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Saturday, 11 July 2009

Tours de Notre Dame

The bell towers of Notre Dame are open to visitors everyday, but at an entrance fee of €8 for an adult. The entrance is at the base of the North Tower.

It takes 422 steps on spiral staircases to reach the top of the western façade called the "grande galerie". This is the place where the infamous gargoyles are gazing at the cityscape of Paris eternally.

Some of them are enjoying their food and some are looking for it, probably amongst the visitors!

Other than gargoyles, there are some other fierce demons and birds. However, these figurines are not visible from the ground. That statue of an angel looks quite intimidated by the fierce creatures surrounding it.

This grand gallery connects both the North Tower and the South Tower of Notre Dame. Visitors are not allowed to climb up to the top of the North Tower.

Everybody has to walk through the grand gallery from the North Tower to the South Tower via the narrow passage. The view of the cityscape of Paris is quite fantastic from here.

The South Tower which was fictitiously inhibited by Quasimodo in Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", houses the 13-ton bell Emmanuel. This great bell was fortunately spared from being taken down during the French Revolution in the 18th century and and still remains one of the most beautiful "sound vessels" in Europe.

Climbing another flight of narrow-gauged spiral staircase of the South Tower will lead one to the highest point of Notre Dame. This is where the spectacular panoramic view of the city of Paris can be found.

From here, one can also see the spire with a rooster on top, gazing at River Seine.

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