Notre Dame Paris Floor Plan

Notre Dame Paris Floor Plan

Notre Dame Paris Floor Plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris Share: The Cathédrale Notre-Dame makes a grand first impression. From its splendid location on the Ile-de-la-Cité, the cathedral’s towers, spire, and flying buttresses seem to magically spring forth from the Seine River and soar ambitiously towards heaven. The 70-meter-high cathedral was, for centuries, the tallest building in Paris. A masterpiece of French Gothic architecture, the Notre-Dame is one of the greatest monuments of the Middle Ages. Although it may look archaic when compared with modern landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the cathedral features a revolutionary medieval design. The innovative Gothic technology of “flying buttresses” (support beams) were used to reinforce the massive structure. The Notre-Dame Cathedral was founded in 1163 by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) and Bishop Maurice de Sully, who wanted to build a church that rivaled the Basilique Saint-Denis. It took almost 200 years and countless architects, carpenters, and stonecutters to construct the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The result is a perfection of Gothic design. Visitors marvel over the fabulously detailed facade and are awestruck by the enormous nave. The serene sanctuary is a soul-inspiring space. Ethereal light filters through magnificent stained-glass windows, and in the evening, the illuminated votive candles add to the spiritual ambience.
notre dame paris floor plan 1

Notre Dame Paris Floor Plan

Gargoyles are fearsome sculptures typically found on medieval cathedrals, often designed for use as rain water spouts. Some of the grotesque figures had no functional purpose at all, and many believe that they were created to scare off evil spirits. Several of the gargoyles (called “chimères” in French) on Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral served as rain water drains. During rainy weather, the monsters act like funnels, their mouths become the spouts of mini-waterfalls. Other Notre-Dame gargoyles are merely decorative. There is a melange of figures, from frightening devilish characters to a graceful stork and charming winged creatures. To see these amazing personages up close, go up the Cathedral Towers (entrance fee) and wander around the Galerie des Chimères, the balcony of gargoyles between the twin towers. The entrance to the towers is to the left of Notre-Dame’s front doorways on the Rue du Cloître Notre-Dame. Seeing these up close is one of the most delightful things to do in Paris.
notre dame paris floor plan 2

Notre Dame Paris Floor Plan

Gargoyles Gargoyles Share: Gargoyles are fearsome sculptures typically found on medieval cathedrals, often designed for use as rain water spouts. Some of the grotesque figures had no functional purpose at all, and many believe that they were created to scare off evil spirits. Several of the gargoyles (called “chimères” in French) on Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral served as rain water drains. During rainy weather, the monsters act like funnels, their mouths become the spouts of mini-waterfalls. Other Notre-Dame gargoyles are merely decorative. There is a melange of figures, from frightening devilish characters to a graceful stork and charming winged creatures. To see these amazing personages up close, go up the Cathedral Towers (entrance fee) and wander around the Galerie des Chimères, the balcony of gargoyles between the twin towers. The entrance to the towers is to the left of Notre-Dame’s front doorways on the Rue du Cloître Notre-Dame. Seeing these up close is one of the most delightful things to do in Paris.
notre dame paris floor plan 3

Notre Dame Paris Floor Plan

The cathedral is roughly 128 metres (420 ft) in length, and 12 metres (39 ft) wide in the nave. Its cruciform plan, elevated nave, transept and tower were borrowed from 11th-century Romanesque architecture, but its pointed arches and rib vaulting were strictly Gothic. Indeed, it was one of the first Gothic cathedrals to have arched exterior supports known as “flying buttresses”. These were not incorporated into the initial architecture of the building, but were included when stress fractures began to appear in the thin upper walls as they cracked under the weight of the vault. In addition to the flying buttresses, over a dozen supporting piers were constructed to support the exterior walls and counteract the lateral thrust of the nave vaulting. Notre-Dame is also famous for its external statues and gargoyles arranged around the outside to serve as extra column supports and drainage pipes. As Gothic building designers hoped, the additional reinforcement provided by the buttresses, piers and other stone supports enabled the main walls of the cathedral to become non-structural, and thus a greater wall area was available for stained glass, in order to inspire worshippers and illuminate the cathedral’s interior. Indeed, Notre-Dame Cathedral exemplifies the main contributions of Gothic art to Christian architecture: churches soared higher and were more awe-inspiring, while their stained glass windows let in more light and provided additional Biblical art for the congregation. Thus the clerestory windows of Notre-Dame’s original nave were enlarged in the 13th century, filling the interior with light, thanks to the improvements achieved in structural support.
notre dame paris floor plan 4

Notre Dame Paris Floor Plan

Notre-Dame also hosts regular organ recitals and other holy music and classical music concerts such as Gregorian chants and Mozart’s Requiem. The cathedral’s renowned Cavaillé-Coll organ is one of the largest and most powerful in France, with 8,500 pipes, offering truly sensational sound quality. For a schedule of concerts, consult the Notre-Dame website’s calendar of events. Another interesting way to discover Notre-Dame is by enjoying the cathedral’s audiovisual show. Every Saturday and Sunday at 9:15pm, the cathedral offers a breathtaking show of images projected onto a screen of tulle, accompanied by music. Entrance is free.
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Notre Dame Paris Floor Plan

One of the best views of this popular tourist attraction is found on the Ile Saint-Louis around the Pont Saint-Louis. This area offers a lovely view of the towers and flying buttresses at the cathedral’s east end (rear). Another fantastic way to approach the back of the cathedral is from the Quai de la Tournelle reached via Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue des Bernardins in the Latin Quarter. Continue across the Pont de l’Archevêché, where the Place Jean-XXIII is located. This pleasant garden is the perfect spot to enjoy a quiet moment away from the crowds and admire the flying buttresses up close. The finest view of Notre-Dame’s front is from the Petit Pont, a small bridge with a pedestrian sidewalk. Arrive here from Saint-Michel métro station, walk along the Quai Saint-Michel, and cross the Petit Pont bridge to the Rue de la Cité. Another possibility is to arrive from Maubert-Mutualité station, walk down the Quai Montebello via Rue Frédéric Sauton, and cross the Pont au Double, an elegant pedestrian bridge that connects to the Rue d’Arcole, which runs into the Place du Parvis Notre-Dame, the esplanade in front of the cathedral’s facade. Another fabulous perspective for pictures is from the Quai du Marché Neuf along the Seine River. To see Notre-Dame from the Seine, take a Batobus boat ride or a Bateaux-Mouches lunch or dinner cruise departing from Pont de l’Alma near the Eiffel Tower.
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Notre Dame Paris Floor Plan

The cathedral’s twin towers are open to the public for visits. The entrance (with admission fee) to the towers is to the left of the front doorways on the Rue du Cloître Notre-Dame, and then there’s a climb of 387 steps. Admission allows visitors to see the two towers and the balcony of gargoyles. The famous Bell Tower that Victor Hugo’s Quasimodo sounded is the North Tower. Visitors can see the cathedral’s largest bell, the Emmanuel Bell, up close. Tourists are ultimately rewarded by the spectacular views from the top, one of the great experiences of a visit to Paris. Unlike other famous Paris viewpoints (such as the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré-Coeur), the 70-meter-high towers of Notre-Dame offer a close-up view of the historic center of the city. From this location, the panoramic outlook includes Paris’ most famous neighborhoods and monuments: the Ile de la Cité, the Hôtel de Ville, the Louvre, the Sorbonne, the Panthéon, and the Ile Saint-Louis. The view even extends to the modern part of Paris with the skyscrapers of La Défense in the distance. From the towers, there is also an interesting perspective of the cathedral’s roof, spire, and the gargoyles.
notre dame paris floor plan 7

Notre Dame Paris Floor Plan

The Archaeological Crypt of the Paris Notre-Dame (La crypte archéologique du Parvis de Notre-Dame) was created in 1965 to protect a range of historical ruins, discovered during construction work and spanning from the earliest settlement in Paris to the modern day. The crypts are managed by the Musée Carnavalet and contain a large exhibit, detailed models of the architecture of different time periods, and how they can be viewed within the ruins. The main feature still visible is the under-floor heating installed during the Roman occupation.
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Considered to be one of the greatest examples of French Gothic architecture, Notre-Dame Cathedral – along with the Eiffel Tower – is one of Paris’s most famous landmarks. Located on the Ile de la Cite, an island in the River Seine, the cathedral was commissioned by Maurice de Sully shortly after becoming Bishop of Paris in 1160, and built over two centuries, from 1163 to 1345, although much of it was completed before his death in 1196. The cathedral is renowned for the naturalism of its gothic sculpture as well as its sublime stained glass art, typifying the improvements made over the previous era of Romanesque Architecture and Romanesque sculpture (c.1000-1200). Significant damage was caused to the cathedral during the radical phase of the French Revolution (1790s), which was followed in the mid-1840s by an extensive program of renovation, overseen by the restoration specialist Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. In 1991, Notre-Dame Cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites. For two other important examples of Gothic design, see Chartres Cathedral (1194-1250) and Cologne Cathedral (1248-1880).

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