Notre Dame Cathedral Guide | Skip the line Tours & Tickets

A Complete Guide to the Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral is a medieval Catholic cathedral that resides in the centre of Paris, France. It’s renowned for its spectacular Gothic architecture and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris.

“You don't go to Notre Dame to learn something; you go to Notre Dame to be somebody.” -
Lou Holtz
“Walking at random through the streets, we came by chance upon the Cathedral of Notre Dame. I shall long remember my first impression of the scene within. The lofty gothic ceiling arched far above my head and through the stained windows the light came but dimly - it was all still, solemn and religious.”
-Bayard Taylor

Quick Jump links to Notre Dame Cathedral

Why is the Notre Dame Cathedral so important?

Often also referred to as Notre-Dame de Paris, the cathedral is the most famous Gothic cathedral from the Middle Ages and is primarily known for its impressive size, architectural intrigue and antiquity.

Built between 1163 (during the reign of King Louis VII) and 1345, the Notre-Dame de Paris translates to ‘Our Lady’ and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In 1804, the cathedral was close to being destroyed but Napoleon saved it and crowned himself Emperor inside the cathedral.

It is also considered to reflect the important role that Paris had in the 12th century as an economic and spiritual centre. Notre Dame Cathedral is also still used today by the Roman Catholic Church for Sunday Mass and it is also the seat of the Archbishop of Paris.

Highlights of Notre Dame Cathedral

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and is home to some stunning highlights and important features for you to admire.

The Cathedral Towers

While the cathedral towers have always been a magnificent feat, there were made even more famous due to Victor Hugo’s novel. Huge invented the character ‘Quasimodo’ and had him live in the south tower in the novel ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’.

The towers are approximately 223 feet high and offer stunning panoramic views of the city. The south tower is home to Notre Dame’s impressive 13-tonne bell; at the top, you can also find the beautiful spire that was destroyed during the French revolution but later restored by Viollet-le-Duc.

The interior

The interior of Notre Dame Cathedral is just as beautiful and impressive as the exterior and features vaulted ceilings, long halls and soft light throughout, thanks to the intricate designs of the stained-glass windows.

There are three main stained-glass rose windows inside the cathedral and they’re one of the most notable features inside Notre Dame.

The organs of Notre Dame Cathedral are centuries old but were restored in the 1990s and are amongst the largest organs in France.

There’s also a choir inside the cathedral that portrays the Last Supper, as well as a statue of the Virgin Mary and Christ child.

The Façade

The Façade of Notre Dame Cathedral has many aspects to it and is recognised all over the world. From its astonishing Gothic design, to the vast plaza where you can obtain a spectacular view of the façade’s delicately decorated portals.

The left-side portal depicts the life of the Virgin Mary; the central portal depicts the Last Judgement (where a reigning Christ statue can be found) and the right-side portal features Notre Dame’s oldest and most spectacular statuary of the Virgin Mary on a throne, cradling a baby Jesus.

Giftshop and museum

As well as all the wonderful features inside Notre Dame, you can also enjoy the giftshop and museum where you’ll find souvenirs to document your time in the cathedral.

The giftshop can be found inside the main hall of the cathedral and sells everything from Notre Dame-themed mugs, t-shirts, jewellery and postcards.

The museum isn’t located inside the cathedral itself, but just around the corner and includes information all about the cathedral, its history and its fascinating story.

Reviews and rankings

Below you can find some of the Reviews of Notre Dame Cathedral, plus find out where in ranks in the list of things to do in Paris!

Rated number 5 out of 2,476things to do in Paris.

4.5 stars out of 68,744 reviews.

Reviews

“I always try to get a hotel within walking distance of Notre Dame because I like to return several times and see it under different light and with different crowds.”

“A must see if you are in Paris.”

“Had a wonderful day visiting the Cathédrale Norte-Dame de Paris. What a amazing place with so much history. A must to see if ever in Paris.”

“The area around this Cathedral is beautiful and very peaceful. The Seine River is right on the side, and the lines went very quickly!”

“Seeing this beautiful structure from the outside is wonderful, but you must look inside to get the full appreciation of the church. Take the time and tour it completely.”

15 Facts about Notre Dame Cathedral

Below you can find some of the most fascinating facts about Notre Dame Cathedral.

  1. It is built upon an ancient Pagan city and the remnants of a temple.
  2. The cathedral’s roof is home to one of the oldest surviving wooden frames in the whole of Paris; it contains approximately 52 acres of trees inside its roof!
  3. The north tower of Notre Dame is slightly bigger than the south tower.
  4. Notre Dame Cathedral played a huge part in the inspiration and personification of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’.
  5. The Notre Dame organ contains almost 8000 pipes and is thought to be the largest one in France.
  6. It is the most visited monument in Paris; even more so than the Eiffel Tower!
  7. Notre Dame Cathedral is home to the Holy Crown.
  8. It is one of the world’s largest religious buildings.
  9. Some of the stained-glass windows are thought to date all the way back to the 1200s.
  10. The largest bell in the cathedral resides in the south tower and weighs 28,000 pounds.
  11. The ‘twin’ towers each have 387 steps.
  12. Construction began on the cathedral in 1163 but it didn’t officially open until 1345.
  13. Over 13 million people visit Notre Dame Cathedral every single year.
  14. There are numerous small statues on the outside of the cathedral that serve as water spouts and to support columns.
  15. In 1965, a crypt was built to house the ruins that were discovered during its construction.

Best Notre Dame Cathedral Tickets and Tours

The tours featured below are the very best to embark on when visiting Notre Dame Cathedral. You’ll find the best deals and value for money when it comes to touring the cathedral.

1. Notre Dame Cathedral Guided Tour

What’s the tour all about?

On this tour you’ll get a chance to see everything that Notre Dame has to offer, with the help of a guide who can provide you with all the valuable information you’ll need. Your English-speaking tour guide will teach you everything you want to know about the cathedral, and you’ll delve insight its eclectic past.

Highlights of the tour
  • Admire the beatific views of Paris from the top of the towers
  • Explore the cathedral with an expert guide
  • Hear stories all about the myths and truths of Notre Dame
  • Walk all around the cathedral and admire its impressive architecture
Includes
  • Local expert tour guide
  • Walking tour inside the cathedral
Excludes
  • Ticket access to the towers (you can opt to pay for this separately)
  • Hotel pickups and drop-offs
Duration

1 hour

Customer ratings

4/5

Price

2. Notre Dame skip-the-line and audio guided tour

3. Notre Dame skip-the-line towers access

What’s the tour all about?

With this skip-the-line tour, you’ll not only gain fast track entrance to Notre Dame, but entrance to the towers is also included in the price of your ticket! You’ll get the chance to explore the world-famous Notre Dame, without queuing for hours.

Highlights of the tour
  • Enjoy the wonderful views from the top of the towers
  • Wander around Notre Dame’s impressive interior
  • Learn more about its history from an expert tour guide
Includes
  • Skip-the-line access
  • An expert, local guide
  • Entrance to the Cathedral and the towers
Excludes
  • Food and drink
  • Hotel or airport pickups/ drop-offs
  • Tips and gratuities
Duration

2 hours

Customer ratings

4.7/5

Price

4. Notre Dame Cathedral with Sainte Chapelle Tour

5. Archaeological Crypt of Notre-Dame: Skip the Line

What’s the tour all about?

On this tour you’ll explore the historic past of below the streets of Paris, right under Notre Dame. The Archaeological Crypt is a fascinating time capture where you’ll discover all about the ancient remains of Paris’ first settlements!

Highlights of the tour
  • Skip-the-line access to the Archaeological Crypt underneath the cathedral
  • Learn all about Paris’ eclectic evolution
  • Admire the historic past of the site around Notre Dame
Includes
  • Skip-the-line access
  • Entrance to the Crypt’s exhibition
Excludes
  • Audio guide
  • Guided tour (you can pay extra for this option)
Duration

As long as you want (opening times: 10am-6pm)

Customer ratings

4.5/5

Price

6. Notre Dame Cathedral and Skip-the-Line Towers Climb

What’s the tour all about?

Make the most of your trip to Paris with a visit to Notre Dame and skip-the-line access to the top of the towers. Once you reach the top, you’ll be greeted with stunning views of the city below.

Highlights of the tour
  • Wander around the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Venture up the towers with the ticket price included
  • Make use of the personal headsets so you can always hear your tour guide
Includes
  • Expert, English-speaking guide
  • Guided tour of Notre Dame
  • Entrance to the towers
Excludes
  • Hotel pickup and drop-offs
  • Gratuities
Duration

2 hours

Customer ratings

4.4/5

Price
N/A Tiqets Tickets Price
N/A Get Your Guide Tickets Price
N/A Ticketbar Tickets Price

7. Self-Guided Tour & Skip-the-Queue Ticket to Sainte Chapelle

What’s the tour all about?

This tour allows you to take a self-guided walk around Sainte Chapelle and marvel at its impressive 1000 stained-glass windows.

Highlights of the tour
  • Skip the queues and gain fast-track entrance to Sainte Chapelle
  • Wander around at your own leisurely pace and admire the beauty of the windows
  • Admire the impressive architecture and structure of the building
Includes
  • Self-guided tour booklet
  • Booklet available in more than 8 languages
Excludes
  • Tour guide
  • Audio guide
Duration

Valid for 1 day

Customer ratings

4.7/5

Price

8. An Afternoon in Paris: Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, River Cruise & Eiffel Tower

What’s the tour all about?

With this tour, you’ll get the chance to visit some of Paris’ most iconic landmarks, including the spectacular Notre Dame Cathedral.

Highlights of the tour
  • Enjoy a guided tour of Sainte Chapelle
  • Marvel at the stunning architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Spend time walking along the River Seine and admiring the imposing cathedral behind you
Includes
  • Skip-the-line entrance to Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame and the towers
  • Guided tour
  • Entrance and admission to other places in Paris including Eiffel Tower and a Seine River cruise
Excludes
  • Gratuities
  • Hotel pickup or drop-off
Duration

6 to 8 hours

Customer ratings

4.7/5

Price

9. Notre Dame Cathedral Guided Tour with Binoculars

10. Skip-the-Queue Notre Dame Towers

What’s the tour all about?

On this tour of Notre Dame, you’ll be joined by an expert, English-speaking tour guide who will take you on a journey through the towers where you’ll learn more about their history and importance for the cathedral.

Highlights of the tour
  • Skip-the-line entrance ticket to Notre Dame towers
  • Climb all the way to the top for astonishing views of the city below
  • Learn more about one of the most popular cathedrals in the world
Includes
  • Skip-the-queue access
  • Spectacular views over the city
  • Local and expert tour guide
Excludes
  • Food and drink
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Hotel transfers
Duration

2 hours

Customer ratings

4.5/5

Price

Conclusion – Notre Dame Cathedral

As you can see from above, Notre Dame Cathedral is definitely worth a visit during your trip to Paris. It’s one of the most iconic religious structures in the world and is the most-visited place in Paris, with over 13 million visiting the cathedral each year.

 

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