Notre Dame Paris is located on the eastern end of Île de la Cité (an island in the middle of the Seine River) as shown on the map. The Île de la Cité is the part of Paris where the Kings once resided.
Notre Dame de Paris was built between 1164 and 1375. This Gothic cathedral suffered from vandalism during the 1789 Revolution. Victor Hugo’s novel (1831) Notre Dame de Paris was instrumental in prompting plans for restoration.
There are three portals on the west fascade with the oldest sculptures being on the far right. Above the portals is one of three rose windows and the Gallerie des Chimères is above the rose window. Notre Dame Paris has three rose windows and almost all the medieval glass still exists. The North Rose Window dates from 1250, the South Rose Window dates from 1260.
The best views are at the top, so go ahead and climb the 238 steps up to the north tower and another 140 up to the south tower (378 steps!!) to get up-close and personal with the gargoyles. Or click hereto see the gargoyles as I saw them.
In the south tower is “Emmanuel” a 13 ton bell. It is rung hourly and for festivals and services. There are 4 bells in the north tower that are rung for various services and festivals. On the night of August 24, 1944 it was Emmanuel that was rung to announce the coming liberation.
There are three organs in Notre Dame. The great organ is the largest in France with 8000 pipes. It dates from the 13th century. The choir organ has 2000 pipes and dates from the early 19th century – just after the Revolution. There is also a portable organ.
On the opposite end of the Île de la Cité, as seen in this map you will find Place Dauphine which will provide a quiet place to relax during your sight-seeing. As you walk there, you will pass Sainte Chapelle which is renowned for its amazing stained glass windows.