It wouldn’t be right to go to Paris without paying a visit to its heart. The Notre Dame Cathedral has been a place of worship and an important part of France’s history since its construction began in 1163. It was where Napoleon made himself emperor and where much of Victor Hugo’s celebrated book The Hunchback of Notre Dame was set. Today, the Notre Dame is still used daily for religious services, but it is also a destination for being one of the most beautiful examples of French Gothic architecture. The massive building is made more impressive with flying buttresses, gargoyles, sculptures, and stained glass windows. Notre Dame’s bells have been ringing to call people to prayer for centuries, and they continue to do so today. If you time your visit right, you might even get to hear the great Emmanuel bell, the only bell that remains from before the French Revolution. Tours of the Notre Dame are offered every day, and are a great way to learn more about the rich history and art this cathedral holds.