If you’ve ever heard of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, referring to either the original gothic novel or one of the many film adaptations, then you know that the Notre Dame is an important part of Paris History. This is only further emphasized by the worldwide outcry and ultimately support for the cathedral after it was affected by a horrific fire that nearly took the entire structure down to the ground. Given how much the world recognizes the Notre Dame cathedral as a worldwide icon, it is no wonder that it is one of the top tourist destinations around the world, which is no small feat considering just how many historic cathedrals and churches exist all throughout Europe.
Unlike the Eiffel Tower which was built fairly recently, the Notre Dame Cathedral began construction all the way in the year 1160, making the fact that the structure is still intact to this day a great feat in and of itself. The cathedral is perhaps most well-known and easily recognizable by its iconic two towers that are at the front of the structure, as well as the tall spire that sits in the middle of the cathedral itself. These outer features are complimented by the interior design which is just as impressive, especially considering the complexity of the arches that hold the entire cathedral up. And while much of the artwork and artifacts are no longer in the cathedral today (with many of them being moved to a safer private location for preservation reasons), the sheer magnificence and beauty of the cathedral is undeniable.
If you ever go and visit the cathedral, be prepared for a long line, which is in part due to the fact that entrance to the cathedral is totally free. And you will inevitably be standing in the hot sun for most of the wait in line, so be sure to bring sunscreen for the long wait. But eventually, you will make it into the cathedral. Once you do get in, make sure to stay silent, because people do actually sit inside the cathedral and pray. If you are not one of those people, simply make your way around the cathedral and take in everything the place of worship has to offer. As long as you follow the flow of people, you will see everything that is available to the public.
And lastly, make sure that you take your time while you are there. You may perhaps feel a bit bored at first and want to get out of there after the first 10 minutes, but recognize that this is a historic site that not everyone can get the chance to visit. When I visited the Notre Dame cathedral, I was completely awestruck by everything that I saw, not just from the architecture and the artifacts within the cathedral itself, but also by the entire atmosphere of people crowding into the cathedral to see its beauty, with many of them praying as well. It is truly a breathtaking experience as a whole and one that you should cherish for as long as possible.
As I mentioned earlier, it may take some time to actually be able to get into the cathedral to check out what is inside. But even if you don’t have that sort of time, you should still at the very least take it upon yourself to admire the cathedral from the outside and marvel at the architecture that has kept the cathedral standing for countless centuries, even outlasting the most recent fire. However, if you take the time to wait in line and actually see the inside of the Notre Dame Cathedral, you will be blown away by just how beautiful and inspiring this iconic Paris icon really is.