Notre Dame Cathédrale, 4e

Notre Dame on a summer night
Notre Dame on a summer night

Did I tell you about the time I lost my breath and had to take a break halfway up the stairs to the top of Notre Dame?  Well, if you are up for a challenge you too can climb the 422 steps to the top of the South bell tower and ring the bell like they have done for centuries.

Taking almost 180 years that is to complete this cathédrale, you would never know it by looking at the building today. It was the first building of its kind to utilized flying buttresses and gargoyles.  Notre Dame is the home of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris and houses famous relics like the Crown of Thorns, pieces of the Cross and one of the Holy nails of Jesus Christ.  Most people know the story of Quasimodo’s escapades to save the beautiful Esmeralda from a dangerous fate in Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame however many do not know that it is still is a working cathedral holding services several times per day.  Your respect in observing silence with entering is greatly appreciated.  Notre Dame’s North and South Rose windows of stained glass have stayed in my memory since I first laid eyes on them over 20 years ago.

2013 is the 850 year anniversary and will host a series of concerts and theatrical events throughout the year at Notre Dame, be sure to check them out!

Fun Fact: Point Zéro is located right outside the cathédrale; all roads and driving distances in France are measured from this spot, it is literally the heart of Paris.

Tip: If you are looking for a little getaway in the center of Paris, you only have to walk around the church to the lovely park on the backside.

Address: 6 place du Parvis Notre Dame, 4e
Metro: Cité
Website: http://www.cathedraledeparis.com