Notre-Dame de Paris is still closed to the public and likely to be for a long time yet. Its bays, emptied of its occupants and regular, are only animated by the ballet of the workers of consolidation. The cathedral is home to, in normal times, 35.000 visitors per day, making it the most visited monument of France. The visitors gathered today on the banks of the Seine to observe the building, now devoid of a roof and arrow. Even impenetrable, and in part destroyed, Notre-Dame remains a tourist attraction. Visitors from far and wide want to see from their eyes what they have seen on television: the ruins of the most famous monument of France.

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on The side of tour operators, the programs had to be reviewed. “All our customers always want to see Our Lady, explains it in Paris on the way, organizers of tours. The important thing is not architecture, it is to take a photo of the cathedral.” Paris on the way offers alternatives close to the island of the City: the jardin du Luxembourg, the latin quarter and the Saint-Sulpice church. But all circuit must pass in front of the cathedral.

The logic is similar to Isabelle Bourges ACIS, groupiste devoted to visits of u.s. high school students. “All of the 10,000 passengers brought to Paris by ACIS each year goes by Our Lady”, she explains. The program, a historic façade and a tour of the interior with a guide, after a tour by car of the capital. Since the fire, the groupiste fact finish the tour in the arenas of Lutèce, “for the high school students go to the docks on foot to see Our Lady”, continues Isabelle Bourges.

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For other organizations, it is important to retain a sacred character or historical similar to visits to alternative. “We are in the process of looking at other churches that are lesser known: Saint-Eustache, Saint-Sulpice, Sacre-Coeur, or la Madeleine”, explains Paul Provino’s groupiste G2Travel. In this logic of redirection of tourists, the Centre des monuments nationaux has issued a newsletter to the attention of travel agencies. In the programme, the Pantheon, the chapel of the Vincennes castle and the basilica of Saint-Denis. These last two are also two buildings of gothic style.

Saint-Denis, sister of Notre-Dame

“From a historical point of view and architectural, the basilica of Saint-Denis is more important than Our Lady,” says Régis Cocault, director-general of the office de tourisme de Plaine Commune. It is by the construction of the choir of the building and its west facade, between 1130 and 1145, that the gothic style became a point of reference. In addition, the basilica of lives in the necropolis of the kings of France. His attendance is not yet at the height of its history, especially at the side of the $ 13 million annual visitors to Our Lady. In Saint-Denis, they are scarcely 170.000. “It is a figure to be taken with caution, however, notes Governed Cocault. These are those who visit the crypt and take a ticket. We did not count visitors to the doors of the basilica.”

The basilica-cathedral of Saint-Denis is at the origin of the development of the gothic style in the construction of the great christian buildings. It is a 25-minute metro ride to the gare Saint-Lazare. Thomas Hermans/Le Figaro

office de tourisme de Plaine Commune hope to put the building almost a millennium as an alternative to Our Lady during the duration of the work of the latter, and the place to the rank of unmissable tourist. “Since the fire, working with the departmental committee of tourism 93 and with the office of tourism of Paris,” explains Régis Cocault. This work has enabled the creation of tools to help groups come to Saint-Denis. Seat removal-minute, are available near the basilica, situated in the middle area piétonnisée. The cars can then go park in the outskirts of the city center of Saint-Denis, waiting for the end of the visit groups.

“We hope they will be back. No one is ever disappointed by a visit of the basilica of St Denis”

Regis Cocault, director of the office de tourisme de Plaine Commune

visits to The shrine, however, has not varied significantly in recent weeks. “The tour operators do not want to disrupt their programmes, regrets that the director of the office of tourism. It takes 45 minutes to come to Saint-Denis by bus, but it is hoped that the groupistes will schedule the basilica.” Since the fire, a few groups have thus booked a one-time visit to the last residence of the kings, without leading to a contract. For its part, Governed Cocault positive: “we hope they will be back. No one is ever disappointed by a visit of the basilica.” To the extent that the building should find, in an educational project, the spire, removed in 1847. This promises an increase in expected attendance.

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“We are trying to redirect the flow to the basilica of Saint-Denis, but it is further away and access are more complicated,” says Cécile Ménégaux, director of the office of tourism of Paris. The symbolic barrier of the device, or the need to take metro line 13 or RER hinders many tourists from outside groups.

The other wonders of gothic Paris

“We are still in the processing of the emergency, explains Cécile Ménégaux. Therefore, it is guides the tourists on the destinations they can reach on foot in the city centre of Paris, such as Saint-Sulpice or Saint-Eustache.” The latter features a gothic style similar to that of Notre-Dame, although late and influenced by the Renaissance. In Saint-Eustache, we also noted “a very marked increase of attendance” after the fire of Notre-Dame, partly due to the peak of visitors during the Holy Week. “For the moment, some agencies ask us for information,” explains the director of the church Louis Robiche.

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Another landmark monument of Paris, located on the île de la Cité, the Sainte-Chapelle was subject of a particular interest of groupistes after the fire of the cathedral. In question, “the proximity, and the fact that these are two iconic buildings in the Middle-Age,” according to Cecile Banks, administratrice of the historical monuments in the Sainte-Chapelle. Problem, the building, far smaller than the cathedral, is already close to saturation. “In the peak of attendance, it receives 5,000 visitors per day”, make it impassable, according to Cecile Banks.

Gem in the style of flamboyant gothic architecture, the Sainte-Chapelle is built from 1241 in the palace of the île de la Cité to house the Holy Relics acquired by Louis IX, says Saint-Louis. Didier Plowy / Centre des monuments nationaux – Photo-press

of The 35,000 daily visitors to Our Lady, so will not see on this gothic gem, known for its very large stained glass windows blue and its medieval decoration is almost intact. “We sent already a lot of bands in the Sainte-Chapelle. But on the last minute, it is almost impossible,” confirms Paul Provino of G2Travel. In addition to Saint-Eustache and Sainte-Chapelle, Paris is full of buildings of gothic, gothic-renaissance or neo-gothic, such as the basilica of Sainte-Clotilde, Saint-Séverin, Saint-Merri and Saint-Etienne-du-Mont.

the other side Of the ring’

The construction of Saint-Étienne de Meaux began in 1175, twelve years after those of Our Lady. Tourist Office of the Country of Meaux

To find all of the buildings to the grandeur of Notre-Dame, it must, however, exceed the administrative boundaries of the capital. 25 minutes from East train station, the cathedral of Meaux, the little sister of Notre Dame, is an example of imposing gothic sanctuary. “For the moment, was not communicated on the cathedral after the fire of Our Lady”, said to the bishopric of Meaux. Many other buildings of the kind are accessible in less than an hour by train from Paris, including the cathedrals of Reims, Evreux and Chartres, or the collegiate church of Mantes-la-Jolie.

Beauvais also, we are trying to attract tourists. With the presence of the airport of Paris-Beauvais airport, the city has an asset major tourist. “We are working on a better distribution of visitors on the territory, informs David Gonçalves, director of the office of tourism. Even if people do not come to Beauvais, they can come back then or stay a night before going to Paris.”

Beauvais, only the choir, the transept and one bay of the nave were completed. Bridgeman Images

An opportunity to make the promotion of the jewellery local: the Saint-Pierre cathedral. Its gothic choir, the highest in the world with 48 metres under the vaults, has made his reputation. David Gonçalves, “the disaster of Our Lady can lead to a renewed interest of the French and tourists to the other cathedrals. Then to say that people who had expected to see Our Lady will refer to Beauvais, there is not one that I will cross.”

A certain consensus exists, however, between all the leaders of these majestic buildings: “The spotlight on this claim, which has traumatized many people, including myself, can draw attention to the other heritage richness” according to David Gonçalves. “There has been a shock, confirms Cécile Rives, administrator of the national monuments. We receive a plethora of messages of solidarity, French but also foreigners. There is an awareness on the importance and the fragility of our heritage.”