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Notre Dame Confusion

I'm hoping someone can help sort this out for me. I have so many questions, please forgive the confusion.

I'm planning on visiting the Notre Dame in April. I found this website that looks to be the official website for the Notre Dame. You can buy tickets to get in from this website.

http://www.notre-dame-tickets.com/#buy

However, I've since learned from this forum that the way to get reservations/tickets is to use the app DucktheLine the morning that you are attending.

So which is it? It seems to me that the official website lets you buy the tower tour for 29 euros and reserve your time then. So why would you need to arrive at 7:30 in the morning and use the app?

My next question is probably a dumb one but does the "Notre Dame Cathedral Tour with Tower Access" let you tour the main floor as well as the tower? I've read there is a line at the front just to tour the inside/main cathedral part, but do you get to tour that part as well if you do the tower tour that lines up not at the front? Does that make sense?

Thanks in advance for any replies and help.

Posted by
3767 posts

The link you posted is not to the official site. It says so at the bottom of the page. Go to http://www.tours-notre-dame-de-paris.fr/ to buy tickets.
"My next question is probably a dumb one but does the "Notre Dame Cathedral Tour with Tower Access" let you tour the main floor as well as the tower? I've read there is a line at the front just to tour the inside/main cathedral part, but do you get to tour that part as well if you do the tower tour that lines up not at the front? Does that make sense?"

The line at the front door is for entering the church or what you refer to as the main cathedral part as opposed to the towers. The line for the towers is on the left side of the building as you face the front. You can always go into the church without going to the tower and vice versa. Entrance to the church is free. The line for the church moves very quickly -- the one for the towers, not so much.

Posted by
32 posts

@JHK

I can't thank you enough for pointing me to the right website and clearing up some of my confusion.

About how long does it take to do the tower tour then, if the lines are long? Any idea?

Thanks again.

Posted by
5919 posts

I thought I would add the the Notre dame tower/roof/bell tour is included on the Paris Museum Pass and you can still use the DucktheLine app. I have gone to the roof twice and I think its a wonderful and unique view. I love my photos with gargoyles in the foreground and the Eiffel tower and other sites in the background.

Posted by
3767 posts

I've only gone into the tower twice. Both times, I arrived 30 minutes before it opened and got in line. The whole thing including waiting time took me about 90 minutes both times. I have not been since they set up the reservation system that you will see information about at the site that I posted.

Posted by
32 posts

So to those who have done the app. What are the hours that you can reserve? Do they go every hour? Or is the tower tour only available for specific times?

Posted by
2479 posts

The tower is not a tour, it's a do-it-yourself climb up 400ish(?) narrow stone stairs. Worth it to visit the gargoyles--I've done it 3 times, but not since the app was introduced.

Posted by
33123 posts

Just to visit the Cathedral is still join the queue and go in - no app required - isn't that right? Only the app for the Towers?

Posted by
8164 posts

You no longer line up to go up the Notre Dame Tower. The only way to visit is to reserve on line or in person that morning. You then return 15 minutes before your reservation and go up and pay or show your pass on the first floor before finishing the climb.

The Cathedral is free and it is always fast to get through the bottleneck of the security at the door and go in.

Posted by
2349 posts

A little of your confusion might be from this- the French word for tower is tour.

For the main cathedral, you do not need a pass or to reserve. The line may be long but it moves at walking speed.

Posted by
4684 posts

In case you missed it in one of the comments above, note that the climb up the towers is physically strenuous and is not recommended for people with difficulties with heights or steep/narrow/winding staircases.

Posted by
26 posts

I did the tower tour a few weeks ago. The app opens for each day's reservations at 7:30 am. I logged in from my hotel at 8:15 am the day I wanted to go to the tower, and the first open slot was around two hours out. By the time I got to Notre Dame, there was a sign that said all time slots that day had been taken.

Note that when your time is confirmed, the app will start a countdown to your time slot. The countdown is actually to the end of your time slot. You can get in the line 10 minutes before the countdown reaches 0:00. There is an employee at the entrance to the line who will look at the app on your phone to confirm it is your time to enter.

Posted by
32 posts

@Jason

Thanks, Jason, that was incredibly helpful. I appreciate the recent insight. Thanks again.

Posted by
5919 posts

Regarding the tower climb at the Notre Dame. It is not as high as the towers I just did in Spain, though I do recall the steps being rather uneven from wear. It is not a climb straight up, once or twice you come out on the roof and then walk across to another ascent. I am moderately claustrophobic, sad to say, but I also do not like to miss out on activities. I've developed a few strategies. I try to be in the front or the back of the group, it makes me feel like I have more control. When things get a little tense I do some mind games, multiplication tables, a song, reciting the preamble to the constitution or the Gettysburg address (all mentally). Really, the Notre Dame, is fairly easy for me. I did have a little stress just recently in the Toledo cathedral that I was able to manage.

Posted by
3941 posts

I don't do stairs fast and would have felt pressured to keep moving at a brisker pace than I was comfortable with, so I made sure hubby and I were at the very back, so if I needed to stop for 10 sec to catch my breath, I wouldn't feel like I was slowing people down.

Posted by
8164 posts

NOte that the Ap is location sensitive so you may or may not be able to use it from your hotel. It only works within a few hundred meters of the site.

Posted by
1826 posts

We climbed the Notre Dame Towers Sept. 28 and Sept. 30, 2018. We went to the kiosk about 10 A.M. both days and easily secured reservations for late afternoon climbs. You don't need your Paris Museum Pass to get the reservations, but can use it instead of paying when you do the actual climb.

The climb is a bit difficult if you aren't young or super fit. However, I had no problem pausing several times during the climb. Just flatten yourself into the outer edge of the tower stairs - the stairs are wide enough for others to safely pass you.

The mesh safety fencing on the towers is very closely spaced. A regular camera lens will not fit between the spaces, although a smart phone lens fits OK>

Posted by
5919 posts

The last time I did the tower, my recollection is that there was some mesh, but there were little openings in some cases. Additionally, there was the mesh, but there also was wider spaced what I would call fencing, I guess. I do have a fair amount of photos and I didn't capture any mesh or fencing. I'm really not disagreeing with the comment, more saying there are in some cases a work around.