From Notre Dame to the Louvre: the glitter of the city of lights born 2000 years ago. The founders of the old town and the deep dark secrets of the Island. The most loved and hated Kings and Queens. The perfect late afternoon stroll along the river banks to enjoy romanticism and take terrific pictures. The best way to fall in love with Paris.
Meeting point in front of Notre Dame by the horse statue
Closes metro stops are Cité or Saint-Michel on line 4 or Hôtel de Ville on line 1
Most scholars learn in school that in 52 BC, at the time of Vercingétorix’s struggle with Julius Caesar, a small Gallic tribe, the Parisii, lived on the city island, one of two remaining natural islands in the Seine river. The island offered a convenient place to cross the Seine and a refuge in times of invasion.
After the conquest of the Celts by the Romans, a temporary camp has been established on the island, but further Roman settlement developed in the healthier air on the slopes above the left bank, at the Roman Lutetia. King of the Franks, Clovis established a palace on the island, which became the capital of Merovingian kingdom. The island remained an important military and political center throughout the Middle Ages used as a defensive position to fend off Viking attacks.
In the XIIth century, a cathedral, Notre Dame was built on the east part island. The west part was originally the site of a royal palace, and was initially known as Le Palais de la Cité, the seat of the medieval Kings of France. Under Louis IX(Saint Louis) the palace was extended and more heavily fortified and the Sainte-Chapelle was built in the courtyard of the royal palace to host the collection of relics of Christ, which included the Crown of Thorns.
From early times wooden bridges linked the island to the riverbanks on either side up untill the Pont Neuf, the « new bridge » that is now the oldest bridge in Paris built in stone, was inaugurated it in 1607. It offers one of the best point of views over the river and the city monuments. But if you can walk a little further along the riverbanks, the most outstanding views over Paris will be all yours at once!
Tours run 1.5 hour.
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