Paris from the Towers of Notre Dame


The bells of Notre Dame call you to visit and climb the towers to the belfry.

The bells of Notre Dame call you to visit and climb the towers to the belfry


Paris promises something for everyone – sophistication, beauty, culture, history, cuisines, art, escape and that nebulous quality called ambiance. Hopefully when you visit Paris you’ll carve out time to do more than rush to the major tourists sites; the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Muse d’Orsay.

A Visit to the towers of NOTRE DAME is a must. TIP: May to October the lines to enter Notre Dame and to climb up into the towers can be long. If you arrive late in the day there will be long lines to enter both the Cathedral and to visit the towers.  Arrive at 9:30 A.M. to avoid the crowds and admire the Gothic masterpiece from inside and above.  

The gargoyles are frighteningly fascinating and the views of Paris are fabulous.

The gargoyles are frighteningly fascinating and the views of Paris are fabulous. See the Eiffel Tower under his chin?

Climb the 300- winding steps to get a close-up view of the Cathedral’s flying buttresses spires and roofs. The gargoyles, including monkey monsters, elephant, griffin and birds adorn the outer walls and keep watch on the streets of Paris below. The views of Paris below and spread out before you are spectacular. Look down to the Seine River, the bridges and rooftops of Ile del la Cite, and enjoy the sweeping views of Paris’ landmarks: the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, the Arc de Triomphe and gardens galore. You can imagine Victor Hugo’s fictional character in his novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Quasimodo, in the narrow stairway you’ll climb and in the belfry ringing the magnificent bells. When I visited in June, the towers opened at  10 A.M. so my girlfriend and I  arrived at 9:30 A.M., which gave us both time to visit the interior of Notre Dame while the other one kept the place in line.  

Only when you curb the urge to rush through Paris at a frenetic pace can you fully appreciate the ambience of Paris. Sit, watch, smell, taste, sip and savor the flavors, fashion and sensations of Parisian daily life.

I lived in Paris (in the 6th arrondissement) for four years and return often. Let me offer you a glimpse of the Paris I love: It is waking up to the chiming bells of the St.-Germain-des-Pres church, meandering along the Seine River watching the barges as they cruise up and down, strolling through the Tuileries Garden near the Louvre to visit my favorite Maillot sculptures, wandering the quaint streets of the Left Bank, stopping to see where Hemingway lived near Place Contrascarp, sampling cheeses and fruit at the open markets at the rue de Bucci and the rue Mouffetard. These are just a few of my favorite things to do.

Category: Travel Magazine, Paris, Cultural Exploration, France, Featured

Comments (2)

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  1. Rita M. Wells says:

    Delighted to be introduced to you and you column via NYT
    article. I plan to travel solo (I will be 78 tomorrow) to
    Israel in June for a family wedding, then return with a
    stop in Paris for 4 days…have already read your great
    ideas for looking chic while in Paris. I will really be
    solo in both places except for a few day with ‘new’ family
    near the Golan Heights. All this after I return from a
    mission trip to Mexico to help paint a mural in a rural
    church near the Guatemala border. Yes, my friends are
    rolling their eyes, not to mention my family. But thanks
    for being an inspiration. Heading out to buy a new piece
    of carry-on luggage. Safe travels, Rita Wells
    P.S. I live in a lovely spot called Fairhope.

    • Bravo Rita. I too have been in Paris alone and LOVED it. WOW. What adventures you are having. Everyone rolls their eyes at me, but it just makes me stronger. I bet it’s the same for you. You’re MY inspiration today. Keep up the adventures. xxxx

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