on January 19, 2006
With its prominent location on an island in the midst of the city, a history dating back to the 12th century, its impressive Gothic architecture, and the immortal story of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” by Victor Hugo, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris is one of the top attractions in the city. A stop at Notre Dame should be on any visitor’s short list and it is easily accessible by the Metro. (The Cite stop is closest, but St. Michel or Les Halles, on either side of the Seine, are short walks.) The cathedral is open from 8am until 6:45pm daily, and admission is free, though a climb up the bell tower to get a look at the famous gargoyles will cost a few Euros and perhaps some tight hamstrings if you rush the ascent too much. By far the most impressive time to visit is during Mass. The great organ, the choir, and the rich French voice of the priest saying mass echoing through the cavernous Gothic sanctuary is a truly moving experience. Hundreds of votive candles will greet you as you enter (for 2 Euros each, you can add your own.) Incense hangs in the air and the ambiance of the whole scene is nearly surreal. The best times on Sundays for Mass are 10am (Gregorian chants); 11:30am (with the choir); 12:45am (chanter), and 6:30 pm (choir). You can also catch an organ recital on Sundays and church holidays at 5:15pm. Notre Dame is an experience that is not to be missed!
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009