"Notre-Dame" Notre Dame de Paris Tip by steph4867

Notre Dame de Paris, Paris: 652 reviews and 1,336 photos

  Cathédrale de Notre-Dame
by steph4867

Notre-Dame is the heart of Paris and even of the country itself: Distances from the city to all parts of France are calculated from a spot at the far end of place du Parvis, in front of the cathedral, where a circular bronze plaque marks Kilomètre Zéro.

The cathedral's setting on the banks of the Seine has always been memorable. Founded in the 12th century by Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris, Notre-Dame has grown over the years, changing as Paris has changed, often falling victim to whims of decorative taste. Its flying buttresses (the external side supports, giving the massive interior a sense of weightlessness) were rebuilt in 1330. Though many disagree, we feel Notre-Dame is more interesting outside than in, and you'll want to walk all around it to fully appreciate this "vast symphony of stone." Better yet, cross over the pont au Double to the Left Bank and view it from the quay.

If possible, come to see Notre-Dame at sunset. Inside, of the three giant medallions warming the austere cathedral, the north rose window in the transept, from the mid-13th century, is best. The main body of the church is typically Gothic, with slender, graceful columns. In the choir, a stone-carved screen from the early 14th century depicts such biblical scenes as the Last Supper. Near the altar stands the 14th-century Virgin and Child , highly venerated among Paris's faithful. In the treasury are displayed vestments and gold objects, including crowns. Exhibited are a cross presented to Haile Selassie, former emperor of Ethiopia, and a reliquary given by Napoleon. Notre-Dame is especially proud of its relic of the True Cross and the Crown of Thorns.

To visit those gargoyles immortalized by Hugo, you have to scale steps leading to the twin towers rising to a height of 68m (225 ft.). Once there, you can inspect the devils (some giving you the raspberry), hobgoblins, and birds of prey. Look carefully and you may see hunchback Quasimodo with Esmerelda.

Address: 6 place du Parvis Notre-Dame
Directions: Métro: Cité or St-Michel. RER: St-Michel
Phone: +33 1 42 34 56 10
Website: http://www.paris.org/Monuments/NDame

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Mar 6, 2003
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