It is one of the strongest symbols of the capital to be admired from the Quai de la Toumelle (Toumelle Quay), where the view of its chevet, with dramatic flying buttresses and grey-green copper spire, is beautiful. The Notre Dame Cathedral stands as an imposing silhouette at the eastern end of the Ile de la Cité (CityIsland).

On a site occupied since the Gallo-Roman era, the Gothic cathedral was quickly built between 1163 and 1245. Later, the openings were enlarged, the transept was extended and the flying buttresses of the apse replaced. In the 19th century, the architect Viollet-le-Duc worked on its restoration. The façade is formal with vertical and horizontal divisions.

Below, the three portals are decorated with numerous sculptures representing notably a beautiful coronation of the Virgin Mary. Above, we see the statues of the kings of Judahand Israeland then the Rose which at the time was regarded as a bold achievement. Inside, Notre- Dame has a very simple plan: a vast nave lined with double aisles that extend around the choir by a double ambulatory. The side chapels are decorated with large paintings offered, in the 15th century, by the Goldsmiths Guild.

It is possible to visit the east towers and admire the fanciful gargoyles and other sculptures designed by Viollet-le-Duc, as well as the Bourdon Emmanuel (Emmanuel Bell) in the south tower, which since 1685 has been sounded when major liturgical holidays and historical events, such as the liberation of Paris, have taken place.

Situation: 4th District.

Access: Metro Cité, RER express train Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame.

Notre-Dame Cathedral : 6, Place du Parvis-de-Notre-Dame.

www.notredamedeparis.fr

Best time to visit: Early morning, before there are too many visitors, or the Sunday afternoon for the organ concert.

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