Rising 90 metres above the City of Lights, Notre Dame de Paris is arguably the most famous church on the planet. The medieval Catholic cathedral is considered one of France’s finest examples of Gothic architecture, defined by its flying buttress, famous gargoyles and magnificent stained glass windows.
For adventurous visitors, climbing the 387 spiral staircase steps to the highest vantage point is a rite of passage. As well as unlocking a spectacular view across Paris, the route also passes by Emmanuel, Notre Dame’s famous bell. Beyond its status as a monument, Notre Dame de Paris is an incredible place to soak up history, culture and religion. Its treasury is home to a fabulous collection of artefacts, with the crypt housing a fascinating range of historical ruins dating back to the Roman occupation.
Notre Dame de Paris is perched on the Île de la Cité, in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. There are several metro stations nearby, with Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame steps from the main entrance. Visitors can choose to explore the cathedral at their own pace or sign up for an audio guide or private tour.
For Disney fans, a visit to Notre Dame de Paris is a must. The church shot to fame in 1996 when Disney released an animated version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, written by legendary French author Victor Hugo. Some claim that Hugo saved Notre Dame from demolition. When his novel enchanted the public in 1831, Catholic Church was forced to restore it to its former glory.