One of greatest houses of worship in Christendom and a feat of Gothic architecture, Notre-Dame has been host to royal weddings, weary pilgrims, and the crowning of Napoleon at emperor of France in 1804. Construction begun in 1163 and lasted for more than 180 years; heavily damaged during the French Revolution, the church was restored in the mid-1800s. It continues to awe visitors with its iconic stained glass windows, gargoyles and flying buttresses.
Amazingly, entrance into the cathedral is free and photography is allowed, but be respectful of those there to worship. At the back of the church, behind the nave, an extensive timeline showing the history of the church is offered in both French and English. For those wanting to tour the underground crypt or view the city from the bell tower, a fee is required.
Do take some time to walk around the entire exterior of Notre Dame. Look up on rainy days to see the water spew out of the gargoyles. A tranquil park is situated on the back side of the church and rarely known to visitors.