Another interesting addition to Notre Dame in this 850th anniversary year is the installation of a temporary raised viewing platform in the open square just in front of the cathedral.
It's free, and you can either climb some steps or take a long, gradual ramp to get up to the viewing area (the ramp is nice for older folks or those in wheel chairs or with other mobility issues). You can also sit as long as you want on the tiered levels that face the church.
Once you're "up there", you are high enough to get a better look at the facade of Notre Dame, from a much different (and better) angle than is possible from the ground. You are able to see some more of the incredible architectural details and to marvel at the craftsmanship of the stone work, all done by hand more than 7 centuries ago.
I took these images with my iPhone but plan to go back tomorrow (with Georges and Le Garçon) to see the bells with them, and I'll bring my Nikon so I can snap some better quality photos.