The heart of France, both geographically and spiritually, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame is a natural choice to kick off our list of top 10 things to do in Paris. After Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone in 1163, an army of craftsmen toiled for 170 years to realize Bishop Maurice de Sully’s magnificent design. Almost destroyed during the French Revolution, the Gothic masterpiece was restored in 1841-64 by architect Viollet-le-Duc. Some 130 metres in length with a high-vaulted nave and double side aisles, it also contains France’s largest organ.
Must-See at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame: Portal of the Virgin is a splendid stone tympanum carved in the 13th century and shows the Virgin Mary’s death and glorious coronation in heaven. However, the Virgin and Child carving seen between the doors is a modern replica.