    Novotel Paris Les Halles

    8 Place Marguerite De Navarre, Paris, Paris
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      This family-friendly Paris hotel is located in the historical district, steps from Forum des Halles, Les Halles, and Rue de Rivoli. Centre Pompidou and Conciergerie are also within 10 minutes. Paris Chatlet-Les Halles Station and Les Halles Station are within a 5-minute walk.

      Melia Paris Notre-Dame $241
      Melia Paris Notre-Dame

      Melia Paris Notre-Dame

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

        Located in Paris City Center, this romantic hotel is steps from Notre-Dame and Ile de la Cite. Sorbonne University and Ile Saint Louis are also within 10 minutes. Maubert-Mutualité Metro Station and Paris Saint-Michel - Notre Dame Station are within a 5-minute walk.

        Hotel Britannique $76
        Hotel Britannique

        Hotel Britannique

        20 Avenue Victoria, Paris, Paris
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Paris City Center, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rue de Rivoli, Les Halles, and Conciergerie. Centre Pompidou and Notre-Dame are also within 10 minutes. Chatelet Station is only a 2-minute walk and Pont Neuf Station is 4 minutes.

          Hôtel Lutetia, The Leading Hotels of the World
          Hôtel Lutetia, The Leading Hotels of the World

          Hôtel Lutetia, The Leading Hotels of the World

          45 Boulevard Raspail, Paris
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Paris City Center, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Le Bon Marche and Saint-Sulpice Church. Luxembourg Gardens and Odeon Theatre are also within 15 minutes. Sevres Babylone Station and Rennes Station are within a 5-minute walk.

            Relais Du Louvre $122
            Relais Du Louvre

            Relais Du Louvre

            19 rue Pretres-ST-Germain-l'Auxerrois, Paris, Paris
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rue de Rivoli and Les Halles. Palais Royal and Pont Neuf are also within 10 minutes. Pont Neuf Station and Louvre - Rivoli Station are within a 5-minute walk.

              Hôtel La Lanterne $267
              Hôtel La Lanterne

              Hôtel La Lanterne

              12, rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, Paris
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Paris City Center, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Ile de la Cite, Pantheon, and Sorbonne University. Notre-Dame and Ile Saint Louis are also within 10 minutes. Maubert-Mutualité Metro Station and Cardinal Lemoine Metro Station are within a 5-minute walk.

                Hotel Les Rives De Notre Dame $284
                Hotel Les Rives De Notre Dame

                Hotel Les Rives De Notre Dame

                15 Quai Saint Michel, Paris, Paris
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Paris City Center, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Ile de la Cite and Notre-Dame. Sorbonne University and Les Halles are also within 10 minutes. Paris Saint-Michel - Notre Dame Station is only a 2-minute walk and Saint-Michel Station is 2 minutes.