JUL 20,2019 - JUL 20,2019 (1 DAYS)
Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis - from Place du Châtelet to Île Saint-Louis:
The Main sights: Place du Châtelet, Pont d'Arcole, Hôtel-Dieu, Place Louis Lépine, the Conciergerie, Palais de Justice de Paris, Place Dauphine, Place du Vert-Galant, Pont Neuf, Sainte-Chapelle, Notre Dame, Pont de la Tournelle, Île Saint-Louis.
Start: Châtelet Metro station. End: Pont Marie Metro station. Duration: 1 day. Distance: 11-12 km.
Our daily itinerary: We start at the métro station Châtelet (Lines: 1, 4, 7 , 11, 14). The square stretches at the north end of the Pont au Change, a bridge that connects the Île de la Cité, near the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, to the right bank.
Pont au Change & Conciergerie:
Pont Neuf from Place du Châtelet:
The name "Châtelet" refers to the stronghold, the Grand Châtelet, that guarded the northern end of the Pont au Change, containing the offices of the prévôt de Paris and a number of prisons, until it was demolished during the years 1802-1810. At the center of Place du Châtelet is the Fontaine du Palmier, designed in 1806 by architect and engineer François-Jean Bralle (1750-1832) to celebrate French victories in battle. It has a circular basin, 6 m. in diameter, from which a column rises in the form of a palm tree's trunk 18 m. tall. The palm trunk is surmounted by a gilded figure of the goddess, Victory, holding a laurel wreath in each upraised hand; the goddess figure stands on a base ornamented with bas-relief eagles. The gilded finial is by sculptor Louis-Simon Boizot.
Four allegorical figures also by Boizot ring the base of the fountain: Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Strength. From top to bottom, bands of bronze gilt pay tribute to the victories achieved in the following battles: The Siege of Danzig (1807), the Battle of Ulm (1805), the Battle of Marengo (1800), the Battle of the Pyramids (1798), and the Battle of Lodi (1796). Its sphinxes were designed in 1858 by Gabriel Davioud and sculpted by Henri Alfred Jacquemart (1824-1896); they commemorate Napoleon's victory in Egypt.
Two identical-looking theatres stand facing the square, the Théâtre du Châtelet and the Théâtre de la Ville, both designed by architect Gabriel Davioud and completed between 1860 and 1862 as part of Baron Haussmann's grand reconfiguration of Paris.
From Place du Châtelet we walk 120 m. NORTH along rue Saint-Denis. After the first 100 m. (after we cross Rue Nicolas Flamel on our left) look to the RIGHT to see Tour Saint-Jacques:
Continue a bit northward along rue Saint-Denis and turn RIGHT to rue des Lombards. It was originally a banking center in medieval Paris, a trade dominated by Lombard merchants. It is famous for hosting three of the main French jazz clubs: Le Baiser Salé, Le Duc des Lombards and the Sunset/Sunside. You continue EASTWARD along Rue de la Verrerie. It takes its name from a glass factory that existed in 1185 in this street. Turn right (SOUTH) to Rue du Renard. This road brings us to the Le Marais district in Paris. We cross Place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville from north to south until we face the Seine near Pont d'Arcole. This bridge connects Place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville and the île de la Cité. Its name comes from the Battle of the Bridge of Arcole, in which Napoleon defeated the Austrians in 1796. The bridge is also historically notable in that the first tanks of Général Leclerc's 2nd Armored Division rolled on their way to the place de l'hôtel de ville during the liberation of Paris in August 1944. You can enjoy the great view of Seine river and île de la Cité:
After crossing the Seine along Pont d'Arcole
we continue 100 m. further south along Rue d'Arcole and we see, on our right, the Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu, 1 Parvis Notre-Dame. We are, now, in Île de la Cité. This hospital is easily one of the hidden gems of the 4th arrondissement. The oldest hospital in Paris. Named ‘Hotel-Dieu de Paris’ and founded as a place for the sick as far back as fourteen centuries ago, the equipment and buildings may have been updated but this French hôpital remains a wonderful insight into Paris of the past. Steps away from Notre Dame, in a place where many wander past but few venture into. Close to Saint-Chapelle and not far from the medieval street that is Rue Chanoinesse, there’s been a hospital here of some form or another on site since year 651 AD. First established by Saint Landry during the 7th-century, Hôtel-Dieu (literally translated into English as ‘Hostel of God’) is often alleged to be the oldest hospital in the world still in operation. Originally, the hospital would have stood on the other side of the Parvis de Notre Dame. The core mottos of the place where charity and hospitality, meaning that Hotel Dieu was founded with the view of caring for those that needed it, rather than as a ‘hospital’ as we would think of one today. Instead, the centre offered food and shelter, as well as the most basic of medical attention. Hotel Dieu was the only hospital in the city during the Renaissance Period. With the death of the King Louis XV, the plans for demolition of this hospital were soon abandoned and the hospital was instead renovated and repaired. With this being said, it wasn’t until at least the 19th century when the hospital became known as giving the kind of treatment you’d expect from such an establishment. Fires ravaged the buildings on several occasions and so the architecture of the buildings you see now dates back to 1877. Typically Hausmmannian in style, these structured and symmetrical buildings are all ornate architecture and high ceilings. Today, the hospital still operates and specializes in ophthalmology (emergency cases), as well as specialist departments for diabetes and endocrine illnesses. While some parts of the hospital are not in current use, there are still some three hundred and fifty beds still in operation.
We exit the old hospital from its southern side. Head northwest on Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 40 m. Turn left to stay on Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 70 m. Turn right onto Rue de la Cité, 130 m. Turn left onto Rue de Lutèce, walk 75 m. to face Place Louis Lépine. It is named after Louis Lépine, a notable mayor of the Paris police. It is the venue for the Marché aux fleurs, a flower and bird market. The Metro station Cité has its only entrance on the square. The prefecture of police is a large building located between the Place Louis Lépine and the Quai du Marché neuf. This building was built as a barracks for the Garde républicaine from 1863 to 1867 (architect Pierre-Victor Calliat) and was occupied by the Prefecture in 1871:
The Palais de Justice de Paris is north-west to Place Louis Lépine:
In the same direction (north-west of the square) is the Conciergerie, 2 Boulevard du Palais. Open: everyday 09.30 - 18.00. CLOSING DAYS: 1 January, 1 May and 25 December. Prices: adult - 9€, concessions (under 26 years for not a national of a Member State of the European Union - 7€). Very famous, historic place where prisoners had been housed and tortured for centuries and this was their last stop before the guillotine. She was held there for over two months before she was executed. To see items that belonged to her in her final days is a moving experience. A few cells (with no window and no toilet) and guards’ rooms have been done up, but most of what is offered are explanations of the history of the place and its role in French history. The museum emphasizes a brief period before the revolution and the few years following until The Directories were established for the justice system. The exteriors of the Conciergerie are very beautiful. It wraps around the cathedral of Sainte-Chapelle. The Conciergeriea is located full storey below ground level, and all built in stone. So, it might be the perfect place during days of excessive heat without AC. The visit in the Conciergerie should be combined with the Sainte-Chapelle. Go mid-to-late afternoon, buy the combined ticket with the Sainte-Chapelle, visit the Conciergerie first and plan to be in the chapel for the last hour (summer) or last hour of light (winter), when the crowds in that relatively small space of the cathedral can actually thin to a trickle. Your combined ticket lets you skip the LONG queue into the chapel.
The Conciergerie Clock Tower on the north bank of the Ile de la Cité is 47 m. high. It was built by Jean Le Bon between 1350 and 1353 on the corner of what is now the Quai de l’Horloge and the rue du Palais. Originally built as a lookout for the Royal Palace later known as the Conciergerie, it became a Clock Tower – “L’Horloge de la Conciergerie” – in 1371, when King Charles V graced it with the city’s first public clock. Made by Lorrain clockmaker Henri de Vic, it remained unchanged until 1585, when Henri III gave it a beautiful multi-coloured square-shape dial of one and a half meters in diameter, a frame of gold-leaf with angels and allegories sculpted by Germain Pilon, and a Royal blue background with golden fleur-de-lys. Severely damaged during the French Revolution, the clock was restored in 1849 by Pierre-Michel Lepaute, a member of the famous 18th and 19th centuries French clock-making family that built tower clocks driven by horizontal mechanisms. More recently, it was restored again in 2012 using old documents from the National Archives to return it to its original splendor. It still chimes every hour on the hour, pointing at its Roman numerals with bronzed copper hands:
We continued walking WESTWARD along the Quai de l'Horloge and turned LEFT (south) to rue de Haralay. Here, you get a marvelous view of the . Located in the heart of Paris on Ile de la Cité, the Palais occupies 4 hectares of land and is spread out over different floors making up almost 200,000m². Inside, there are some 24 kilometres of corridors, 7,000 doors, and more than 3,150 windows. The history of the Palais de Justice in Paris is often associated with the history of the city. It is also inextricably bound up with the history of royalty, as the palace was for a long time the residence of kings. In accordance with the divine right of kings, the king had all the legislative and executive power, as well as judicial authority. The history of the palace up until the 10th century is almost completely unknown. This is easily explained as after observing the Merovingian and Carolingian kings, their court didn't have a fixed residence. Perhaps they lived elsewhere on Ile de la Cité:
Place Dauphine is located in a at the tip of the Ile de la Cite, this quiet little corner of Paris offers respite from busy city life. Take a break from sightseeing and enjoy the charming atmosphere of Place Dauphine. This leafy gem in the heart of the City of Light is lined with quintessentially Parisian buildings, art galleries and cafés, not to mention lovely little cobblestone streets. One of the prettiest squares in Paris. The square is actually in the shape of a triangle. The thick walls of the buildings surrounding the space on three sides provides sound protection and contributes to Place Dauphine’s tranquil atmosphere. In addition its to idyllic park space, a handful of charming cafés and restaurants line the square. Place Dauphine is not large, but its unique size and hidden away setting add to its charm. The park benches dotting the square are the perfect place for a mid-day picnic after a busy morning exploring the Île de la Cité. Place Dauphine is an ideal spot to sit back and enjoy the people watching:
At its most narrow end (the tip of the triangle), Place Dauphine converges with Pont Neuf. The point is marked with a grand equestrian statue of Henri IV. Take a moment to enjoy the views of the Seine and the city from here. If you look in the distance, you should be able to spot the Eiffel Tower, along with the Pont des Arts and the Louvre Museum:
If you stand on Pont Neuf near the equestrian statue of Henri IV with your face to the north - you can see on your left (west) the most western tip of Île de la Cité - Place du Vert Galant:The square was built in tribute to Henri IV and his numerous mistresses. The Square du Vert Galant has an impressive fauna and flora considering it is situated in the centre of the capital. Consequently, the Square du Vert Galant has become one of the most popular places for romantic strolls where loving couples enjoy little boat trips and wonderful views of the Seine, the Musée du Louvre and the Hôtel de la Monnaie:
We walk, now, to Sainte-Chapelle. It is 550 m. walk from the southern end of Pont Neuf. Head southwest on Place du Pont Neuf toward Quai des Orfèvres, 15 m. Turn left onto Quai des Orfèvres, 400 m. This road is very famous due to Henri-Georges Clouzot's film from 1947.
Turn left onto Boulevard du Palais, 150 m to face Sainte-Chapelle, 8 Boulevard du Palais. Opening hours: 1st March to 31st October: Monday to Friday: from 9.30 to 12.4 and to 14.15 to18.00, Saturday and Sunday: from 9.30 to 18.00, 1st November to 29th February: Monday to Friday: from 9.00 to 12.45 and from 14.15 to 17.00, Saturday and Sunday: from 9.00 to 17.00. Last admission 30 minutes before closing time. The best time to visit is in the morning from Tuesday to Friday or during the late afternoon hours when you, still, have significant light and sun outside. Closed: 1st January, 1st May and 25th December. Buy tickets in advance to skip the huge line/queue. PRICES: adult - 10€, concessions (-26 years old): 8€. Buy your tickets ahead of time from the official website (it's valid 3 months, no need to pick a date). Tickets in advance saves you the long queues for security control and entrance. There is a security scanner as you go in and they are quite strict on what they let you take in but you can leave items there and go back and collect them afterwards.
Move to Tip 2 - below.
Tip 2: Sainte-Chapelle, Notre Dame, Pont de la Tournelle, Île Saint-Louis.
It was built in the 13th century, upon the order of King Saint-Louis, to house Christ’s Crown of Thorns, now held at Notre-Dame. The upper chapel of the monument is covered in 600 m² of truly exceptional collection of stained-glass windows, of which two thirds are authentic. It is adorned with a unique collection of fifteen glass panels and a large rose window. It’s one of the most complete and remarkable sets of stained glass of this era. The stained-glass windows are breath-taking. All of the walls of this chapel from floor to ceiling are almost completely covered in stain glass windows; it's a magnificent site to see. The Sainte-Chapelle chapel is a jewel of Gothic art. The stained glass windows depict scenes from the old testament and new testament. The size and beauty of the stained glass are overwhelming. The fire in Notre-Dame made this chapel even more outstanding and crowded. Expect long queues (for security control and entrance) to enter. To appreciate the brilliant colors of the windows come in a sunny day - during the early hours of the mornings or the late hours of the afternoons. The visual effect of those colors from the windows are overwhelmingly powerful. So much to soak in - the stained glass, bible stories, the carvings, the view around outside and... the crowds inside. If you really want to see the details you'll need binoculars or use your camera's zoom.They provide laminated guides to the windows for visitors to use to learn more about the windows. You can take audio tour that comes with the ticket for an extra 3 Euro and is worth it. Take a couple of hours to see this beautiful building.
Sainte-Chapelle floor 1:
Be prepared to climb some stairs to get to the main attraction. Do make sure you climb to the upper floor which is where the majority of the gorgeous windows are. Access to the second level is via a winding staircase of stone. Having a disability will limit your access. Those in wheel chairs or with canes can see the upper chapel via an elevator. In the past, the upstairs, the more opulent part was reserved for the important people, while the peasants were dictated to the bottom for services.
Sainte-Chapelle - floor 2:
On our way outside from the Sainte-Chapelle we pass through the front of Palais de Justice de Paris:
We continue from Sainte-Chapelle to what was remained from Notre Dame. We shall take the shortest way from the south. Head southwest on Boulevard du Palais toward Rue de Lutèce, 150 m. Turn left (EAST) onto Quai du Marché Neuf, 180 m. From here the entrance is prohibited or restricted. The Notre Dame is on the left. A major fire has engulfed the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame in April 2019, one of France's most famous landmarks. The 850-year-old Gothic building's spire and roof have collapsed but the main structure, including the two bell towers, has been saved:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In case you are hungry and looking for a good,budget restaurant - take our recommendation for Saveurs de l'Asie in rue Lagrange. This is a chain of Asiatic food restaurants in Paris. This one is 600 m. from our point of standing. Head southeast on Quai du Marché Neuf toward Rue de la Cité, 140 m. Turn right onto Petit Pont - Cardinal Lustiger, 60 m. Turn left onto Quai de Montebello, 130 m, turn right onto Rue Lagrange, 85 m. turn left to stay on Rue Lagrange, 160 m. Continue straight onto Rue Frédéric Sauton/Place Maubert, 20 m. Saveurs d'Asie is part of series of restaurants with the same facade. Saveurs d'Asie is in 29 Place Maubert. Fantastic food. A plate of chicken with ginger and rice - 12.50 euros, Vietnamese Salad - 9 euros, 3 plates for a couple with water - 35 euros. to continue to our next destination Pont de la Tournelle: Head southeast on Rue Frédéric Sauton/Place Maubert toward Boulevard Saint-Germain, 40 m. Slight left onto Boulevard Saint-Germain, 400 m. Turn left onto Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 70 m. Pont de la Tournelle is on your left.
Head southeast on Quai du Marché Neuf toward Rue de la Cité, 140 m. Turn right onto Petit Pont - Cardinal Lustiger, 60 m. Turn left onto Quai de Montebello, 300 m. On your way you pass (on your left) two bridges: Pont au Double and Quai de l'Archevêché:
Continue onto Quai de la Tournelle, 350 m. Pont de la Tournelle is on your left. from here you get a nice view of the Notre Dame. Pont de la Tournelle connects the left bank to the Ile de Saint Louis and traverses the island to enter the right bank as Pont Marie. On the left bank side there is a single pylon about 40 feet high topped by a statue of St. Genevieve (patron Saint of Paris). Superb views of Ile St. Louis and Note Dame from this bridge that carries a lot of motor traffic as well as foot traffic.
From the southern end of Pont de la Tournelle we head northeast on Pont de la Tournelle toward Quai de Béthune, 90 m. You entered Île Saint-Louis. Continue onto Rue des Deux Ponts, 90 m. You face Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île. One third of the main artery of Île Saint-Louis is on your left. Two thirds of this main road of the island are on your right. Traffic is restricted so it is easy to walk down the center of this picturesque street in Île Saint-Louis - one of Paris' most historic areas. We opted to wander to the east end of the island where the crowds disappear and the very old atmosphere comes alive. Anyway, you'll return back to the west and see the remaining est third of this road - which is much more crowded. This main road became the land of ice cream with one ice cream stand after another. Try the Berthillon ice cream (sorry, there quite several shops with this name...) or the Amorino - and tell us which one was the better...:
Pylones shop - Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île x rue de Deux Ponts:
Bertillon, rue Saint-Louis en l'Île #51:
Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île:
In the intersection of rue Saint-Louis en l'Île and rue de Deux Ponts - head north along rue de Deux Ponts. Continue north, cross the Seine over Pont Marie.
Turn left (north-west) to Quai de l'Hôtel de ville to face the Pont Marie Metro station.