So if you’ve been reading this you know that my opinion of the Efile tower is not one of complete bewilderment and awe. My experience there can easily be summed up with a shrug of the shoulders and a declaration of “meh”. I have however found a view that is BREATHTAKING.
The view from the top of Notre Dame is a sight to see! First of all the cost to get on top of the church is SIGNIFIGANTLY less than that of the Effile Tower and also I feel a lot better giving my money to the preservation of an amazing religious relic than a tourist sight. Also the historical values of this climb are tremendous! Unlike the Eiffel tower there are many different aspect of this tour you get to see the bells, the gargoyles, the architecture and there is literature about everything you will find there. There are tow levels of the church climb and each corner takes you to a new breath of the city. You are at the perfect angles to get the full spectrum of the city’s layout and of many of its architectural quirks. You also learn about the construction of the church, historical events that have called to the ringing of 40-ton and lowest tonality bell the Bourbon, and wonderful folklore that surrounds this monumental cathedral.
Downsides of the attraction (there are always some)
The upper levels of Notre Dame only became a tourist site in the 1930’s and they have made NO accommodations in its transformation. The 387 steps that lead up to the top are the original spiral staircases that were walked by clergymen, workers, and bellmen since the early 14th century. They are narrow and steep and have a VERY thin handrail running along one side of a wall. Because of the age of the steps there is a nice groove in the middle of each of the steps about an inch deep where people have been placing their feet for centuries. There is no elevator and few emergency exists on the stairs. This is a trek one that I suggest only for those who have confidence in their health and stamina.
-The line. You always spend a vast amount of time standing in queue in a place like Paris no matter what you are doing. These lines however I don’t have much to argue about. The space at the top is very crowded and small (once again not built for tourists) and I have to give a thumbs up to the staff of the attraction (mostly church volunteers) that communicate the amount of people exiting and entering as to not cause too much congestion they do a GREAT job. We got into the line at 12:30 on a Tuesday in Late June. We stood in line for one and a half hour. I will tell you this though; the line got significantly longer at about 1 so we were VERY lucky. Also at that time of day to where the sun hits the church provides a great amount of shade over the line and it is very comfortable and to add to that they are many occasions to sit down except for one stretch of the line. There are lots of cafes and restos so part of your party should get in line while the other shops for tourist knickknacks, baguettes, crêpes, or gelatos ect. There is also a public water fountain RIGHT across the street, which doesn’t occur very often so you can bring your water bottles and stay very well hydrated. I have to say it is the best line I’ve stood in at a tourist site.