There are a million and one churches in Paris (not the exact number, but you get my point!) so it can be hard to decide which ones to see. Often the famous churches are the only ones tourists visit, causing them to miss out on some of the more interesting churches in the city.
These are my favorite Parisian churches. Two of them are off the beaten track, one of them is the beaten track (is that the right way to continue this idiom?) and they’re all worth a visit.
Adult admission €10, open daily, website here.
From the outside, Sainte-Chapelle looks like just another church.
But on the inside: wow!
Sainte-Chapelle has the most amazing stained-glass windows in Paris, if not in the world. My jaw literally dropped when I stepped into the light-filled cathedral for the first time.
And as amazing as the walls and ceiling are, don’t forget to look down too!
Free admission, open daily.
This is another church that’s not all that remarkable from the outside.
But inside it’s a gothic beauty. Plus it has the added benefit of not being at all touristy, so you’ll likely be able to explore in near silence.
My favorite feature of Saint-Séverin is its stained-glass windows. I’ve never seen anything like them in a church, and it gives the historic building a more modern feel.
Cathedral admission free, tower climb €10, open daily, website here.
Ok this church is just about as touristy as it gets. Even still, there’s something special about seeing Notre Dame in the distance, its signature architecture standing out in Paris’ skyline.
When you’re outside, be sure to look for Point Zero. This is the center of France and the point from which all distances are measured. It was also the center of Paris 2,300 years ago.
And then of course you have to step inside to see Notre Dame’s famed interior.
It is remarkable walking into Notre Dame, but at the same time I’m also struck by the amount of gift shops and other attempts at moneymaking within the cathedral. This kind of thing just doesn’t belong in a church, and takes away from its sanctity.
When you visit Notre Dame, don’t skip the tower climb!
Getting tickets is an absolute pain. The first day we went in person and all of the tickets were sold out for that day.
Notre Dame is doing a new thing where you can use an app, Duck the Line, to reserve a time online for that day only. So the next day I woke up and reserved a time slot. We then went back to the church, just to find out it was closed due to strikes. Of course it was, it’s France!
Finally, the third time was a charm, and I reserved a time slot and we went later that day.
This is Notre Dame’s most famous (and bored!) gargoyle.
I love Notre Dame’s tower climb because it offers gorgeous views of the city.
And you’re able to see more of the church’s architecture up close.
After your visit to Notre Dame, be sure to walk around behind the church and across the bridge, where you’ll have a magnificent photo opportunity.
And if you can find this nearby park you may get the best picture of all!
(You can find all of my France travel posts here).
P.S. My dress is by Giamba. You can shop the designer here.