The huge Palais de Justice (law courts) occupies more than 4 hectares, 1/3 of the island.
As French justice is rendered before public (bar childrens’ trials) and everyone is free to attend, the place attracts lots of people (about 15 000 a day). The visitors' access (common with Sainte Chapelle) is strictly controlled and you can get long queues.
The history of the Palais is linked to the history of the 1st french royal family : it was their home for a long time:
Robert II (ca 1000) had the initial palace built. Louis VI added the dungeon. Louis IX the Sainte-Chapelle, .... until Philippe IV (ca 1300) had the palace totaly remodeled.
The kings used to live there, until Charles V chosed other residences (Louvre, Vincennes). He still kept the palace and even had Paris' first public clock set on the Tour de l’Horloge.
Several fires happened (1618, 1737,1776) and the Revoultion took its toll.
In 1858, the lobby was restored as the Caesar Tower (built over Roman vestiges), the Silver Tower (where the royal treasury was kept during the reign of LouisIX), the Bonbec Tower (where prisoners were tortured to obtain... a "bon bec" - expression equivalent to"sing like a canary" - and give the “right” answers). The Cour d’Assises, the Auction Chamber and the library were constructed.
The remnant of the king's residence (from the XIth century) was torn down in 1868. During the Commune, the palace was (again) set ablaze and rebuilt under the 3rd Republic.
Today, the 1st chamber of the High Court is at the same place than the old Parlement's chamber.
The Harlay Hall facing place Dauphine, gives access to the Cour d’Assises and the Criminal Court Chambers are between the Sainte-Chapelle and Quai des Orfèvres
An address known by all cinema goers,TV watchers and mystery novels readers in France : The Quai des Orfèvres hosts, in a huge 19th century building, the headquarters of the criminal police (Police Judiciaire) and has become the nickname of the french Scotland Yard or FBI equivalent.
The first film featuring it was Henri Georges Clouzot’s Quai des Orfevres in 1947, others followed, as did many popular novels/TV series (“Les 20 dernieres minutes”,and the famous “Commisaire Maigret” serie, …)
Each year, since 1946, a literary price the ‘Prix du Quai des Orfevres’ is attributed by the Prefet de Police to a french language mystery novel
The quay itself got its name from the goldsmiths and jewellers who used to live and work there in the 16-18th centuries (and, before, the place was occupied - since the 7th century - by the Abbaye Saint Martial, funded by Saint Eloi, the goldsmith’s’ saint protector).
The length situated between the Pont Neuf and the former rue de Jerusalem was built around 1600 and was called Quai des Orfevres from the beginning, the part reaching the pont Saint Michel was formerly the rue Saint Louis.
The Police Judiciaire (created in 1924) is situated Quai des Orfèvres in a building belonging to the Palais de Justice (even if it was initially intended to be a barrack for the Garde Republicaine) and rebuilt after being burnt down during the Commune in 1871.
The musee de la Police, previously situated on the quai des Orfevres has moved at 4, rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève (5th)
Situated on a wall of the Tour de l'horloge (at the corner Boulevard du Palais/Quai de l'horloge), is the oldest public clock in Paris.
The first clock set here in 1370 (created by a german arist : Henri de Vic, ordered by Charles V), it was replced under Henri III by the one you can see now.
The clock was restaured in 1852 and is still working fine.
Founded in 651, the Hotel Dieu is the oldest french hospital, it is also the only one in the center of Paris.
But the building is old, (even if it is not the original one, wich was situated on the other side of Notre Dame cathedral (where now stands a satue of Charlemagne in a little square) and difficult to maintain in whatever conditions a modern hospital needs.
Add to that some facts, like :
- The new Hopital Pompidou has been built to relay this one.
- The nearby Prefecture de Police needs more room
- The APHP (Assistance Publique - Hopitaux de Paris) who operates the parisians hospitals needs money
the Hotel Dieu is now in danger to be closed despite the neighbours and medical staff protests.
Beside, the Hotel Dieu has a very confidential specificity : there is a small hotel inside (initially intended for the hospitalised persons' relatives, it can - when rooms are available - accept travellers.
If you are interested :
1, place du Parvis Notre Dame - 75004 Paris
Metro : Cite or Hotel de Ville
RER B : Saint Michel Notre Dame
Situated Place Louis Lepine, on the Ile de la Cite, aproximatly in front of the Sainte Chapelle and along the Quai de la Corse, this is one of the last flower markets in Paris (there are 2 other ones : along the church of La Madeleine (in the 8th) and Place des Ternes (in the 17th) ).
It is opened from monday to saturday, from 8am to 7pm (on sundays, the birds' market (also selling rodents) is held at this location).
The main specialities (aside the fresh flowers) are the trees, the aromatic plants and the orchids.
To reach it :
RER Saint-Michel Notre Dame
You may know how much I like this style of Lights, I had photos of them in many places, but here I could not avoid stop and photo them, at the end if the Police department (Pref Police)
Place Dauphine in between Pont Deneuf and the Palais de Justice.
In this little square you can find peace and tranquillity after a long day walking (our feet needed a break....) so we ended sitting in a nice terrace on this square, see Restaurant tip for the name.
Lovely place ...
As it happens in other cities the km 0 is located not very well sign, and not in gret conditions, but I have to say that better ones that the one in Madrid.
It is just in front of Notre Dame de Paris
It is situated in the square of Notre Dame, if you are not looking at it, you can miss it, and for lovers of roman ruins of archaeology can be very interesting.
Also included on the Paris Museum pass
At the Notre dame square you can also see the statue of Carlomagno.
There is nothing as sitting in this square and watching the people from all nationalities