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Best order to visit Notre Dame & St Chapelle

Best order to visit Notre Dame & St Chapelle

Mar 17th, 2019, 07:20 AM
  #1  
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Best order to visit Notre Dame & St Chapelle

Our trip is getting close! My family of 4 with two kids (age 7 & 4) will be arriving in Paris in a week! Can't wait! As usual, you all have been so helpful in our planning. I did have another type-A planning question to ask about our first sightseeing day. We plan to visit Notre Dame (both the interior of the church and walk up the tower), and St Chapelle. Also that day, we will play in the playground behind Notre Dame, walk around Ile St. Louis and get ice cream at Berthillon, and walk around the 6th a bit. My question is what is the best plan to avoid lines at Notre Dame and St. Chapelle? We will use the Duck the Line app to reserve a tower climb time, but how should we order everything? St Chapelle first, then Notre Dame interior, and climb whatever time our reservation is? Or reverse the first two? Should we arrive before opening time? Happy to hop back and forth a little bit or wait until later in the day for parts if that is helpful.

This will be Monday, March 25 if that makes a difference.

Thank you!!
caze17 is offline  
Mar 17th, 2019, 07:33 AM
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Do the most difficult thing first -- climbing the tower. Everything else will seem easy after that. To get into the cathedral itself, there is practically no wait. Even when there seems to be a huge line, it goes very quickly. The only reason for the queue is because there is just one narrow door to enter, not any real security. The Sainte Chapelle can be busy or not... Since the principal Paris courts moved to the 17th arrondissement, I would assume that the wait will be shorter in the future because it was the same security line for anybody going to the courthouse or to the Ste. Chapelle. With the court visitors gone, this means far fewer people entering the complex.
kerouac is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 07:50 AM
  #3  
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Thanks kerouac! Even with a timed reservation for the tower climb, you think that is best to do first? (We are not worried about the exertion of the climb, only the waiting in line part.) I was thinking that the timed reservation would mean that we should focus on skipping lines elsewhere first thing, but maybe that is not the right way to think about...
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Mar 17th, 2019, 07:53 AM
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>>We are not worried about the exertion of the climb, only the waiting in line part<<

You aren't worried about the exertion . . . with a 4yo?
janisj is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 08:01 AM
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I realize it reeks of hubris, but we live in the mountains and go on strenuous hikes regularly, he skis all day, can bike for miles, etc. He's also huge for his age. So, no, I'm not worried...but now, because I said that, the jet lag will ruin him, he will totally not be up for it, and my husband and I will wind up carrying his 45 lbs up the stairs (or just bail on the whole thing)!
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Mar 17th, 2019, 08:05 AM
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At least we made you stop and think . . .
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Mar 17th, 2019, 08:13 AM
  #7  
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I've tried to plan our itinerary to be very kid-friendly, but I'm realistic enough to know that we will probably have to cut short 50% of the things that we do - I'm more worried about tantrums and grumpiness...but at least we'll be in Paris!
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Mar 17th, 2019, 08:51 AM
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It's a pretty tough climb. Like a lot of similar climbs in Europe - skinny halls, windey staircases, narrow hallways, worn-out stone steps - at last that's how it was the last time I did it. I'm not sure it's going to be a piece of cake with a 4-year-old, especially considering all the other people who will be going up and down while you are.

Do you even have to do this??
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Mar 17th, 2019, 09:07 AM
  #9  
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My kids are desperate to "talk" to the gargoyles like they've seen in the movies. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but we are definitely going to try. That said, I'm really looking for help on the timing of the visit, so if you have an insight there, it would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Mar 17th, 2019, 09:14 AM
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I would suggest to do the climb up the tower first. We live in the mountains too, and hiked a lot with the kids when they were young, so I would have said the same thing (ours were 10 yo when we first visited Paris with them, so the stairs weren't an issue at all). The walk up moves slowly, because there are always older people who are not in shape and who don't live in the mountains. And if they're enthused, they will love it!
Other suggestions with younger kids: make time for any crepe stand that you see. The bird/animal market on Sunday. Any patisserie.
Enjoy!
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Mar 17th, 2019, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by caze17 View Post
I realize it reeks of hubris, but we live in the mountains and go on strenuous hikes regularly, he skis all day, can bike for miles, etc. He's also huge for his age. So, no, I'm not worried...but now, because I said that, the jet lag will ruin him, he will totally not be up for it, and my husband and I will wind up carrying his 45 lbs up the stairs (or just bail on the whole thing)!
Going up or down a corkscrew staircase and carrying a 45 lb. of dead weight in your arms is not recommended.
Michael is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 09:31 AM
  #12  
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Again, looking for timing help, not suggestions on if my family is capable of climbing. Janisj's kind, soft reminder to make sure we had considered this was enough. We all know our own families best, and will make adjustments if needed.

Sounds like climbing the towers first will be the best option, so thank you for the feedback.
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Mar 17th, 2019, 09:33 AM
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A 4-year-old wants to "talk with the gargoyles?" Does he speak French? Oh, forget it, it's just too weird. Go and have a wonderful time.
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Mar 18th, 2019, 04:26 AM
  #14  
 
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Case, we will also be there in a week! So excited. We are however arriving on the 25th, so will hit St. Chapelle first since it closes a bit earlier then Notre Dame. Just thought I'd mention that in case you, like us, won't be there first thing in the morning.
As far as the kids, I totally get it. My kids are adventurous and love to climb, I'm more worried about us being able to make it to the top!
BTW, love you reply in #12 above. Have a great trip!
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Mar 18th, 2019, 05:15 AM
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I, personally, wouldn't do Sainte-Chappelle unless it was a sunny day. If it were to be a sunny day, I would visit in the early afternoon, maybe around 1 PM.

The chapel needs to be illuminated by sunlight in order to appreciate the stained-glass windows.

Thin

Pepper_von_snoot is online now  
Mar 18th, 2019, 08:43 AM
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The Ste-Chapelle is stunning in sunlight, meh otherwise. Listen to Thin.
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Mar 18th, 2019, 09:08 AM
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It actually is only disappointing on a cloudy day if you have previously seen it in the sun.. The first time is fantastic no matter what the weather. I suppose that the same can be said for the first trip up the Eiffel Tower, no matter how bad the weather is.
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Mar 18th, 2019, 12:04 PM
  #18  
 
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If you have timed entry tickets for the tower, then I would recommend going to Ste. Chappelle as soon as it is open. Tour through it, (one hour inside is more than sufficient) then head up to Notre Dame. Depending upon your timed ticket, you could take any of the other items at that time. Of course, if your tower time is early, then I'd go through ND first, then hit your tower tour time, then head down to Ste Chappelle. Its' lines are nothing like those at ND at any time of the year. We've been in Feb, Mar, April May and June. June was on an order of magnitude of 10 compared to even April, so hitting it in March should not be as bad.
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Mar 18th, 2019, 01:51 PM
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You'll eliminate some walking by going to St. Chapelle first, then Notre Dame, then the park behind Notre Dame, and finally to Berthillon on Ile St. Louis.
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Mar 18th, 2019, 02:00 PM
  #20  
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Thanks all! This has been very helpful!

Mabella - have a great trip! If you see an American family with two crazy kids running around, that's probably us!
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