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Notre Dame Cathedral dates from 1163 and took almost two centuries to complete, undergoing major restoration in the mid-19th century. Its twin towers dominate the Ile de la Cité, the larger of two islands in the River Seine, and many people catch their first glimpse of this famous Parisian landmark from the observation deck of a river cruiser.
As you approach the imposing west front from the Place du Parvis, you can admire its three famous doorways, each carved with religious scenes, while the views of the huge Gothic flying buttresses from Square Jean XXIII on the south and east sides are particularly impressive.
Follow in the footsteps of Victor Hugo’s famous hunchback to learn some of the secrets that lie behind this imperious façade. One-hour guided tours in several languages take place throughout the day, or you can pick up an audio guide and brochure to explore at your own pace. Don’t miss the ancient stained glass windows, one of which dates back to the 13th century, or the grand organ which has been played by some of the best musicians in the world.
Admission to the cathedral is free, but there is a charge to visit the world-famous towers where the hunchback had his lair. The tour lasts around 50 minutes and takes you right to the top, where you can meet the stares of the gargoyles head-on and view the massive Emmanuel bourdon bell in the south tower that gave Hugo some of the inspiration for his fictional creation.
Another fascinating part of the cathedral is the crypt, which contains Gallo-Roman remains, including part of a house from Lutèce, the ancient name of Paris during the Roman era. The crypt is open daily except Mondays and public holidays.
Notre Dame Cathedral is easily accessible by public transport, and street parking is available nearby, although limited. Most tour buses make a stop at the cathedral as part of a sightseeing itinerary, and these can be booked at hotels and tourist agencies. Sightseeing tours are a convenient and relaxing way to take in the major sights without having to navigate your own way around the public transport network, and are particularly popular with first-time visitors as a great way to get your bearings in a new city.
Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Ile de la Cite and Sainte Chapelle. Notre-Dame and Sorbonne University are also within 10 minutes. Saint-Michel Station and Paris Saint-Michel - Notre Dame Station are within a 2-minute walk.
Located in Paris City Center, this romantic hotel is steps away from Theatre du Chatelet, Les Halles and Rue de Rivoli. Conciergerie and Ile de la Cite are also within 5 minutes. Chatelet Station is only a 2-minute walk and Pont Neuf Station is 4 minutes.
This family-friendly Paris hotel is located in the shopping district, within a 10-minute walk of Le Bon Marche and Saint-Sulpice Church. Luxembourg Gardens and Odeon Theatre are also within 15 minutes. Sevres Babylone Station and Rennes Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in Paris City Center, this romantic hotel is steps away from Notre-Dame and Ile de la Cite. Sorbonne University and Ile Saint Louis are also within 10 minutes. Maubert-Mutualité Metro Station and Paris Saint-Michel - Notre Dame Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Orsay Museum and Le Bon Marche. Tuileries Garden and Saint-Sulpice Church are also within 15 minutes. Rue du Bac Station is only a 2-minute walk and Solferino Station is 4 minutes.
Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bazar de l'Hotel de Ville, Centre Pompidou and Notre-Dame. Forum des Halles and Place de la Bastille are also within 1 mi (2 km). Hôtel de Ville Metro Station is only a 2-minute walk and Chatelet Station is 6 minutes.
This family-friendly Paris hotel is located in the historical district, steps away from Forum des Halles, Les Halles and Rue de Rivoli. Centre Pompidou and Hotel de Ville are also within 10 minutes. Paris Chatlet-Les Halles Station and Les Halles Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in Paris City Center, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Ile de la Cite and Notre-Dame. Sorbonne University and Les Halles are also within 10 minutes. Paris Saint-Michel - Notre Dame Station is only a 2-minute walk and Saint-Michel Station is 2 minutes.