Climbing the towers of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, feels like traveling back in time. As you get higher and higher you forget about the current business, imagine yourself ringing the huge bell and shouting your love for Paris from the top!
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PLANNING INFORMATION - NOTRE DAME TOWERS
The Notre Dame Cathedral Towers are one of the best places to see Paris from above.
The upper room of the North Tower
After a first serie of stairs you get to a 'waiting' room where you can purchase your ticket. It is at the same level as the organ gallery inside the cathedral.
The vaulted room is beautiful with keystone 14 meters above the ground. plus at one corner there is a spiral staircase, that sadly we do not take.
Then we started our climb to the chimera gallery...
First level or Notre Dame: the view
The first level includes the chimera gallery and the 'Place du Parvis'. We are 46 meters above the ground and many statues are adorning the balustrade. Sadly there is a net all around and it is hard to get unobstructed views. Make sure you take your time because you cannot go back, this is narrow and one way only
First level - Notre Dame's details
As you walk through the level and what is called the chimera gallery, you get really close to those statues and their strange faces.
The creatures are fantastic birds, hybrid beasts and mythical monsters:
We get to see a different view of the towers and how decorated they are:
When looking towards the back of the cathedral, we discover more traditional statues:
The belfry and the bells
Before continuing on the gallery at the South side, be sure to enter the belfry of the South Tower.
Be careful the doors are low and narrow!
Just few more steps and you discover the old gigantic bells including Emmanuel, the largest one which weighs more than 13 tons. It dates from the 17th century! This bell is only rung on major Catholic feast days. On a normal day, they rang the 4 bells of the North Tower.
The top of the Notre Dame South Tower
Then you climb another staircase all the way to the top platform of the South Tower. Now you can enjoy the 360° panoramic view of Paris. Sadly they also set up some net on part of the view which was really frustrating.
To the West, you can see the Sainte-Chapelle, the Hotel-Dieu hospital and the Palais de Justice. Far away are the modern building of La Defense.
As well as the Seine River and the Eiffel Tower
To the North you see the Saint Jacques Tower (which I think displays a better view than the Notre Dame Towers), Saint Eustache and the Sacré Coeur on top of Montmartre:
If you do not suffer from vertigo, you can also look down, and see the arches in the middle of the Cathedral. I think the tall but narrow building next to it are also quite funny
This is the back of the cathedral and its garden
In the direction of the East, the Seine river continues all the way to the 4 modern towers of the National Library.
If you have a good zoom, you can also admire the Pantheon:
And Saint Sulpice (if I am not mistaken)
And the Eiffel Tower!
Want to see MORE of FRANCE?
Discover more things to do with planning information and photos in my online Paris Travel Guide.
Are you inspired to re-read the Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo?