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Notre Dame de Paris

Listed under Churches & Abbeys in Paris, France.

  • Photo of Notre Dame de Paris
  • Photo of Notre Dame de Paris
  • Photo of Notre Dame de Paris
  • Photo of Notre Dame de Paris
  • Photo of Notre Dame de Paris
  • Photo of Notre Dame de Paris
  • Photo of Notre Dame de Paris
  • Photo of Notre Dame de Paris
Photo of Notre Dame de Paris
Photo by flickr user Panoramas
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If you're a church go-er you should consider for a minute what it would be like to attend services in one of the most famous churches in the world. People beside you snapping away as you sing hymns and others joining in at the back, not really sure how to conduct themselves properly, but their hearts in the right place. Well that’s what happens in Paris’s Notre Dame, visitors are still allowed though while services are held. Nice for visitors, but it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be a parishioner.

As a visitor it means you’re able to listen to the wonderful singing of the choir followed by some words of wisdom (in a mix of French and Latin from what I could gather), and smell the powerfully traditional scent of incense burning on the alter, which makes a visit all the richer – I just hope it’s not too bad for the regulars.

Notre Dame is open to the public from early ‘til late and people press through all day past the series of chapels and alcoves for the saints which line the walls. Gold paint and marble have that aged, mottled sheen to them, slightly coloured by years of candle smoke and loving worship. It’s wonderful to feel it being in use though – churches empty of prayer are strange, cold places, but even on a November evening Notre Dame is warm and rosey inside, as well as being serious and formal.

It’s hard to feel the power of a place if you’re surrounded by a crowd snapping photos but if there’s a service about to start as well and incense permeates the famous ceiling and chapels then it’s far easier to remember what this building was built for.

Outside it’s been beautifully cleaned and lit, you can see the twin towers with their retinue of gargoyles and saints and lattice of buttresses for several blocks before the elegant town houses swallow it up.

Visit during the ‘magic hour’ cameramen love when the late afternoon’s natural light gives everything a beautiful glow rather than a golden bath – to make the most of both the beauty of the rose windows and of the lighting once you’ve filed though and outside.

Written by  Kat Mackintosh.

Other expert and press reviews

“Paris in the bling: How to do the French capital in style”

By Brain Viner for The Independent. First published 15th November 2008. In 1980, between finishing my A-levels and heading off to university, in what was not yet so widely known as a gap year, I went to live and work in Paris. I found a job as a humbl… Read more...

Written by press. See the full article in The Independent, 15th November 2008

“Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris”

Hugo‘s love of Notre Dame didn‘t start and finish with his story of the hunchback, "Each face, each stone of this venerable monument is not only a page of the history of the country, but also of the history of knowledge and art. Time is the archit… Read more...

Written by  Sophie Edgerton.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

It iseally beautiful. Thank you for nice comments. Here are more pictures of it Enjoy!

Notre Dame de Paris

One of the first and most impressive examples of Gothic architecture, Notre Dame is more than a place of artistic and religious interest. The romance of Victor Hugo’s literary association and the legend of an eternal desire to return to Paris for all travellers who stand here at France’s ‘Point Zero’ make this riverside beauty one of the best known in the world, and to those who visit its welcoming shade in the Summer, nestling in a circle of trees and surrounded by Paris’s elegant houses, it is unforgettably beautiful. Construction was finished in the 14th Century, completing the postcard picture of its unmistakable central spire and fanned-out flying buttresses arcing up to the roof. Inside, a famous organ, vividly colourful stained glass windows and (unusually for the period,) naturalistic sculptures can be admired.

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