The cornerstone of Paris's Notre-Dame Cathedral was laid in 1163, but it wasn't until almost a hundred years later, in 1250, that the towers were finished (and almost another hundred until construction was completed, in 1345). Its bells, the largest of which actually have a name – Emmanuel – have rung in the hour and some of Paris's most historical events ever since.
Hearty visitors to Notre-Dame Cathedral shouldn't miss the chance to climb the 387 stairs to the two western-facing towers. If you were impressed by the cathedral's soaring interior, you will be awestruck by what you find up there. Other than meeting the famous Emmanuel, make sure to say hello to the creepy gargoyles that guide the flow of rainwater away from the structure.
Notre-Dame Cathedral is located on L'île de la Cité, one of two islands in the middle of the Seine River. It's reachable via several Métro lines: line 4 (Saint-Michel), lines 1 & 11 (Hôtel de Ville) and line 10 (Maubert-Mutualité).