France

Notre Dame and its Famous Gargoyles

Notre Dame

Sounds familiar, right? Maybe this Disney movie can jog your memory.

The real Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris is absolutely magnificent. Its construction began in 1163 and continued for another 200 hundred years.  Don’t let its pretty exterior fool you. This poor cathedral has been looted and damaged over its lifespan. Thankfully, the French deemed it necessary to repair and restore it back to its glory.

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Example of the exterior details

Example of the exterior details

Beautiful stained glass windows inside the cathedral

Beautiful stained glass windows inside the cathedral

Some cool facts:

  • Notre Dame is the spiritual heart of Paris.
  • It’s a shrine. It preserves the Crown of Thorns, rumored to have been forced on Jesus Christ’s head before the crucifixion.
  • Impatiently, in 1804 Napoleon took the crown from Pope Pius VII’s hand and crowned himself like a BAMF.
  • “Emmanuel” is the largest bell, weighing over 28,000 pounds.

Notre Dame is open every day from 8am to 6:45pm and on weekends it closes at 7:15pm. To save yourself from an obnoxious line, I recommend going super early or almost to closing time. The best part of Notre Dame is it’s free to go in and search for Quasimodo let your imagination go wild.

The gargoyles

As you’re admiring the exterior of the Notre Dame, pay close attention to those half-man, half-beast monstrosities. Yep, those are totally the infamous gargoyles. Carved out of stone, these gargoyles are what adorns the gutters and make Notre Dame… well, Notre Dame. The name comes from the Latin word-meaning gullet or drain. And guess what they do? They drain water. Each demon-looking monster has a passageway from inside that carries the rainwater from the roof and out of its mouth. To get the best views of the city, you have to climb 300+ steps up the tower and get up close and personal with these gargoyles.

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Depending on when you’re going to Paris, check the times for the Bell Tower. I recommend going early in the morning to avoid the heinous long lines or when the sun is setting to get an amazing picture.

Prices:

Adults: 8.50

Reduced rate: 5.50

Or better yet, if you’re between 18-25 years old and are a resident or citizen of the EU, you get in for FREE with your ID card!

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