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Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica Tours and Activities - Ottawa

Ayesha Munir2023-07-10

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Fond of exploring old places and listening to the stories of time they have to tell? Try Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica this time and you’d be spellbound by the grandeur of the largest and oldest standing church in the city, known for its stunning Gothic Revival architecture. The exterior of the cathedral features a grand facade with towering spires, pointed arches, and beautiful stone carvings. Stepping inside the cathedral, you'll be greeted by a spacious interior adorned with vibrant stained-glass windows that depict various biblical scenes and saints. The high ceilings with exposed wooden beams create a sense of grandeur and provide a visual feast for visitors. You’d feel like you’ve entered a time-capsule and traveled back in time! 

So? Ready for a unique experience featuring architectural beauty, historical significance, and tranquil ambiance? Here’s everything you need to know about Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica and related tours and activities.

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(Credit: Charles Ruthari Photography / Facebook)

Where is Notre Dame in Ottawa located?

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica is located on Sussex Dr. between St. Patrick and Guigues, across from the National Gallery. 


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Is Notre Dame Cathedral still operational?

Yes, the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa is still operational. It serves as an active Roman Catholic church and is open for religious services, including daily Masses and other religious ceremonies. It is also a popular tourist attraction, welcoming visitors who come to admire its beautiful architecture and historical significance.

Can you visit Notre Dame in Ottawa?

Yes, you can visit the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa. The cathedral is open to the public, and visitors are welcome to explore its stunning interior and learn about its rich history and significance.

Can you tour the Basilica at Notre Dame?

Yes, you can tour the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa. The basilica is open to the public for tours.

Is Notre Dame open for tours?

Yes, the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa is open for tours. 

Do I need to book my tour to Notre-Dame in advance?

There is no need to book a tour or purchase a ticket to Notre-Dame in advance. 

Are guided tours to Notre-Dame available?

Yes. You can find different guided tours that provide a narrated tour to Notre-Dame Cathedral. Explore these Ottawa Tours featuring Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica and other iconic destinations in Ottawa – and that too at a special price! 

How long does it take to visit Notre Dame Basilica?

The duration of a visit to the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa can vary depending on individual preferences and interests. On average, a visit to the basilica usually takes around 30 minutes to an hour. This time frame allows visitors to explore the interior, admire the artwork, and take in the architectural beauty of the basilica. However, some visitors may choose to spend more time to fully appreciate the details and historical significance of the site.

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Can you go into Notre Dame for free?

Yes, you can enter the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa for free. The basilica welcomes visitors without charging an entrance fee. However, donations are generally appreciated and contribute to the maintenance and preservation of the basilica.

How much does it cost to visit the Basilica?

Visiting the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa is generally free of charge. There is no specific entrance fee to explore the interior of the basilica or attend religious services. While there may be additional costs for specific events or guided tours, access to the basilica itself is typically free.

Is it possible to visit Notre Dame now?

Notre Dame Cathedral is open every day for private prayer and visitation. Operating hours of cathedral are as follows:

Monday & Tuesday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Wednesday to Friday 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Saturday 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Sunday 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM

It is advised to check the official website or for the most up-to-date information on visiting hours, any restrictions, or temporary closures that may be in place.


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Can you walk through Notre Dame?

Yes, you can walk through the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa. Visitors are typically allowed to explore the interior of the basilica and take a leisurely stroll through the main nave and side chapels. This allows you to appreciate the architectural details, artwork, stained glass windows, and other features of the basilica. However, please note that during religious services or events, certain areas may be restricted for visitors. It is recommended to check the basilica's schedule for any specific guidelines or restrictions regarding walking through the basilica.

What is the best day to visit Notre Dame?

The best day to visit Notre-Dame may depend on personal preferences. However, weekdays tend to be less crowded compared to weekends, which can make for a quieter and more serene visit. If you prefer a more peaceful experience, consider visiting on a weekday. Additionally, it's a good idea to check the basilica's schedule for any special events or services that may affect visitor access. This can help you plan your visit accordingly and avoid potential conflicts with restricted areas or crowded times.

Can I take children to Notre Dame?

Yes, you can definitely take children to the Notre Dame Basilica in Ottawa. Children are welcome to visit and explore the basilica along with their families. However, it is important to ensure that children are supervised and respectful of the sacred space during their visit. Explaining the significance of the site and encouraging proper behavior will help create a positive and educational experience for them.

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What are some top things to do in Notre-Dame?

The Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica stands as a testament to timeless beauty and exquisite craftsmanship. With its neo-Gothic architecture and soaring spires, it is a sight to behold. Some of the top things you should add to your Notre-Dame-bucket-list include as follows.

Attend a Mass and Experience Spiritual Tranquility

One of the most profound experiences at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica is attending a Mass. Whether you are a devout Catholic or simply seeking a moment of serenity, the cathedral offers a tranquil environment for worship. The melodious hymns, the scent of incense, and the flickering candlelight create an ambiance that nurtures the soul.

Admire the Neo-Gothic Architecture

Prepare to be awestruck by the breathtaking Neo-Gothic architecture of the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. As you step inside, take a moment to appreciate the intricately crafted stained-glass windows, soaring vaulted ceilings, and ornate sculptures that adorn the interior. The majestic spires that reach towards the sky create an imposing yet captivating sight.

Marvel at the Stained Glass Masterpieces

The stained glass windows of Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica are a true marvel of artistry. These intricate masterpieces depict biblical scenes and saints, infusing the space with vibrant hues and ethereal light. Take a moment to admire the delicate craftsmanship and the stories they tell.

Explore the Crypt and Uncover History

Beneath the cathedral lies a hidden gem—the crypt. Descend into this underground sanctuary and discover a fascinating exhibition showcasing the history of Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. From archaeological artifacts to historical documents, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the cathedral's significance and the people who shaped its legacy.

Climb the Tower for Panoramic Views

For breathtaking panoramic views of Ottawa, climb the tower of Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. As you ascend the spiral staircase, each step unveiling a new perspective, you'll witness the cityscape and the majestic Ottawa River in all its glory. Capture this picture-perfect moment and cherish it forever.

Attend a Concert and Be Enveloped in Melody

Experience the harmony of music in the heart of Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. The basilica hosts regular concerts featuring talented musicians and vocalists from around the world. Immerse yourself in the enchanting melodies that resonate through the grand hall, transporting you to a world of pure auditory delight.


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Can I take photographs inside the basilica?

Yes, photography is allowed inside the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. Capture the intricate details of the stained glass windows, the grandeur of the interior, and the serene atmosphere.

Are there any nearby attractions to visit after exploring the basilica?

Certainly! After exploring the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, you can explore other attractions in Ottawa, such as Parliament Hill, ByWard Market, and the National Gallery of Canada.

To put it all together, visiting Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa, is an enriching experience that combines architectural marvels, spiritual resonance, and cultural significance. From admiring the Neo-Gothic architecture to attending a mass or service, each moment spent within this sacred space is imbued with a sense of awe and reverence. By exploring the basilica's museum or simply finding solace in quiet contemplation, you can forge a deeper connection with the historical and spiritual heritage of Ottawa. Embrace this opportunity to delve into the heart of Canada's capital and discover the wonders of Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica!