On arriving in Paris on my very first weekend, I did those open roof bus tours to get a quick overview of the layout of the city. Notre Dame was on the list, but I wanted to go on a grey and cloudy day to take the best photos. I felt the stone work and Gothic architecture would be perfect against a dull and grey day.
Notre Dame de Paris
The construction of Notre Dame began in 1160. The previous Church of Kings that stood there, named St. Etienne, was deemed unworthy and eventually demolished.
The new church was envisioned by the Bishop Maurice de Sully, who had devoted his life to the his grand vision for the cathedral. The church took almost 200 years to complete since it’s foundation was laid in 1163.The Notre Dame de Paris has become an icon of Gothic architecture and style, and was the first building in the world to incorporate the flying buttress. Notre Dame is always packed, especially on weekends
Inside Notre Dame de Paris
The interior is beautiful. I managed to get some really cool shots of the dark interior, with the magnificent flying buttresses in low lighting. The stained glass windows are definitely something to marvel at. It’s still a functioning church, and people do attend confessions and services on some days.
Climbing up the bell Tower
The queue for this can be really long, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. You pay a fee of 8 Euros, and if you are under 26 years old, you can get a student discount. There are over 200 steps to climb, as they wind up the narrow bell tower. The view up there is amazing, it’s situated on the Seine and its canals that just adds an extra bit of beauty. From the back of the cathedral you can see as far as Sacre Ceour upon the hill and the the Seine flowing to the East. I really thought it offered the best views of Paris in my opinion.
I went a bit overboard with snapping the gargoyles, but they were so cool. The gargoyles are actually coverings for the column supports of the building and also serve as water spouts to rid the roof from the rainfall.
The balcony itself is really narrow and tight. Only 20 people are allowed up at a time because of the small space.The walk down the tower can be very dizzying too.Overall, I’m happy with my pics! It’s def one of the best views of the city and it’s highly recommended!
Do wear comfortable shoes, and avoid pointy or high heel shoes! Those stairs get narrower and smaller as they go up!
Try and visit in the week day just before lunch to avoid big lines.
I personally would avoid taking small kids under the age of 10 upstairs to the bell tower. It’s really narrow, you cannot change direction while climbing the stairs and the ringing bell is L-O-U-D!
There’s a cute little garden and lawn at the back to relax or picnic in.
Notre Dame is best viewed in winter and autumn!