How to skip the Notre-Dame line in Paris
Photo by Bethany Beck on Unsplash

My family just returned from a five-day trip to Paris. We love Paris and have so many must-sees on our list whenever we go. The museums, the churches, the gardens, the food and wine—there are always more things to do than there is time to do them.

One of our absolute favorites in Paris is the Notre-Dame Cathedral, where we like to climb the steps up to the bell tower. You can get up close and personal with the gargoyles at the top and enjoy a terrific 360° view of the city. But we are not alone in seeking this experience out. Last year, over 12 million people visited Notre-Dame, and the bell tower climbs are popular and have limited availability. On past trips, I can remember waking up early just so we could stand in line for hours to hopefully get to climb up.

And that is why we were excited to learn about DuckTheLine (aka JeFile), a new app for iOS, Android and Windows that allows you to remotely reserve a place in line at Notre-Dame (and select other sites not listed on the website)! With DuckTheLine, you can reserve a place in line at Notre-Dame beginning at 7:30am on a given day. So while I was having a fresh croissant and espresso in our room, I was easily able to reserve my family a 10am reservation. We arrived at 9:55am, and we were climbing the steps ten minutes later.

At Notre-Dame, you go up to a small gift shop where you buy tickets, which are €10 each (kids under 18 are free). And then, more stairs: 422 in all! But once you’ve wound your way up, you’re treated to a terrific view of Paris and you can see the bells, including the 350-year-old, 13-ton “Emmanuel” that the fictional Quasimodo rang in Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” On your descent down the tower stairs, you can then tour the inside of the church and the gardens and grounds on the south side. I love the stained glass and the immense scale of the cathedral.

If you go to Paris, don’t forget to download the app so you too can duck the line!


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