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Notre Dame de Paris

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris may only be one of the many famous landmarks in the city of Paris, but it carries a unique nostalgia for those who have visited in the past.  Located in the lively 4th Arrondissement of the city, Notre Dame de Paris, which translates as “Our Lady of Paris”, is a gothic cathedral from the Roman era.  The architecture inside and out is truly breathtaking to the first time visitor and it is therefore a must see.  Access to the church is simple for those staying in the many nearby Paris vacation rentals and can be accessed easily via bus or metro stops “La Cite” and “St. Michel”.  

There are a number of ways to visit the church including some of the more “tourist friendly” guided tours, but many visitors find a “self guided” experience to be more fulfilling when it comes to Notre Dame.  Like only a few other gothic cathedrals in all of Europe, the incredibly impressive atmosphere the church creates upon entering its front doors is something that can be missed while being in a group.  If you happen to be staying in a nearby Paris vacation apartment rental and have the luxury of time, you many even find that your second or third visit may provide an entirely different experience than your first.  Admission is free, so you really can come and go as you please and there is no shortage of things to see once you’re inside.  

For most Americans, the first thing that comes to mind when hearing Notre Dame is “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” which is the English title of Victor Hugo’s famous historical romance.  Unlike many American clichés surrounding French culture past and present, numerous scholars believe that although the story is fictional in nature, that it brilliantly captured the feel of Medieval Paris and French Romanticism, making it one of the most beloved works in history by many French citizens.  For those tourists seeking a unique perspective on the church’s history, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to curl up on the sofa of your Paris apartment rental and give it a read after your visit.  Victor Hugo himself said it best that “Each face, each stone of this venerable monument is not only a page of the history of the country, but also of the history of knowledge and art....Time is the architect, the people are the builder.”