We have Victor Hugo to thank for today's Notre Dame.
The author’s 1831 novel about the infamous hunchback restored interest in the defunct cathedral, which had been standing – and slowly decaying – for nearly 700 years. Decades of repairs (new bells, new glass, scrubbed gargoyles) have brought Paris’ crown jewel back to sparkling status. Don’t miss the Gallery of the Kings and the rose window.
Location & Contact
Best things to see at Notre Dame
Notre Dame has recently been freed from the scaffolding of a massive cleaning project, revealing a glittering, unobstructed exterior.
Porte de Sainte-Anne
The oldest part of the cathedral, which dates from 1165-1175, is above the Porte de Sainte-Anne (on the right). Flying buttresses support the vaults of the ceiling from outside, allowing light to fill the cathedral.
Crown of Thorns
The Crown of Thorns, believed to have been worn by Christ, is shown publicly only on the first Friday of every month at 3pm.
Treasury and Crypt
The cathedral’s treasury is home to sacred objects from throughout the church’s history, while the Crypte Archéologique houses temporary art exhibits and artifacts that were unearthed in the construction of a parking garage.
In the South Tower, a tiny door opens onto the 13-ton bell that even Quasimodo couldn’t ring: it requires the force of eight people to move.
Notre Dame directions and parking
Best way to get to Notre Dame
It’s easy to get to Notre Dame on the Metro. The cathedral is adjacent to the Cité stop on Line 4 (fuschia). The nearest RER station is St.-Michel-Notre-Dame, accessible on the B (blue) or C (yellow) lines.
Best parking near Notre Dame
If you’re driving, park just steps away from the Cathedral at a lot located at Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II.
Notre Dame FAQs
How long is the wait at Notre Dame?
Because Notre Dame admission is free, visitors can face very long wait times. To avoid the lines, get there early (before 10am) or buy a skip-the-line ticket.
Do you need tickets to see Notre Dame?
Tickets are needed to enter the tower and the crypt of Notre Dame. Both are included in the Paris Museum Pass. No tickets are required for other areas of the cathedral.
How long does it take to climb Notre Dame?
There are 387 steps to the top of the Notre Dame tower. It usually takes about 10 minutes to get to the top, depending on your fitness level and how long the wait is inside.
Is there a dress code?
If you plan to enter the cathedral, dress modestly with knees and shoulders covered. Notre Dame has a strict dress code and entry may be refused if your attire is inappropriate.