Notre Dame Tower Climb – Travel Vignette

Notre Dame
The Towers of Notre Dame

Notre Dame Tower Climb – Travel Vignette

Notre Dame Tower Stair
Notre Dame tower spiral stair
Notre Dame Tower Stair Treads
The passage of time

So after waiting in line, climbing a set of spiral stairs, and waiting in line again, you enter the second set of spiral stairs into the tower.  The treads are worn from years of foot traffic.  You’re surrounded by old stones that smell like wet leather and feel cold to the touch.  The sounds of footfalls and panting humans echo off the hard cylindrical walls.  Everything is a greyish tan monochrome with diluted light, the color of shadows.  It’s sort of eerie and you feel like you’re going underground, even though you’re climbing up.   Claustrophobics should maybe think twice?

Tower Ledge

Round and round you go.  Fighting off the dizziness, you are finally dumped out onto the tower ledge.  Don’t worry, there’s a stainless steel cage to keep you from plummeting to your death on the plaza below.  As you squirm your way around gargoyles, you see the reason you climbed all those steps.  The view from between the two towers is amazing.  You can see the spires of Sainte Chapelle, the re-convergence of the Seine as it wraps around the island that you are on, and of course the Eiffel tower off in the distance, all book-ended by gargoyles.   Your pictures will be awesome!  All the effort is worth it.

View from the Tower Notre Dame
This is what you climbed up for
Notre Dame Tower

The climb continues, the rest of the way up the other tower to the very rooftop, for nice views back down at the buttress and main roof below.  The climb is full of unbelievable views, and gets you up close to gothic architectural details you can’t really see from the plaza below.  When you are in Paris take the time to make a climb.  Find yourself a view!  Go Artway Today!

If you do have to wait in line, get some refreshments.

Traveler tip: You can now buy timed tickets using an app or at terminals on site to avoid waiting in line.  Find out more on the Centre des Monuments Nationaux website:  We haven’t tried this yet, if any of you have, please let us know how it works in the comments below.


Notre Dame Visit 1994, July 2014, October 2017.

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