Located on the Ile de la Cité, “birth place of Paris”, the famous cathedral is open to the public every day between 8am and 6:45pm. Notre-Dame welcomes more than 20 million visitors each year, which makes it the most visited monument of Paris and Europe.
Its construction was ordered by Maurice de Sully – bishop of Paris at the time and started in 1163 (it celebrates its 850th birthday in 2013) and last for 2 centuries until the second half of the 14th century.
The most famous architect who worked on it was Violet le Duc. He was behind the creation of the famous gargoyles and chimera. The gargoyles are statues of little creatures destined to evacuate the water far from the wall in order not to damage them, whereas the chimera are there simply to recreate the atmosphere of the Middle-Age according to Violet le Duc. A statue of the architect is visible on the left side of the façade of the cathedral.
As for the square in front of the cathedral, also called the Jean-Paul II square, it is the point zero ou kilometer zero of all the French roads.
Notre-Dame was also the theatre of various events of the French history such as the coronation of Napoleon 1st in 1804 or the ceremony in honor to the General de Gaulle in November 1970.
Notre-Dame is also a backdrop for many stories. Everyone indeed has heard about the story of Notre-Dame de Paris written by Victor Hugo in 1831 with the famous hunchback. The Walt Disney studios made a famous cartoon of it.
A visit of Notre-Dame is a mandatory step during your stay in Paris. You can also have a memorable experience accessing the mythical towers of the cathedral with a skip-the-line access. During this privileged visit, an expert guide will reveal to you all the secrets of this legendary cathedral and you will have a 360° breathtaking view over Paris.