On my second day in Paris, I went to visit Notre Dame Cathedral. It was an incredible sight. The picture below is me standing in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. Notice the two square towers...
Notre Dame Cathedral is a very famous place. It was the central location in Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (and the Disney movie of the same name.) It is a huge gothic cathedral built in the 1100s. It is one of the most incredible places I've ever seen. The stained glass windows don't look like much from the outside, but they are absolutely amazing from the inside. While there, I toured the interior of the church. I also took a tour of the towers of Notre Dame. In order to get up to to the top of the tower, you have to climb a narrow stone, spiral staircase going straight up to the top. This staircase is barely wide enough for one person to climb up. At one point, I was trying to climb up this staircase while someone else was trying to climb down. I ended up having to squeeze myself against the inside of the staircase and try to support myself on a stair maybe 1-2 inches thick at that point! I was kind of scared I would fall off that tiny part of the stairs. Nothing like that happened though. Once you climb to the top of these stairs, you reach the first level of the towers. If you look at the picture above, you can see this level as the walkway between the two large square towers on the front of the church. From here you have a nice view of the city of Paris, as well as a bunch of the famous gargoyles to keep you company. (See the photos below).
From this level, you cross over to the right hand tower and climb inside a small hole to visit the bell tower. After a short climb up a rickety set of wooden stairs, you reach the bell tower. Here there is a massive , several ton bell. Due to relatively small size of this room and the weak set of wooden stairs, they only let a few people up at a time. Then you climb back down the wooden stairs, head back out the small hole and continue your tour.
The Entrance to the Bell Tower
The Bell inside the Bell Tower
From here you mount another set of stairs and climb up to the very top of the right hand tower. This is an even higher spot and the view is even more impressive here. You can walk completely around the top of the tower, so you have a full 360 degree view. From there, I climbed all the way down another narrow spiral staircase in order to reach the bottom.
All in all Notre Dame was a very impressive site. This alone was worth the trip.