Notre Dame Cathedral (highlight)
The huge Gothic masterpiece has survived the French Revolution, housed the Crown of Thorns, seen an English royal crowned king of France, hosted the coronation of Napoleon and inspired Victor Hugo's legend of a hunchback bell ringer. To say it's part of the city's cultural and religious lifeblood is a massive understatement.
Its construction began in the 12th century and finished in the 14th--spanning the entire Gothic period--but the finished product can hold a congregation of 6,000. It's significant from a medieval engineering perspective because it was one of the world's first buildings to use "flying buttress" (the support arches attached to the exterior at the garden end of the cathedral).
The highlight inside is the enormous stained glass rose window, but there are just as many fans of the humorous gargoyles with rooftop views you encounter on a climb up the tower. Very Gothic, very Paris!
6 Place Parvis Notre Dame
+33 1 53 10 07 00
Tower visit hours:
April 1-Sept. 30
Saturday-Sunday in July and August 10am-11pm
Oct. 1-March 31
Adults 8 Euro
Kids 5 Euro