5 Tips for Visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Paris is no doubt one of the most beautiful (and romantic!) cities in the world. But of the numerous museums, monuments, and cityscapes seen in the Parisian streets, one ancient structure stands out — the Notre Dame Cathedral. And you’ve never really see Paris until you visit this 850 year old cathedral.

The Notre Dame Cathedral is a historic church; one of the biggest and most ancient in the world. Featuring an imposing French Gothic architecture, the Notre Dame Cathedral is a sight to behold!

Because the church is composed of many twists and turns, exploring every bit of this beautiful structure might be daunting for a newbie traveler. If you’re planning on visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral on your next vacation, consider these tips:

Go Early!

Because there’s no entrance fee, early birds will fare better when visiting the historical church. Queues in Notre Dame Cathedral are insane and the crowd is always thick! If you don’t want to bump at people at every turn, come early morning. Opening hours in Notre Dame is 8 in the morning until 6:45 in the evening. On weekends, closing is extended until 7:15. If you really want to avoid the crowd, try to book your visit during off peak season. The place is packed during Catholic holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Lent.

Viewing the Bell Towers

Perhaps one of the most beautiful parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral is the bell towers. It features a spectacular view of the city but the queue is unsurprisingly long.

Don’t expect the breathtaking view to be free though. Each adult will have to pay a fee of €8.50 prior to entering the bell towers. In addition, the numbers of people who are allowed to see the bell towers are limited so come early. Ideally, you want to get there around 9 in the morning; doors open at 10.

If you’re looking for tamer, more relaxing parts of the church, avoid the bell towers. Touring the bell towers means going up and down all 387 stairs — and there’s no elevator! So come in your most comfortable (but photogenic) clothes when visiting the bell towers and brace yourself for the queue and the many steps to get to the top.

There’s No bathroom

Inside the Notre Dame, there is no bathroom. But, there is a public bathroom located near the entrance and exit of the church. If you want to have the most enjoyable experience checking out the sights, we recommend going to the bathroom first, before lining up for the Notre Dame tour.

 Always Keep an Eye on Your Valuables

Paris may be the most romantic city in the world but because it’s a tourist destination, pickpockets abound the place. The Notre Dame Cathedral is not safe from pickpockets either. Because there’s no entrance fee, even pickpockets come in to steal people’s valuables.

Be alert when lining up, always keep your valuables near, and don’t lower your guard even after you entered the church. We recommend travelling light when checking out the Notre Dame Cathedral. Don’t bring anything that may occupy your hands and mind for long. Just bring your essentials—including your camera—and nothing else.