The Towers of Notre Dame

27 May

gargoyles eiffel

I went over to the Notre Dame with a friend on Sunday. Her time in Paris is winding down, so we’re hitting all those tourist sites that she hasn’t been to yet. Yesterday, I finally went up to the bell towers at the cathedral to see some of those gargoyles and church bells up close.

Normally, the line to go up the Notre Dame is over an hour or two long; they only let small groups people up at a time. We managed a short thirty minutes in line – not a problem since I bought my nutella crepe before we got into line. The entrance is a bit pricey, 8 euros for a regular ticket but since I had my student visa I got in free. (Score!) Then came the climb. You go up this claustrophobic, stone spiral staircase that winds forever upwards. When you finally emerge into the sunlight, you’re already dizzy without even taking into account the vertigo from being 230 feet up.

P1070533The walkway and courtyard/roof of the Notre Dame.

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The view from the Notre Dame is lovely, but the main attraction is definitely the gargoyles. (Again, Quasimodo remained elusive.) Some are clearly recent additions, but other are almost indistinct creatures hunched over, the details worn away by eight centuries of wind, frost, and rain.

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You’re even allowed to climb all the way to the top of one of the towers for a panorama view of Paris. It’s really quite nice up there, if a bit exhausting to climb all the way up. Somehow, the clouds had sort of cleared by that time so we had a decent view. Totally worth it.

P1070543The Pantheon, from the Notre Dame

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