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Top 8 attractions to visit in Île de la Cité Island in Paris

One of the most beautiful places to visit in Paris, Ile de la Cite, is known as the epicenter of Paris, right at the city’s heart.

It was one of the first settlements of Paris. It has become one of the most stunning places in the world.

Developed by a tribe of fishermen almost 200 years ago called Parisii, the island is home to Paris’s temporal and spiritual heads.

Below you can read everything about this island in Paris, what it is known for, things to do on this island, and what to see on Île de la Cité.

What is Ile de la Cite known for?

Île de la Cité has several notable attractions and sights to explore. The attractions are gems from the past, places of worship, and some relaxing parks.

It is the home of three famous medieval masterpieces- Notre Dame Cathedral, Sainte Chapelle, and the Conciergerie

With its splash of history and charm, the island is a must-see on any traveler’s list.

Where is Ile de la Cite located

Île de la Cité is a small island located in the heart of Paris, France.

It is one of the city’s two natural islands on the Seine River.

With its rich history and iconic landmarks, Île de la Cité holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors.

Its central location makes it easily accessible and serves as a starting point for exploring other popular areas of Paris.

Ile de la Cite map

History of Ile de la Cite

Ile de la Cite’s history is deeply intertwined with Paris’s story.

In ancient times, this city was originally inhabited by a Celtic tribe known as the Parisii.

The strategic location of Ile de la Cite made it an important trading center and a vital crossing point on the river. In the Middle Ages, it became Paris’s political and religious heart.

The French Revolution in the late 18th century underwent significant changes.

The royal palace, known as the Palais de la Cité, which once stood on the island, was destroyed, leaving only the Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie intact.

Despite the devastation caused by World War II, Île de la Cité managed to preserve its historical character.

The island remains a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors worldwide to admire its architectural wonders, stroll along its charming streets, and immerse themselves in its rich history.

Today, Ile de la Cite continues to be a vibrant and thriving part of Paris.

Its iconic landmarks, such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Conciergerie, stand as reminders of the island’s storied past and contribute to its unique allure.

Things to do on Ile de la Cite Paris

As you wander the streets of Île de la Cité, you’ll encounter charming cafes, quaint shops, and picturesque views along the Seine River.

The Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge across the Seine, connects the island to the rest of the city and provides a perfect vantage point to admire the surrounding scenery.

Below are the top 8 attractions to visit in Ile de la Cite Iceland in Paris

1. Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame cathedral
Image: Canva

Residing right on the banks of the River Seine, Notre Dame has been one of the major tourist attractions of Paris for centuries.

The Cathedral is located right at the center of Ile de la Cite.

With its stained glass and sculptures, Notre Dame represents a heavy influence of naturalism compared to the earlier Roman architecture.

The Building of the Cathedral began in the 12th century but was completed 300 years after its construction.

Notre Dame is one of the most prominent cathedrals in France and the oldest one too.

Note: Notre Dame Cathedral is closed due to damages from the devastating fire in 2019. It may open sometime in 2024. Read our article on when the Note Dame Cathedral will reopen to plan your visit.

2. Sainte Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle
Image: Ingenui / Getty

This majestic Medieval monument was originally part of the Palais de la Cité, the royal palace of Paris.

The Sainte Chapelle interior perfectly represents French Gothic architecture.

Inside the building, you will find stained glass windows with intricate work and scenes from the Bible.

After touring the stunning Sainte Chapelle, you can attend one of its famous evening Sainte Chapelle concerts.

Listening to some classical hits, along with the impressive interiors of the chapel, is truly an experience.

3. La Conciergerie

La Conciergerie
Image: Luke / getty

Also known as the Palais de la Cité, this historic fortress attracts millions of tourists annually.

During the French Revolution, La Conciergerie in Paris became a prison where Queen Marie Antoinette was held captive.

Although the cell that held her in is no longer intact, visitors can see the recreation of the room along with all the documents and keys.

It also features the recreation of the place where the execution of the prisoners would take place, giving us a glimpse of the law system.

4. Marché aux Fleurs

Marché aux Fleurs
Image: Tripadvisor.in

On the edge of Île de la Cité and steps away from the Notre Dame and Conciergerie, Marché aux Fleurs is a beautiful flower market.

You can check the shelves to find the perfect bouquet for yourself.

The market was also one of Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite places during her visit to France.

In addition to gardening accessories, the market sells souvenirs such as bags of lavender from Provence and little music boxes.

Every Sunday, this market transforms into a bird market as well. 

5. Pont Neuf

Pont Neuf
Image: Sergey Novikov

Pont Neuf means ‘New bridge’ but is ironically the oldest bridge in Paris.

The construction of the bridge happened in 1578. 

It facilitated accessibility across Paris and thus was a city activity center.

Pont Neuf had few houses on it compared to the other older bridges in the city.

Between the 17th and 18th centuries, Pont Neuf in Ile de la Cité Paris

became an exclusive hub for criminals and street performers.

However, the bridge’s elegant arches now act as the backdrop in tourist photos, and its bastions remind of the city’s past.

6. Memorial Des Martyrs

Memorial Des Martyrs
Image: Tripadvisor.in

Just behind Notre Dame, the Memorial des Martyrs la Deportation is dedicated to the Third Reich victims.

The museum is built underground with high walls and an iron gate to reflect humankind’s descent into the darkness.

It is also a tribute to the people deported from France to the Nazi concentration camps who could not return to their families.

Tourists can visit the museum anytime; its entrance is free for all history lovers.

7. Square du Vert Galant

Square du Vert Galant
Image: Tripadvisor.in

Right below Pont Neuf, the pretty Parisian park is a beautiful place and a must-see attraction.

The square has a collection of impressive flora and fauna and is rightly named the Ile de la Cité’s green ecological space.

It is also one of the best places to take a romantic stroll along with boat rides with serene views of the River Seine.

8. Place Dauphine

Place Dauphine in Paris
Image: Wikimedia.org

A small and charming residential park, Ile de la Cité’s Place Dauphine has some of the most expensive apartments, small shops, and cafes around it.

Dauphine is famous as artists like Boucher and Chardin exhibited their paintings in the area.

It is one of the best places to eat and relax without being hampered by crowds and tourists.

Place Dauphine maintains its calm and beauty as there is no traffic due to its gateway entrance.

If you walk on the west side of the place, you can even spot the equestrian statue of Henry IV. Book your tickets online with an expert guide to get the complete Île de la Cité tour.

FAQs

What is the Île de la Cité known for?

Île de la Cité (Island) is the home to three magnificent world-famous attractions Notre Dame Cathedral, Sainte Chapelle and the Concierge.

It is also essential as it is the birth palace of Paris, a religious center due to Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle, and the home to the city’s first hospital.

Moreover, also the home of the city’s oldest Bridge, Pont Neuf.

What can you do in Île de la Cité?

You can visit some of the best attractions in Paris at Île de la Cité and relax in the many parks, shops and cafes on the Island.

Île de la Cité is home to many historical buildings, but visitors can also wander around the beautiful streets and squares and discover the history and culture of the Island.

How big is the Île de la Cité?

The ship-shaped Island of Île de la Cité is about ten streets long and five lanes wide.

The Island is located in the Seine at the center of Paris and connects with eight bridges, and the ninth Bridge connects it to Île Saint-Louis.

It is the largest Island in Paris.

What is the easiest way to get to the Île de la Cité?

The fastest and easiest way to reach the Island will be through RER B line Charles de Gaulle directly from Saint Micheal – Notre dame.

After getting off, you just need to walk for a few minutes across the Bridge to reach Île de la Cite.

The entire trip takes less than an hour to complete.

How many popular attractions are there in Île de la Cité?

There are several attractions in Île de la Cité, but it is the home to three world-famous monuments Notre Dame Cathedral, Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie.

It also has the oldest Bridge in Paris, Pont Neuf, Palace de Justice and Place Dauphine.

You can also stop by Marché des Fleurs, the flower market of Île de la Cité.

Why is the Île de la Cité called the cradle of Paris?

This is because Ile de la Cité is where it all began, as it was the birthplace of Paris.

However, the origins of the cradle of Paris are unknown, but historians think it began in the 3rd century BC when a Celtic tribe known as the Parisii lived on the Island.

Featured Image: Archdaily.com

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