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Ile de la Cite, Paris Overview

River Seine is home to around 117 islands out of which 4 islands were location on Parisian turf. Ile de la Cite, one of the only two remaining islands, boasts of a long nostalgic history - of the oldest civilization (the Celtic tribe Parisii) on the land of Paris - and a growing cultural prestige as it is homeground to some of the most notable figures of the Parisian skyline - the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Sainte Chappelle, the Palais de Justice (formerly known as the Palace de la Cite), La Conciergerie, Pont Neuf and Place Dauphine amongst others.A ship-shaped island, Ile de la Cite is not only just the geographical or historical centre of the city but is also central to Paris’ tourism and culture.

Previously named as Lutetia in the medieval ages, Ile de la Cite definitely holds the most varied architectural tastes  - medieval, neo-Gothic and neoclassical structures standing in quite harmony, complimenting each other. Visitors can spend an entire day at the island trying to commit all its bewitching details to the mind. A few residential complexes in the westernmost and northeastern boundaries of the island, well-connected roads and bridges and the constant lull of the Seine makes Ile de la Cite one of the most coveted destinations in Paris for visitors. Apart from its treasure trove collections of monuments, Ile de la Cite is also the centre for wandering artisans - music and dancing takes place in galore at this city centre.

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Travel Guide for Ile de la Cite

Ile de la Cite
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The Ile de la Cite is a tourist destination of itself such that it offers to visitors a small yet complete experience of an aspect of Paris. It helps tourists explore the long winding history which has shaped many aspects of this natural island. It helps visitors expereince some of the mot defining qualities of Paris itself - be it narrow lanes, tall monuments, wide parks or quaint cafes - Ile de la Cite is an experience in itself. 
  1. Historical Monuments to Visit at Ile de la Cite: Notre Dame Cathedral, Sainte Chapelle, La Conciergerie, Palais de la Cite (Palais de la Justice), Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation
  2. Squares and Parks to Relax at Ile de la Cite: Place Dauphine, Square du Vert Galant, Square Jean XXIII, Place Jean Paul II
  3. Shopping at Ile de la Cite: Marche aux Fleurs, Boulevard du Palais
  4. Bridges Connecting Ile de la Cite: Pont Neuf, Pont Saint-Michel, Pont Notre Dame, Pont Saint-Louis
  5. Best Cafes/Lunch Restaurants at Ile de la Cite: Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole, Au Bougnat, Brasserie Les Deux Palais, Le Quasimodo Notre Dame
  6. Souvenir Hunting at Ile de la Cite: Souvenir’s Factory, Souvenirs and Services, Aux Chimeres de Notre Dame

History of Ile de la Cite

Ile de la Cite
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Ile de la Cite, home to the Parisii tribe of the Sequana river who were then conquered by Julius Caesar in 52 B.C., converted into the Roman city of Lutetia and was then made military, social and economic centre for the Romans in France. In the middle ages, Movis, the first leader of the Franks built the Palais de la Cite - a Merovingian palace as his royal residence. The middle ages gave birth to some of the most prominent monuments on the island - Notre Dame Cathedral, Conciergerie and Sainte Chapelle. In the middle ages, the island served as one of the most important political and military centres. 

During the Siege of Paris in 885-886, King of Francia, Odo, used this island to his advantage, to defend his kingdom from organised viking attacks. It is only in the 19th century that Haussmann revamped the island by pulling down a lot of structures to give space to wide roads, and vast avenues. During earlier times, wooden bridges were built on the river to link the island with the banks, but these wooden bridges used to float away with the river. Later, stone bridges were adopted to resolve this problem but it didn’t make much difference. The Pont Neuf was the first bridge that actually survived the strong gushes of the river. The eastern end of the Île de la Cité holds a deportation memorial for the French civilians who were transferred to the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War II. The memorial contains two hundred thousand lit crystals on dark walls to honor and commemorate the dead, and one flickering light dedicated to the unknown dead.

Historical Monuments to Visit at Ile de la Cite

Ile de la Cite
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The long and broad historical changes that Ile de la Cite experienced in its age-old existence, it has been gifted with some of the most majestic architectural marvels that make it up to the must-visit list of top places in France. Some of these monuments are the sky-scraping Notre Dame Cathedral, kaleidoscopic Sainte Chappelle, former prison-now court La Conciergerie, former-palace Palais de La Justice and the remarkable Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation.

1. Notre-Dame Cathedral
Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
Timings: Monday to Friday - 8:00 AM - 6:45 PM; Saturday & Sunday - 8:00 AM - 7:15 PM
Details: notredamedeparis.fr/
2. Sainte Chappelle
Address: 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
Timings: Monday to Sunday - 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Details: sainte-chappelle.fr/
3. La Conciergerie
Address: 2 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
Timings: Monday to Sunday - 9:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Details: paris-conciergerie.fr/
4. Palais de la Justice
Address: 10 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
Timings: Monday to Friday - 8:30 AM - 6:30 PM; Saturday & Sunday closed
Details: ca-paris.justice.fr/
5. Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation
Address: Square de l'Ile-de-France, 7 Quai de l'Archevêché, 75004 Paris, France
Timings: Tuesday to Sunday - 10:00 AM - 6:30 PM; Monday closed
Details: cheminsdememoire.gouv.fr/fr/memorial-des-martyrs-de-la-deportation

Squares to Relax at Ile de la Cite

Ile de la Cite
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The narrow bylanes of Paris open into wide spectrums of squares and parks where locals and visitors can come to relax and enjoy a warm time amongst flowery trees and pleasant breeze. The first andorrisement of Paris, Ile de la Cite has a number of public squares that one can take a stroll in or sit at the benches to admire the nature around. As Ile de la Cite is house to some important monuments, sitting around at these squares to catch a quick breath sounds wonderful.

1. Place Dauphine
Address: 75001 Paris, France
Time Spent: 1 hour approx. 
2. Square du Vert Galant
Address: 15 Place du Pont Neuf, 75001 Paris, France
Time Spent: 2 hours approx.
3. Square Jean XXIII
Address: 4 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
Time Spent: 2-3 hours
4. Place Jean Paul II
Address: Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
Time Spent: 2 hours

Shopping at Ile de la Cite

Ile de la Cite
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The island of Ile de la Cite is not as famous as the newer island in Paris for shopping but it has a few choice shops to immerse in quality shopping. Someone looking for unique and antique items should also drop by at these local shops to see if they can find something worth a buy. There are two major shopping stops at Isle de la Cite - Marche aux Fleurs is the perfect place for buying fresh flowers and birds while many local shops can be found on Rue d’Arcole and Boulevard du Palais.

1. Marche aux Fleurs
Address: 37 Place Louis Lépine, 75004 Paris, France
Timings: Monday to Sunday - 09:30 AM - 06:45 PM

Bridges Connecting Ile de la Cite

Ile de la Cite
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9 out of 37 bridges of Paris help connect Ile de la Cite to the right and left banks of the rest of the Paris. One of the most significant bridges that helps connect Ile de la Cite is Pont Neuf. There’s another bridge that helps connect both the islands - Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint-Louis - named Pont Saint Louis. From the other 7 bridges, the most significant ones are  Pont Saint-Michel, Pont Notre Dame.

1. Pont Neuf
Address: 75001 Paris, France
Connects: Ile de la Cite to the left banks of Paris
2. Pont Saint Louis
Address: Pont Saint-Louis, 75004 Paris, France
Connects: Ile de la Cite to Ile Saint Louis
3. Pont Saint Michel
Address: Pont Saint-Michel, 75006 Paris, France
Connects: Isle de la Cite to Place Saint Michel in the left banks of Paris
4. Pont Notre Dame
Address: 77 Quai de la Corse, 75004 Paris, France
Connects: Ile de la Cite to quai de Gesvres on the Rive Droite to the right banks of Paris

Best Cafes/Lunch Restaurants at Ile de la Cite

Ile de la Cite
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The complete experience of this natural island in Paris also requires one to visit any of these adorably aesthetic cafes to try some of their authentic dishes. Visitors can visit the Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole for its romantic aesthetics and delicious seafood, Au Bougnat’s reasonable prices and mouth-watering hamburgers, Brasserie Les Deux Palais for incredible service and amazing salads, Le Quasimodo Notre Dame for breakfast crepes and breezy outdoors.

1. Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole
Address: 24 Rue Chanoinesse, 75004 Paris, France
Timings: Monday to Friday - 11:00 AM - 03:00 PM, 06:00 PM - 11:00 PM; Saturday & Sunday - 12:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Details: restaurantauviuexparis.fr/
2. Au Bougnat
Address: 26 Rue Chanoinesse, 75004 Paris, France
Timings: Monday to Friday - 12:00 PM - 03:00 PM, 06:30 PM - 10:00 PM; Sunday & Saturday - 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Details: aubougnat.com
3. Brasserie Les Deux Palais
Address: 3 Boulevard du Palais, 75004 Paris, France
Timings: Monday to Friday - 06:30 PM - 09:30 PM Sunday & Saturday - 07:30 PM - 09:30 PM
Details: brasserielesdeuxpalais.fr/
4. Le Quasimodo Notre Dame
Address: 11 Rue d'Arcole, 75004 Paris, France
Timings: Monday to Sunday - 09:00 AM - 08:00 PM

Souvenir Hunting at Ile de la Cite

Ile de la Cite
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One of the most basic joys of traveling to a foreigh destination is the idea of carrying back a small token for remembrance. Souvenir hunting is a popular sport amongst visitors - the want to buy something that captures one’s experience that can be gifted to loved ones. Ile de la Cite makes for a resplendent souvenir hunting location - many shops have popped up in and around the famous historical monuments on the island.

1. Souvenir’s Factory
Address: 6 Quai du Marché Neuf, 75004 Paris, France
Timings: Sunday to Thursday - 10:00 AM - 07:00 PM; Friday & Saturday - 10:00 AM - 08:00 PM
2. Souvenirs and Services
Address: 5 Boulevard du Palais, 75004 Paris, France
Timings: Monday to Friday - 07:30 PM - 08:00 PM Sunday & Saturday - 10:00 PM - 08:00 PM
3. Aux Chimeres de Notre Dame
Address: 20 Rue du Cloître-Notre-Dame, 75004 Paris, France

How To Reach Ile de la Cite

The Île de la Cité is connected to the rest of the city by bridges on both banks of the river. The Pont Neuf is the oldest and most well known bridge out of them. The island has one metro station; The Cité, and the RER station Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame on the left bank. These are the most convenient ways to get to the island.
Bus: 21, 24, 27, 38, 58, 70, 85, 96

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