Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris)
- Type: Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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Builders started work on the Notre Dame Cathedral in 1163, finishing nearly 200 years later in 1345. Badly damaged and falling into disrepair after the Revolution, Victor Hugo stirred excitement for the gothic cathedral with his famed novel, Notre-Dame de Paris. Renovations were made, and today Notre Dame exists as one of Paris' top attractions.
The cathedral itself is free, but if you want to climb the 387 steps to the top—and see Montmartre to the north, the Arc de Triomphe to the west and St-Sulpice and the Panthéon to the south—you'll have to pay a fee. Yet, most travelers agree that the view is worth the price. If you're not a fan of heights, consider venturing below the cathedral floor into the crypt, where remnants of medieval times await exploration.
Notre Dame is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. You do not have to pay an entrance fee if you're touring the main cathedral. The towers are open daily April through September from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. October through March. Adults must pay €8.50 EUR (approximately $11 USD) to ascend, and children under 18 get in for free. Entrance to the crypt is €4 EUR (about $5 USD) for adults, and children ages 13 and under can enter for free. To learn more, visit Notre Dame's website.