The Gargoyles of Notre Dame

sher she goes ile de la cite french gothic architecture

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The Catholic cathedral Notre Dame stands imposingly on the eastern half of  Île de la Cité. About as iconic as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and well worth a visit. The church interior is massive and typically clogged with church goers and tourists alike. If you’ve got a head for small spaces and an appetite for stunning city views, head outside the church to the left side and join the line for a walk up to Notre Dame’s towers for an intimate walk with the gargoyles and chimera guarding the rooftop.

A quick word of caution: the climb is long and claustrophic and there are no elevators. 387 steps doesn’t sound like a lot, but the ascension is by way of a narrow circular staircase, with small steps with all foot traffic moving in the same direction (aka there’s no room to change your mind midway).

Once you reach the first rooftop, say hello to the numerous gargoyles fiercely guarding their water spouts and take a look out over a fantastic aerial scene of Paris. If you want to get even higher, you can follow the path up to the highest towers, or wait for the stairs to open up for the next group descent. Happy Climbing!

For more sights to visit while you’re in Paris, check out my Mini Guide to Paris and make sure to pick up the Paris Pass before you go in order to get free admission (to Notre Dame but also all the other major museums and metro)


[…] the gargoyles are Notre Dame’s main draw, the church interior is cavernous and majestic and certainly not to […]

Grey | lovewishfully.comMarch 21, 2014 - 3:48 pm

These photos are amazing! I’m a bit claustrophobic, but I think I’d brave the narrow climb for that view!

SherMarch 21, 2014 - 7:46 pm

haha, it definitely felt a little squeezed up at the top.

[…] TO MISS? A climb up to the towers at Notre Dame Cathedral for a close up with the gargoyles and chimera and an aerial view of Paris. […]

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