Notre Dame de Paris or Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the favorite tourist destinations for both Catholic and non-Catholic tourists.
Its construction started in 1163. The colossal cathedral took exactly 200 years to reach its current form.
Tourists admire its stained glass, the towers, rose windows, steeple, and gargoyles. They also spend time exploring the Notre Dame treasury and climb the towers to see the panoramic views of Paris.
This article aims to answer all questions you may have before visiting Notre Dame in Paris. It covers –
1. Notre Dame’s location
2. Opening hours
3. Mass times at Notre Dame
4. Duration of tour
5. Best time to visit
6. Waiting time in queues
7. Notre Dame Paris tickets
8. Popular combo tickets
9. Paris Museum Pass
10. Inside Notre Dame
Where is Notre Dame in Paris?
Notre Dame Cathedral is located on the île de la Cité in the heart of the city.
It’s one of the two remaining natural islands in the Seine located in the center of Paris.
The official address of Notre Dame is 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Place Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris.
How to reach Notre Dame?
It is quite easy to access Notre Dame cathedral.
If the Paris Metro is your preferred mode of transport you can get down at four different metro stations, depending on where you are coming from.
• Cité or Saint-Michel stations on line 4
• Hôtel de Ville station on lines 1 or 11
• Cluny – La Sorbonne or Maubert-Mutualité station on line 10
• Châtelet RER station on lines 7, 11 or 14
Paris also has the advantage of the commuter/rapid transit system – Réseau Express Régional (RER).
On both Line B and C of RER, you can get down at the Saint-Michel l – Notre-Dame station.
If you are driving a rented car or need parking for your hired cab, head to du Parvis Notre-Dame which can be accessed through Rue de la Cité. You will find enough parking spots.
Notre Dame hours
The opening and closing hours of Notre Dame vary from season to season.
From 2nd January to 31st March, Notre Dame opens at 10 am and closes at 5:30 pm.
From 1st April to 30th September, the opening time continues to be 10 am but it closes an hour late i.e. at 6:30 pm.
From 1st October to 31st December, Notre Dame opens at 10 am and closes at 5:30 pm.
In the months of July and August, Notre Dame extends its timings on Fridays and Saturdays for the summer crowd – it remains open till 11 pm.
When is Notre Dame closed?
It is to be noted that the Notre Dame cathedral remains closed only on 3 days in the year – on New Year, on Christmas and on 1st May.
Notre Dame Paris Mass times
Since Notre Dame has a daily mass, it is quite easy to attend.
The Mass takes place every Monday morning at 8 am and 9 am in the choir of Notre Dame.
The 9 am choir though doesn’t happen in the months of July, August and the first 15 days of September.
From Monday to Saturday mass also happens in Notre Dame at 12 pm, at the main altar.
Vespers can also be attended from Monday to Saturday at 5:45 pm and is followed by Mass at 6:15 pm at the main altar. But on Saturdays, it happens 15 minutes late i.e. at 6:30 pm.
Notre Dame Paris Sunday Mass
On Sundays, several Mass occur throughout the day in the Notre Dame Cathedral.
At 8:30 am, there is a simple Mass followed by Laud’s service and then the Gregorian Mass at 10 am.
There is the International Mass at 11:30 am followed by another Mass at 12:45 pm.
At 6:30 pm, there’s a Mass presided over by the archbishop of Paris which is an important event for Catholic tourists visiting Paris.
How long does the Notre Dame tour take?
The answer to this question is very subjective and depends on the kind of traveler you are.
Are you the kind who can spend 15 minutes just admiring the beauty of the rose windows or are you the one who just gazes around, walks half the building and then gets satisfied enough to leave the place?
There’s as much as to see from outside as there is inside. A slow walk inside the Notre Dame cathedral takes 30 minutes and a walk around the cathedral takes the same amount of time.
However, if you decide to climb the towers of Notre Dame, you may need more time.
The queues are long here and climbing up the 402 stone stairs is a hectic task though the view is as rewarding as the climb was exhausting.
The duration of waiting, climbing the tower at Notre Dame and getting back can take you more than 2 hours. This duration will also depend on factors such as the crowd and your speed.
If you decide to sign the book of remembrances, allow for 15 more minutes inside the Notre Dame cathedral.
Visiting the treasury will add another 20 minutes to your Notre Dame tour’s duration.
The duration of a guided tour of Notre Dame is usually 2 hours, and that’s a good indication of how long it could take if you stick to the basics.
Your spiritual interest or prior knowledge of the Notre Dame cathedral can also make your stay inside longer.
Important: Some tourists don’t recommend the tower climb. They say it is too much of an effort for views of Paris which can be seen from elsewhere as well. They recommend Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe.
Best time to visit Notre Dame
Queues at Notre Dame are the longest from April to October.
The best months for a quick visit are from October to March, so that you don’t have to waste much time queuing up.
The queues are short at 5:30 pm when one can hear the singing of the Vespers Service which is wonderful.
This is the time when one can enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty that the Notre Dame cathedral becomes at sunset.
The 12th-century Gothic cathedral looks wonderful during sunset when its spires and towers glow against the dusky sky. Especially the three rose windows, which look resplendent.
However, it is not recommended to visit Notre Dame in late evenings as you can’t enjoy the beauty of the stained glass.
Besides, if one wants to climb the towers be aware that entries close at 6 pm.
During the high afternoon, the light doesn’t enter the cathedral at an angle, and the glass doesn’t stand out much. For the best of the stained-glass experience, mornings and evenings are much recommended.
Major religious holidays like Christmas, Easter, All Saints’ Day, Ascension Day etc are not the best days to visit Notre Dame, Paris.
In fact, you must avoid visiting before and after these major religious holidays as well because a lot of believers attend the church.
Notre Dame is also exceptionally crowded in the French Spring holidays, Easter Weekend and on 14th of July.
If you are a non-believer visiting the cathedral for its tourist value, we recommend mid-week – Tuesdays or Wednesdays. As much as possible, avoid Sundays when it is teeming with believers who want to attend the service.
How long is the waiting time at Notre Dame?
Notre Dame is a highly rated Paris attraction.
That’s why queues at Notre Dame Cathedral are always long. However, they also move fast.
Notre Dame is big inside and there is no point of queuing up to enter. However, the lines are mainly because of people who block the entrance as they start taking pictures blocking the way for others.
There’s no one to manage the lines, which means the lines move when they move. Usually, you can enter the cathedral after a 30-minute wait.
Another queue at Notre Dame, you must wait in is the one for the towers (if you opt for it). The waiting time here can sometime go up to 90 minutes.
Every 10 minutes, 20 people can walk up the stairs.
One way to avoid this waiting time at Notre Dame is by reaching 30 minutes before the Church opens. Either way one must wait, but this wait of 30 minutes is still better than queuing up for 90 minutes.
If you are traveling in a group, and have decided to go up the tower, take turns waiting in the line. One of you can stand in the queue, while the others can explore the cathedral from inside.
Notre Dame Paris tickets
There are two types of Notre Dame tickets you can purchase. You can either go for a self-guided tour (with the help of an audio guide) or the guided tour, where a live guide takes you around.
All the Notre Dame tickets presented below are smartphone tickets – meaning you don’t need to take any printouts. The tickets will get delivered to your inbox, you just show the email on your smartphone and walk in.
Whatever Notre Dame tour ticket you opt for, remember that this is a cathedral where a proper dress code is applicable.
Low cut or sleeveless clothing, shorts, miniskirts, and hats are not allowed inside the church.
1. Notre Dame self-guided tour
This is a Skip The Line ticket and the audio guide lasts for 2 hours.
On the left-hand side of the long queue of tourists waiting to enter the cathedral, you will find your Skip The Line entrance.
With this tour ticket, you can enjoy Notre Dame from both inside and outside. You can also walk along the historical Rue Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre.
The audio guide you get with this ticket is available in 9 languages including English, Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese.
Tourists have described Notre Dame Paris audio guide as funny, personable, knowledgeable and interesting.
It can be canceled up to 3 days in advance for a full refund.
Adult ticket (12+ years): 19 Euros
Children (1-11 years): Free entry
2. Notre Dame guided tour
This is a guided tour of the Parisian masterpiece.
The live guide is available in 5 languages English, Spanish, Italian, French, and German and the tour duration is one hour.
The guide will give you in-depth knowledge of the history, architecture, importance of the cathedral etc.
The guide also shares whether the legends of the novel “Hunchback of Notre Dame” written by Victor Hugo are true or not.
After the guided tour is over, you are free to explore the cathedral on your own.
You can cancel this ticket up to 24 hours before the visit and claim the full refund.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 19.99 Euros
Children (10-17 years): 15 Euros
Children (0-9 years): Free Entry
Notre Dame combo tickets
There are lots of other interesting attractions near Notre Dame, and that’s why combo tickets are quite popular with tourists visiting Notre Dame.
For instance –
Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower: 5 Kms
Notre Dame and Arc de Triomphe: 5 Kms
Notre Dame and the Louvre Museum: 15 minutes’ casual walk
Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle: 5 minutes’ casual walk
Notre Dame and Latin Quarter: 8 minutes’ casual walk
These Notre Dame combo tickets are also smartphone tickets – they get delivered to your inbox.
1. Eiffel Tower, Cruise, Louvre & Notre Dame
If you’re in Paris for only one day, this combo ticket is Gold for you.
This combo tour of Eiffel Tower, Cruise, Louvre Museum, and Notre Dame lasts eight full hours.
You can book a live guide in either of the 3 languages: English, French, and Spanish.
In the morning, you’ll get to see the Eiffel Tower from 2nd or the top floor and then you’ll have a boat cruise on the Seine River.
In the afternoon, you’ll head towards the Louvre Museum on the bus on the RATP network.
You skip the long queues at the Louvre and explore the museum at your own pace.
On Tuesdays, Louvre Museum is closed so the trip diverts to d’Orsay Museum.
Finally, you’ll have a guided tour to Notre Dame.
These tickets will be fully refunded if canceled 24 hours before the visit.
Adult ticket (12+ years): 95 Euros
Children (4-11 years): 85 Euros
Children (0-3 years): Free Entry
2. Guided visit of Notre Dame and Ile de la Cité
A combined tour to the heart of the city of lights and the 12th-century cathedral is something no one should miss.
With this combo ticket, you will get a live guide who speaks English. The duration of this guided tour is 2-2.5 hours.
You will tour island Ile de la Cité which has its own historical importance due to the kings who lived here, revolutions that happened and the gargoyles which are often as captivating as grisly they are.
The second part of the tour includes a guided visit to Notre Dame and the towers where one can climb and get a panoramic view of Paris.
You’ll get skip-the-line tickets to the towers and audio sets to hear your guide better.
If you cancel 24 hours before your visit, you will get a full refund.
Adult ticket (15+ years): 35 Euros
Children ticket (4-14 years): 30 Euros
Children ticket (0-3 years): Free Entry
3. Notre-Dame Towers & Sainte-Chapelle tour
This tour ticket is quite popular with religious tourists.
After all, this is a Skip The Line ticket to the Sainte-Chapelle royal chapel and the Notre Dame towers.
The English speaking live guide spends around 2 and a half hours with you.
You start with Sainte-Chapelle, which was the residence of kings till the 14th century and is also made in the Gothic style. It is also a picturesque sight with its stained windows and Gothic architecture.
After the Sainte-Chapelle, you will visit Notre Dame and climb up the towers.
From the towers, you get to see the marvelous view of the rooftops of Paris and the Seine River.
For a full refund of this combo ticket, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the visit.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 59 Euros
Children ticket (0-17 years): 49 Euros
4. Louvre, Notre Dame, Seine Cruise & Eiffel Tower lunch
This ticket is yet another tour quite popular with tourists in a hurry.
This tour is 7.5 hours long and the expert live guide is available in 2 languages: English or Spanish.
The trip begins at Louvre Museum, one of the best museums in the world and home to Mona Lisa.
You avoid the infamous queue at Louvre Museum thanks to the Skip The Line ticket.
The expert guide has answers to all your questions, and takes you to the best of what Louvre has for its visitors.
Note that the entrance ticket doesn’t include access to the Napoleon hall of Louvre.
From Louvre, you take a cruise on the Seine River which takes you to the Eiffel Tower.
Its lunch time at Eiffel tower, at the restaurant named “58 Tour Eiffel.”
You will be served a lunch of two dishes and drinks at the first floor restaurant.
Once the lunch is over, you can then explore the tower on your own.
Once the Eiffel Tower is explored, the cruise takes you to Notre Dame. This tour ticket doesn’t include access to towers in Notre Dame.
The last half hour is spent taking a stroll along the beautiful Seine river and viewing the sunset – a beautiful and romantic end to your tour.
For a full refund, you must cancel this ticket at least 3 days before the visit.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 173 Euros
Children ticket (4-17 years): 95 Euros
Children ticket (0-3 years): Free Entry
5. Notre-Dame and Louvre Museum full-day combo tour
The tour is for 7 hours with a live guide in English.
The tour starts with a stroll in the streets of Ile de la Cité surrounding the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral.
You will spend time at the flower market and Conciergerie, which was the last place of residence of Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI and the last Queen of France.
Post that, you will get a guided tour of the exterior and interior of Notre Dame. The tour includes Skip The Line access to Notre Dame towers.
Once the Cathedral is done, you stroll along the Seine to reach the Louvre Museum.
At the world-famous Museum, you use your Skip The Line tickets to avoid the queue and start exploring.
The guide takes you around on a masterpieces tour showing you world-famous icons like Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace etc.
The group size is kept at less than 20 for an intimate experience with the tour guide. Everyone gets headsets to hear the guide.
This ticket is fully refundable if canceled more than 24 hours before your visit.
Adult ticket (15+ years): 96 Euros
Children ticket (4-14 years): 91 Euros
Children ticket (0-3 years): Free Entry
6. Notre Dame de Paris and Latin Quarter 2-hour guided tour
If you want a tour focusing only on the Notre Dame Cathedral and the places nearby, this is just the package for you.
The tour starts with a guided exploration of inside and outside of the Notre Dame.
You’ll get to see Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge of Paris and have a stroll along the beautiful street of Rue Saint Jacques.
Then in the Latin Quarter, you can visit the Caveau de la Huchette jazz club which was featured in the Oscar-winning film “La La Land”.
As part of this tour you will also get to see Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, another church with stained glass windows, the romantic Luxembourg Gardens and ruins of the thermal baths of Cluny which are among the largest ancient remains in northern Europe.
This tour is only available in either Spanish or Portuguese.
Adult ticket (11+ years): 40 Euros
Children ticket (4-10 years): 20 Euros
Children ticket (0-3 years): Free Entry
Paris Museum Pass and Notre Dame
The Paris Museum pass gives free access to the Notre Dame towers.
Entrance to the Notre Dame cathedral is always free but you must buy tickets to climb up the tower. And these tickets are cover by the Paris Museum Pass.
The Paris Museum pass allows you access to over 60 other Museums and attractions in Paris.
It is available in 2, 4 or 6 day packages.
Some of the top attractions which you can enter for free with the Paris Museum Pass are – Arc de Triomphe, Centre Pompidou, Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Panthéon, Sainte-Chapelle & more.
Museum Pass price
2 day pass for Adults: 53 Euros
4 day pass for Adults: 67 Euros
6 day pass for Adults: 79 Euros
All prices for adults who are 18 plus. All children below 18 years accompany for free.
Notre Dame Paris interiors
Notre Dame is about 127 meters long and 48 meters wide. It has a capacity to old around 9000 people.
The Parisian cathedral is marvelous inside.
Its enormous stained glass windows which are 3 in number are its most famous feature.
The glass windows were created in different time periods, but the parts have been preserved from the medieval times.
The diameter of both large rose windows is 13.1 m while the west rose window, over the portals, was the first and smallest of the windows in Notre-Dame.
The top floor of the cathedral is also worth exploring.
It’s built from so much of oak wood that it is estimated that a forest of 21 hectares (52 acres) can be recreated from the trees cut for the construction of this masterpiece.
There’s a silver statue of the Virgin Mary dating back to the 14th century, along with the chapter house, nave and the paintings of “Les Grands Mays” in the chapels.
There are around 29 chapels in the cathedral.
The organ of the Notre Dame has its own importance. It has around 7800 pipes and is 30-foot-wide and being an organist here is a highly prestigious position for any musician.
The Cathedral has five bells, the largest of which is called Emmanuel. It has been part of Notre Dame since 16th century.
Emmanuel is in the south tower and weighs over 13 tons. This bell is always rung first, at least 5 seconds before the rest. The other four bells are in the North tower.
Notre Dame’s most valuable relic is the Crown of Thorns which is a legendary cultural property from Judea.
Who built Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris?
Most of the credit for the construction of Notre Dame Cathedral goes to the 11th century Bishop, Maurice De Sully.
When King Louis VII of France decided to elevate the infrastructure of Paris as the political, cultural and economic capital of France, Basilica of Saint Étienne was torn down and a much larger and taller cathedral came into construction in 1163.
Construction continued under the presence of Pope Alexander III and Sully’s successor Eudes De Sully took over his role in the completion of the church.
Several amazing architects then contributed to Notre Dame. These included Pierre de Montreuil, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus, Jean de Chelles, Raymond du Temple, Jean Ravy and Jean le Bouteiller.
Transepts were remodeled in the Rayonnant style by Jean de Chelles then Pierre de Montreuil who is to be especially praised for the spectacular rose windows.