Visiting (What’s Left of) the Notre Dame

Whether you’re a fan of hunch­backs, an archi­tec­ture nerd, or just some­one who can real­ly appre­ci­ate a mam­moth old goth­ic church with freaky sto­ries, Notre Dame is worth a visit. 

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the 2019 fire and still under­go­ing restora­tions mean the inside is no longer acces­si­ble, but the out­side of the cathe­dral with its intri­cate stone carv­ings, gar­goyles, fly­ing but­tress­es, enor­mous north and south tow­ers, and love­ly sur­round­ing gar­den is a breath­tak­ing view regard­less. Then you add the head­less saint, the gar­goyle in the shape of the architect’s moth­er-in-law, an Emper­or who crowned him­self (that’s SO Napoleon), and Nazi snipers to the mix and you’ve got a prop­er­ly Parisian cathe­dral: one with a his­to­ry so rich (and so bonkers) that it would take an expert sev­er­al hours to recount it all to you. 

If that wasn’t rea­son enough for a vis­it, Notre Dame is also quite lit­er­al­ly as close to the heart of Paris as one can get. Embed­ded in the ground of the pub­lic square out­side the church is a lit­tle brass plaque mark­ing Notre Dame as “kilo­mteter zero” of Paris, or the cen­ter of the city from which all roads are mea­sured outwards. 

Be sure to seek out the “Moth­er in law” gar­goyle on the North side near the front. She stands out as the only human (esque) fig­ure per­form­ing as a gar­goyle, which is a freak­ish way of using a rain spout to scare you into being a bet­ter Catholic. 

Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame — Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004

Metro: Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame (line 4) 

Neigh­bor­hood: Berges de Seine, 4th arrondisse­ment 

Near­by: Ile de la Cité, Cat­a­combs, Saint Chapelle, Shake­speare and Company 

Open­ing times: Closed until fur­ther notice

How to book tick­ets to vis­it the Notre Dame

None avail­able until fur­ther notice but check their web­site for updates

More Stories
Rarefied Ambiance