Results 21-30of 60 Reviews
October 4, 2005
From journal Paris is a moveable feast
September 5, 2005
The church’s portal would originally have had colourful statues to encourage the masses to learn about bible stories from these amazingly detailed sculptures. Today, they are a fascinating insight into medieval life, and I’ll guarantee that you’ll want to spend time examining them. The oldest statues, carved around 1170, can be found in the right hand side doorway (centre top) and depict Mary and baby Jesus surrounded by a couple of angels and the kneeling form of Louis VII.
The cathedral is just huge and is amazingly well lit by natural light cascading through its windows. I was told that it can host a congregation of around 9,000 people and that’s really hard to comprehend. Indeed, in it’s early life the masses would have piled in and stood or sat on the floor. So originally it’s likely to have taken far more people for a service - that really emphasises the power of the priesthood in medieval days!
The Rose windows are spectacular and subtly bathe the Cathedral in a multitude of colours. The rest of the glass is not original glass as it was all replaced in the 1700’s with a simple fleur-de-lys, again in the 1800s. Its present glass was manufactured "the medieval way", and so Notre Dame is beginning to return to its earliest form.
The nave is surrounded by small chapels built between the buttresses as a responses to the high demand of the rich guilds in the 13th and 14th Centuries who were more than happy to contribute to the fabric of the building if they received due recognition. Chapels are always fascinating places rich in tapestry, sculpture and religious icon – these are no exception to that rule.
Some of the best views of the Cathedral’s exterior can be seen by taking a Bateau Mouche (the Parisien water taxi). From the Seine, you virtually encircle the great building and are ideally placed for some unique views and some great silhouettes of the terrific towers. I’d certainly recommend that you take in a tour of the area at night and enjoy the street life and cafés that create that typically Parisien feel to the bustling area that is known as the Cité.
From journal Picturesque Paris
New York, New York
August 10, 2005
From journal First-Time Paris
MEXICO CITY, Mexico
July 15, 2005
The gargoyles are absolutely amazing, and they do look like they come alive.
From journal Paris, the glamour city
July 14, 2005
When you enter, there is an area where you can light a candle in memory of a loved one, which is a cool thing to do. I lit one in memory of my grandmother there- after all, how many people have the chance to say they lit a candle in remembrance of a loved one at Notre Dame? If you can, listen in on a tour group's guide outside of the cathedral to learn fascinating history about it. Inside the guides don't really talk out of respect for the church.
From journal Parlevouz Francais?
Saint Paul, Minnesota
June 30, 2005
Europe has hundreds of gorgeous cathedrals, spanning hundreds of years of history. Not one can even come close to the beauty of Notre Dame.
We arrived and queued up on another hot day in Paris. The queue was about an hour long, but there are a few sandwich shops along the way, so we had a chance to grab a Coke and some bread.
After you purchase your ticket, you walk up a long, long, long spiral staircase. The view at the top is amazing. Like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc, you can see all of Paris from the top of Notre Dame.
There are two wonderful things about Notre Dame that separate it from any other cathedral. The first is the gargoyles. They are everywhere, and they lend a heavy Gothic air to Notre Dame. But who knew stone creatures could be so impressive, menacing, and breathtaking all at the same time?
The other amazing part of Notre Dame is the bell. The bell is not simply a myth; it is huge. It's housed in a tower at the top, and there are wooden stairs leading to it.
Notre Dame is not for those who are scared of heights or claustrophobic, as there are many tight passes very high in the air. But it's worth every penny and every bead of sweat. I felt like I was a piece of history while standing on top of Notre Dame.
From journal Paris: Hot and sweaty, but worth it
Diamond Bar, California
June 16, 2005
From journal Paris for Beginners
April 25, 2005
The flight of spiral stairs was grueling. It seemed endless at that point of time. The spiral stairs continued to swirl for 10 minutes before I was out of the narrowed stairways. I was in a dizzy spell when I reached the top. Stabilizing for a few seconds, I felt better. At the top of Notre Dame, the view was enviable. It overlooks several famous monuments and structures in Paris: Sacre Coeur; Eiffel Tower; Hotel de Invalides; and, of course, the long stretch of the Seine.
From journal A Fall Idyll in Paris
Seattle, Washington, Afghanistan
January 11, 2005
To go into the cathedral is free. You are free to walk around or even attend service when it’s going on. It’s also fairly easy to take photos without really getting any dirty looks.
I highly recommend, if you are up for it, the climb up to the bell tower. I have been to the cathedral three times, and this is the first time I have done the climb. This is where you can get the classic gargoyle shots and amazing views of Paris. It costs about 6 euros to climb the tower. Be ready for a somewhat strenuous climb up narrow, winding stairs. When you think it can’t get any narrower, it does.
When you get to the landing with the gargoyles, you can actually continue up again to see the actual bell. It’s huge and was very cool to see. I spent a lot of time taking photos of the gargoyles. It was a lot of fun to get shots with the gargoyle and Paris in the background.
I was carrying a bunch of bags (shopping!), and it was a pain to drag those up and down the stairs. I really wanted a hand to hold onto the railing on the way down. The tight, narrow, winding spaces kind of freak me out a bit, I guess. Be ready for your calves to be a bit wobbly once you are back down on the ground.
From journal Paris
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
November 16, 2004
From the main entrance, turn right toward the double-sided aisle and gaze upon Le Brun’s "May" paintings, which hang in the side chapels; these religious paintings were presented by Paris guilds, one a year to the cathedral, on each May Day in the 17th and 18th centuries.
►Continue toward the transept and arrive at the South Rose Window, which retains much of its original 13th-century stained glass. It depicts Christ in the centre, surrounded by virgins, saints, and the 12 apostles.
►Head to the middle and discover, against the southeast pillar of the transept, a 14th-century statue of the Virgin and Child. Originally from the chapel of St. Aignan, it is why this cathedral is called Our Lady of Paris.
►Toward the back is a high stone screen, which encloses the chancel and provides canons at prayer with peace and solitude from noisy congregations.
►Next, take a left to the heart of the cathedral, where behind the altar is Nicolas Coustou’s Pietà, also named the Virgin of Compassion, standing on a gilded base sculptured by François Girardon. On the other end is the humbled figure of Louis XIII, on bended knees, bare-headed, presenting his crown to the almighty. Louis XIII, who after many years of marriage was childless, pledged to erect a high altar and redecorate the east chancel to honour the Virgin if an heir was born to him. The future Louis XIV was born in 1638, and it was he who carried out his father’s vows 60 years after his birth. He ordered architect Robert de Cotte to renovate the choir, and Antoine Vassé created a high altar. Six angels of gilded bronze by the pillasters carry the instruments of the Passion.
►The carved woodwork choir stalls detail bas-reliefs on the back of the high stalls, with scenes from the life of the Virgin.
►On the north side of the transept is the 21-meter high, 13th-century stained-glass window depicting the Virgin, encircled by figures from the Old Testament. End your tour by going up the flight of steps of the north tower that leads to sights of the famous gargoyles and magnificent views of Paris.
Open daily between 8am and 7pm. Admission charge applies for going up the towers.
From journal Paris, for All Seasons, All the Year Through