Notre Dame facts
Notre Dame Paris

Key facts about Notre Dame, the cathedral of Paris, visits, mass schedule, 800 year history, architecture and dimensions.

Notre Dame facts: best time to visit

Paris Notre Dame Cathedral is open every day from 8am to 6.45pm (7.15pm on Saturdays and Sundays). The best time for a visit is early in the morning, Tuesday to Friday.

Access to the Cathedral is open and free of charge every day of the year during the opening hours. There may be a queue.

Notre Dame Cathedral is not just one of the greatest Paris monuments. It is above all a catholic church, a place of christian worship and fervor. Behave accordingly.

More top Paris churches.

More top Paris monuments.

Notre Dame facts: Tower visit

The twin towers culminate at 69 meters (387 steps). The south tower houses 13 ton Emmanuel bell (picture).

The towers can be visited - April 1st to September 30th, 10am to 6.30pm (June to August, on Saturday, Sunday, 10am to 11pm) - October 1st to March 31st, 10am to 5.30pm. Last access is 45 mn before closure. Closed on January 1st, in May 1st, December 25th.

Entrance on left-hand side of the facade. Long waiting time.

Notre Dame Cathedral facts

Notre Dame facts: Crown of Thorns

In 1238, King Saint Louis (picture) bought the Christ's Crown of Thorns (picture) from Constantinople (picture), Istambul today. The King commissioned Sainte Chapelle as the crown's schrine in his Palace (picture), the Conciergerie.

In 1806, the Crown was transfered to Notre Dame. The crown is guarded in the Cathedral's treasury by the Knights of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and can be worshipped every first friday of the month. Details.

The Crown of Thorns is in Notre Dame
The Crown of Thorns is in Notre Dame

Notre Dame practical facts

Notre Dame is located on Ile de la Cite, the Paris island that concentrated the power of France between the 4th and the 14th century. Notre Dame is 130 meters long, 48 meters wide, 35 meters high. Its pillars have a diameter of 5 meters. The rose windows (picture) have a diameter of 10 meters.

Locate Notre Dame on Paris map. Visit Notre Dame crypt. Notre Dame detailed practical information. Paris metro: Cite station on line 4. Saint Michel station on RER B and C lines.

Notre Dame facts: Notre Dame and Ile de la Cite in 1550

Notre Dame Facts: mass schedule

Weekdays, Monday to Saturday noon
8:00 a.m. mass in the choir
9:00 a.m. mass in the choir (Except in July, August and first half of September)
12:00 p.m. mass at the main altar
5:45 p.m. Vespers service
6:15 p.m. mass at the main altar
5:45 p.m. First Sunday Vespers service
6:30 p.m. Sunday mass at the main altar
Sundays (all services held at the main altar):
8:30 a.m. Mass
9:30 a.m. Lauds service
10:00 a.m. Gregorian mass of the cathedral chapter
11:30 a.m. international mass
12:45 p.m. Mass
5:45 p.m. Vespers service
6:30 p.m. mass usually by the archbishop

Notre Dame history facts

Notre Dame is Paris Catholic Cathedral since the Middle Ages. Appointed bishop of Paris in 1160, Maurice de Sully decided to give the capital a cathedral worthy of France’s largest city. He wanted to build it in the style of the day, the gothic style. King Louis VII encouraged the project. The Church, notable residents of the city, and the entire population participated in the construction: some offered money, others offered their labour, while others offered their knowledge. Construction began in 1163. Notre Dame was completed 109 years later, in 1272. During this time, many craftsmen’s guilds worked relentlessly under the supervision of seasoned architects. They all made an equal contribution to God and to Mary – Notre Dame - to whom Maurice de Sully dedicated the cathedral.

Notre Dame witnessed many historic events, including the coronation of Napoleon (painting by David - December 2nd 1804) and the Magnificat for Paris liberation in the presence of Charles de Gaulle (picture - August 26th 1944).

Notre Dame Cathedral facts
Notre Dame Cathedral facts: Notre Dame statue

Fact: Notre Dame saved by a novel

At the end of the 1789 French revolution, Notre-Dame had suffered numberless injuries and mutilations.

In 1831, French Novelist Victor Hugo published the now famous novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". PDF text.

The moving description of Notre Dame in this beautiful and successful novel stirred considerable emotion.

Intensive restoration work was started in 1845 by Architect Viollet Le Duc and completed in 1864.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (from Disney movie)