Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

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Climbing the stairwell to the top of this masterpiece is well worth the effort for the spectacular view. Construction of this great Gothic cathedral began in 1163 and was largely completed by 1212. The rebuilding of the two transept gates in 1270 marked its completion. The west face is adorned with three richly decorated doorways and crowned with two 69-meter (226-feet) tall towers. The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris houses some of Catholicism's most famous relics, including a piece of the Holy Cross and the purported Crown of Thorns. The cathedral has figured in many works of fiction, including Victor Hugo's classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Location:  6 Parvis Notre-Dame Place Jean-Paul II

Business hours:  Mo-Su 7:45 a.m.-6:45 p.m.