A popular cathedral in Paris, the Notre Dame Cathedral has been famous in photo albums of tourists as well as the pages of literature and movie screens. However, aside from being a popular tourist attraction in Paris, the Notre Dame Cathedral is also a Roman Catholic cathedral that has a Gothic architecture and design. Being one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture that became prevalent in Europe and Paris, the naturalist sculptures and stained glass are set against the Romanesque architecture. Inside is the cathedra (official chair) of the Archbishop of Paris. It is also believed that the Notre-Dame cathedral treasury has a reliquary with the Crown of Thorns.
Outside of Notre-Dame
Some of the unique features of the Notre Dame Cathderal in Paris are the flying buttress included for exterior supports. More statues were then erected outside the cathedral to serve as support for the columns and water spouts–some of these are the gargoyles that most people are familiar with in Paris. Initially, the gargoyles were colored as well as the exterior of the cathedral, but the years faded the colors off the Notre Dame leaving behind the grey stone. In the west front of the cathedral are the twin towers and rose windows, three doorways with rows of saints and sculpted tympanums–Life of St.Anne in the right, Last Judgement at the center, and Life of the Virgin at the left.
Inside the cathedral
Inside the cathedral are long nave with solid capitals and a marble Pieta done by Coustou on the high altar. Some of the things to see in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris are the Galerie des Chimeres or the Grand Gallery that connects the two west towers and where the gargoyles could be found. There is also the King’s Gallery that is a line of statues of the 28 kings of Judah and Israel. There is also the West Rose Window in Paris which dates back to 1220.
Treasury of the Notre Dame
Entrance to the cathedral is free of charge and it is open for everyone, everyday of the year. Most of the visitors of Notre Dame Cathderal in Paris are tourists and pilgrims. There are organized tours in the cathedral everyday and it lasts approximately one hour. The tour in Paris is focused on the cathedral as an art and the art pieces inside it including sculptures, paintings, stained glass, history, and architecture. There are also audioguides available for people who do not want to join tours in groups and would prefer to explore the cathedral by themselves.
Inside, there is also the Treasury of the Notre Dame in Paris which is mainly the location of the sacristy and the liturgical objects made of gold. Some of the historical and art pieces housed by the treasury are from 17th and 18th century as well as the 19th century workmanship. Tours on the cathedral towers are also allowed, where to view of Paris from the top of Notre Dame is possible. Tourists could also get a view of the roof, spires, and largest bell–Emmanuel Bell–of this famous cathedral. However, reaching the top of the Notre Dame will be a challenge to some people as it requires 387 steps to the top.
Despite the large number of tourists exploring the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, its official still considers Notre Dame first as a place of worship so tourists are expected to dress and behave accordingly. People who are touring in groups in Paris are recommended to remain silent and respect the people praying inside the Notre Dame.