Notre Dame Cathedral is an impressive marvel of medieval architecture. Started in 1163 and completed in 1330, Notre Dame Cathedral has a striking gothic exterior, two broad towers, and plenty of sweeping arches. The gothic exterior is full of intricate details and the ornate interior is light and airy.
To appreciate the features of Notre Dame Cathedral, approach from the park behind the cathedral, Square Jean XXIII, for an impressive view of the structure, and a look at the flying buttress that makes the immense roof possible. From the front, arches sweep above the three entryways, featuring stone carvings of royal persona. The Portal of the Virgin is on the left, the Portal of Last Judgment is in the center, and the Portal of St. Anne is on the right. Inside Notre Dame Paris a 7800-pipe organ and a magnificent rose window from the 13th century, as well as carvings, statues, and saints. The spacious interior holds 6,000 worshippers. Climb the towers and see stone gargoyles, as well as a spectacular view of Paris. The south tower holds the great bell of Notre Dame, as tolled by Victor Hugo’s fictional hunchback. Nearby, Point Zero is the bronze star in the plaza from which all French metropolitan distances are measured, and for more history, visit the Musee de Notre Dame for paintings, engravings, and documents on the cathedral.
For tours in Paris, Paris Walking Tours offers guided and self-guided walking tours of Paris focusing on history, monuments, or museums. Classic Walks features an overview tour, tours in Paris of different districts, and themed tours, such as the Da Vinci Code Walk. French Adventures offers a broad range of tours for varying budgets. Many other outfits offer tours in Paris.
Other tourist attractions in Paris include the iconic Eiffel Tower tops out at over 1,000 feet, and contains 2 restaurants, a souvenir shop, a post office (for that one of a kind postmark), snack bar, and a viewing area, all within its iron structure. The Panthéon is a monument dedicated to historical personages of France, housing a crypt containing over 70 people, including Votaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Marie Curie, and Alexandre Dumas. The Arc de Triomphe, located on the famed avenue Champs Élysées and centered in the world largest traffic roundabout, is a simple, yet daunting monument commissioned by Napoleon. The gothic Saint Chapelle is another tourist attraction in Paris. Built in the 13th century, the cathedral has 15 stained glass windows depicting an entire biblical history. Cimetiére du Pére Lachaise is a hodgepodge of tombstone and shrines. Visitors flock to lay kisses on Oscar Wilde’s tomb, or view rock star Jim Morrison’s grave.
For medieval architecture, visit the National Museum of the Middle Ages, also known as the Musee de Cluny, for the impressive collection of works from the middle ages. Statues, tapistries, and manuscripts make up the works, the most famous being Dame a la Licorne (Lady and the Unicorn). In addition, the building is a fine example of medieval architecture and houses a Roman bath house dating back to around 200 AD. The world famous Louve, home to the Mona Lisa, was built as a fortress in the 12th century. Art lovers could spend weeks combing the Louve, which contains 35,000 pieces of art in 60,000 square feet of gallery space.
Notre Dame Paris is an impressive feat of gothic architecture. With an awe inspiring exterior, dual towers, and an expansive interior, Notre Dame Paris is a worthy stop on any Paris itinerary.
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