Notre Dame Cathedral & Crypt, Saint Chapelle & River Sienne (Paris - France)

Unfortunately, since my visit was on a Tuesday, Louvre Museum was closed. After spending almost half a day at Eiffel Tower my next 2 destinations were Notre Dame Cathedral and St.Chapelle.

To begin with there are 2 queues outside the Notre Dame Cathedral, one to visit the main worshipping area another to climb the tower and see everything else except the church.

Unfortunately I stood in the wrong queue and went into the church when I wanted to go atop the tower. Atleast the security gentleman at the entrance could have told me that Paris Museum Pass holders could stand on the other line for the Catheral Tour when I showed him the pass. He just said, this entry was free! Anyways, no worries, the basic round about in the Cathedral made me happy. The tall stained glass windows were just mind blowing.

Its a Gothic style cathedral with the its own typical arches! Before 1160, on this place stood various buildings incl a church dedicated to Virgin Mary another for St.Stephen etc. The effort to built this structure was begun by Bishop Maurice de Sully. By 1177, a major except for the high vaults almost rest of the cathedral almost complete. By May 1182, it was taken possession by the clergy and began to function. 
By 1208, the choir was included and many important modifications happened, esp the flying buttress (the stunning Gothic arches that make the ceiling that support the building) rose higher and was built stronger. By 1220, the fabulous facade as we see today was built. The 3 portals are for Jesus Christ in Last Judgement, Virgin Mary and Patron Saints. Just above the portals are the 28 French Monarchs. 

By 1225, the upper portions were demolished and rebuilt incl the circular stained glass windows. By 1245, the towers to hold bells atop the portals were completed. By 1350 all changes were completed and the church remained un-altered till 1780, when it underwent the classical era changes under King Louis VIII. In 1846, the church was restored after it got dilapidated over time, under the architects Jean-Baptiste Lassus & Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc. 
The stained glass windows here were nothing like I had seen before. It wasn't as huge or as complicated as Bath Abbey, but the sheer number was so many! 
There are several chapels around the altar an each of them had an interesting stained glass window. On the outer side of the altar wall were these relief sculptures of the life of Jesus Christ. 

From there, my next stop was the Archaeological Crypt of Notre Dame. Located just opposite to the Cathedral, its quite literally an archaeological excavation site. Since its all dug up from the ground, its underground! Its the foundation and basic ground structure of an old roman building of 27 BCE that's still intact! Its protected as a Museum now. By 308 CE, this was a proper fort and active city centre with settlement all around.
There are quite a few cathedrals within France named Notre Dame and infact one of it is under UNESCO, however this isn't! But this stands on the banks of river River Sienne, and 'Banks of River Sienne' is inscribed under UNESCO, for the transformation is shows from 10th C to present era along its banks!
From there my next stop was Saint Chapelle. Its also a Gothic architecture, built by Saint Louis in 1242-48 CE. He was King Louis when he lived and 30 yrs after in death in 1270, he was canonized and here is the replica of the statue built then. To the left here is the oldest surviving fresco in whole of Paris, of Angel Gabriel, Mary Magdalena and Virgin Mary with infant Jesus! 

The original intent to build this was to store the relics of the Passion of Christ. Here in the 1st floor, are a 15 tall stained glass windows that are just impeccable! 7 of these 15 have been restored after they were damaged in French Revolution.
From there I stopped over at Les Musees de Decoratifs (yes, as a designer, I had to see it for sure) and that was my day in Paris. It was 6 pm by then and I sat down at the Tuileries Garden and it was time for my return journey. Yes, 2 visits to Paris and I haven't seen Louvre yet. Don't kill me....
Here's a tip or 2: It definitely helps to get a day pass for the Paris Metro at €12.30 for its unlimited travel within zones 1-3 and almost all monuments & places of interest are within this. If you're there for atleast 2 days or more Paris Museum Pass makes sense. If its a day trip, all you can see is a max of 3-4 places At €48, its may prove cheaper to buy tickets individually! Though it says queue can be skipped, the number of people having the pass itself is too many that, that queue itself is pretty long. Unfortunately some places do not provide priority (read, skip queue) entrance to the pass holders incl Tower of Notre Dame as well as Saint Chapelle. Final tip, if you're a vegetarian, skip McD in France!

To Get There:
Nearest railway station: Cite & Saint Michel 
Entry Ticket: €10, €8, €10 respectively
Comes as a part of Paris Museum Pass. 
Both Museum Pass & Trasport Pass can be bought online in their website

P.S: I was invited by Paris Dept of Tourism to experience the city for review purposehowever the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Dedicated to Venkat


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. It's a bit sad that you got on the wrong steps...I went up, but it was again unintentional :)

  2. Did you really spent half a day at the eifel tower? Lol. But maybe ill do 3hrs of photoshoot there. Lol

  3. I also went inside the church which was really my prime purpose to visit Notre Dame de Paris. I never knew that there was another line for the towers. Now I know what to visit the next time we go to Paris.

  4. Soooo beautiful. Especially the windows of churches really fascinate me! Paris is so rich with historical buildings, one of my favourie things to see and admire.

  5. Aww.. is the Louvre Museum only closed during Tuesdays? It's too bad that you missed it. Anyway, the other sites look beautiful and amazing. Did you research the best vegetarian restaurants before going?

  6. I remember studying about these places in architecture school! They truly are marvelous :D

  7. The interior looks superb because of its architectural designs, the structures are well-planned and almost perfect. Amazing structures indeed!

  8. Was it just last week that I read that they closed down the louvre because of the massive flooding? That's so sad. I do hope to see it someday.

    Anyway, these cathedrals are magnificent. I have to admit that I only started admiring them and appreciating the architectural designs and what they represent.

  9. I've been to the Notre Dame cathedral though I wasn't able to visit the inside because it was close then. Thanks for letting me the interiors of Notre Dame. We did go to the bell though.

  10. The experience of the venue is sometime bitter but at last you learn something.

  11. The Cathedral looks medieval. I love it. I can feel its atmosphere from here.

  12. Beautiful! Always loved how the Notre Dame Cathedral looks. So serene.

  13. You really can't help but admire those lovely stained glasses. The cathedral is every bit breathtaking and I would love to see it in person someday. Thank you for the pictures!

  14. We've been there. A service was going on while we were. I was enthralled.

  15. Awesome place! What beautiful decor...How creative must be those people.

  16. The windows church is pretty impressive. So lovely to look, very artistic.

  17. You have captured it perfectly, we went here last year at new year and it was stunning. Definitely liked you tip about the metro too, so useful.

  18. You have so much information about the Cathedral. I believe there will be guided tours in the area. Do you think a self visit is better than a guided tour? I like listening to the stories behind these places...

  19. The interior looks superb because of its architectural designs, the structures are well-planned and almost perfect.


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