Paris Travel Planner   Les Tours de Notre-Dame, Paris
The towers of Notre-Dame provide beautiful views of Paris and also allow you to get up close and personal with the gargoyles and chimera.




The towers of Notre-Dame were made famous by Victor Hugo's 1831 novel, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (in French called simply Notre-Dame de Paris).

April 2019 Fire

On April 15, 2019, during extensive renovations, a disastrous fire broke out in the cathedral, destroying the roof, the spire, and some of the interior. The two great towers still stand, but you will not be able to visit this unique monument for years as rebuilding work is done.

After the fire, the structure was in danger of immanent collapse and total ruin, but superb work by French engineers and help from around the world had stabilized the structure by September 2021. Now, rebuilding work continues, but will take several more years to complete.

What burned? The roof supports were all of age-old wood, highly flammable. Here's what burned:

Wood roof supports in Cathedrale Notre-Dame-de-Paris

How It Used to Be

Here is what it was like to climb the towers before the fire:

You climb about 400 steps, starting in the North Tower (on the left as you face the church). After an obligatory stop in the gift shop, you continue to climb to the mid level, where you can walk across the entire front of the cathedral and enjoy the panoramic views.

As you cross to the South Tower, stop to visit the cathedral's great 13-ton bourdon bell, Emmanuel, rung only on special occations.

Continue your climb to the top of the South Tower, where your visit is limited to a few minutes, but is adequate to enjoy the views from all angles.

The Seine passes beneath you on either side of Île de la Cité, and you get great views of the Latin Quarter below and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

What about those gargoyles and chimera? You're right next to them. While they're both described as grotesques, note that gargoyles have water spouts, while chimera are simply decorative.

Métro: Cité or St-Michel
RER: St-Michel Notre-Dame

La Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Paris

Famous Churches of Paris

More Churches in Paris

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Ile de la Cité

What to See and Do in Paris

Panoramic Views of Paris


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View from Notre-Dame Towers

Above: View from South Tower of Notre-Dame, Paris.
Below: Detailed carving, as seen from the Towers, Notre-Dame, Paris.

Detail, Notre-Dame, Paris

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