on January 5, 2011
Notre Dame de Paris is an amazing building that I thought I knew well from seeing on the TV and in movies but nothing could prepare me for how jaw-dropping it is to see it in the flesh for the first time. Located on the Il de la cite which is in the 4th arrondissement it is hard to miss due to it's size and also the crowds who are constantly outside. Although it is a catholic church you by no means need to be religious to appreciate the absolutely stunning archetecture and the special atmosphere the church has. Just standing outside and staring up at the church there is so much to see from the famous gargolyes and sculptures. Built in the gothic style it has to be thmost beautiful gothic building in the world as far as I am concerned. Gaining entry into the interior is free and although there is always tourists around somehow it feels like an calm oasis in the middle of the city. The atmosphere really is special and although I am not religious even I was awed by it. The gothic archetecture continues inside and the stain glass windows are absolutely beautiful. The huge organs really are a sight to see as are the paintings sculptures. You can really get a feeling of the history of the building and understand why it has been such a literary inspiration over the years. Once you have spent some time wandering around the interior you can then climb the tower and although this has a fee it is something that is a must in my opinion. Be prepared to queue as it is very busy and it is only for the fit as the steps up to the top are narrow and steep. Just walking up the spiral staircase takes you back in time and when you reach the top the views over paris are stunning. The reason I wanted to climb the tower was to get up close and personal with the gargolyes and this was a highlight for me on my trip to paris. You really can get up close to them and see every detail. There is some fencing though for safety which does slightly take away from the experience but it is something I highly recommend to everyone visiting paris. Make sure that you come back at night and view the church when it is lit up as most of the crowds have gone by then and you can sit on a bench and really appreciate the beauty of the building.
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