The Notre Dame Cathedral is another must-see destination on your trip to Paris. The cathedral is over 850 years old and features gothic architecture and rose stained-glass windows. Where else can you visit a church that is almost a millennium old? As with visiting lots of other European Cathedrals, being inside the Notre Dame Cathedral takes you back hundreds of years and once you enter, it’s hard to leave!
This Cathedral is a very popular destination. It is NOT off the beaten path at all as everyone and their brother and sister will be there, so plan accordingly so you can get the most out of your visit to this landmark. Avoid visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral on weekends or Catholic holidays. Also try to arrive by 9:00am to avoid the crowds. We learned this lesson the hard way. We showed up at 10:30am on Saturday morning in the summer (peak season)! We were eventually able to get into the Cathedral after waiting in a long long line. It was worth it, but I wish we could have spent longer there. We also wanted to climb the 387 stairs to the top of the bell towers, but the line was literally 2 city blocks long and we had other destinations to visit. Apparently we missed a real treat.
If you want to visit the bell towers (and I highly recommend it as you get to see more cool architecture including gargoyles), it is recommended that you get in line no later than 9:00am to avoid literally waiting two or three hours.
When you are in the main hall of the cathedral, be sure to see the South Rose Window! Also be sure to check out the huge pipe organ in the upper part of the back side of the Cathedral. Finally take a moment to sit on one of the many benches to relax and take in this magnificent structure, you don’t get to visit places like this everyday.
As always when visiting these destinations, bring a camera, bring lots of water, and keep your wallet in a safe place. This landmark is a hotspot for pickpockets.