Towers of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Paris, France
Towers of Notre Dame Paris Reviews
Gargoyles! May 02, 2011
Notre Dame is one of the finest gothic cathedrals anywhere, and you can see the inside of the cathedral for free. But for me, the real highlight of Notre Dame is the gargoyles (technically grotesques) who live on the roof, and the best way to see them is to climb the towers. Technically, gargoyles are the long thin hollow monsters who served as drain spouts and grotesques are the statues that sit around the edges of the tower, but that’s a nerd point and really, they are all gargoyles. Fantastically carved, the climb up the towers is worthwhile to get a good look at the monsters, demons, birds and elephants that guard the towers from any passing evil.
If you can entertain them in the queue, this is probably quite a good place to take children (or at least those old enough to manage the stairs). I got chatting to a family with a 5 year old who they’d managed to persuade that gargoyles come alive when you aren’t looking and you should keep an eye out to see them blink. This is a little worryingly plausible, at least if you’ve been watching the right horror films/ Doctor Who recently!
The queue is far longer than it looks. By Paris standards, I thought it looked about 20 minutes long, but the need for safety on narrow medieval stairs meant it was closer to an hour. The stairs are narrow and, obviously, there is no disabled access to a medieval church tower – you will need to be fit enough to clamber up to the top yourself. I noticed a slightly worrying number of young people struggling! Entrance is 8euros, but free if you’re under 26 (I was so flattered when the man asked me my age I forgot to lie!).
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