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Square du Vert-Galant
This little park at the western (downstream) tip of the Île de la Cité was named after the French King Henri IV (1553-1610), who was nicknamed “Le Vert-Galant” because of his many mistresses that he continued consorting with at a (relatively) advanced age. Actually he only lived to be 57, which does not seem amazingly old today but was no doubt a ripe old age by the standards of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
You have to go down some steps to get to the park, because it is seven meters lower than the rest of the island. In former times the entire Île de la Cité was this low, which must have made it very susceptible to flooding.
Originally there were three separate islands here, but in 1607 (during the reign of Henri IV) they were joined together for the purpose of building the Pont Neuf (New Bridge), which at that time was the newest but is now the oldest bridge in Paris.
Second photo: In case anyone might be in doubt about who the Square du Vert-Galant is named after, there is a large equestrian statue of Henri IV on the street at the top of the stairs.
Third photo: The German writer Heinrich Mann (1871-1950) went into exile in southern France as soon as the Nazis came into power in Germany in 1933. While he was living in France, he researched and wrote two novels about the life of Henri IV. The first, Die Jugend des Königs Henri Quatre (later translated into English as Young Henry of Navarre) was published in 1935 and the second, Die Vollendung des Königs Henri Quatre (in English as Henry, King of France) followed in 1938. These are both very readable and thought-provoking books, dealing with all aspects of Henri’s life and times but especially with the nature and use of power, a subject which was very much on Heinrich Mann’s mind at the time.
I have also written about Henri IV (and mentioned Heinrich Mann) in one of my Louvre reviews, called Ruebens and Marie de' Medici in the Louvre.
Next review from January 2012: Notre-Dame de Paris. 1482
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
ILE DE LA CITE
Did you know, the Ile de la Cite is known as the centre of Paris, and is one of two natural islands that sits in the middle of the Seine.
All distances in Paris are measured from the center of the island.
I must have walked over the marker when I visited Notre Dame Cathedral, as the ‘Paris Point Zero’ marker is situated just in front of the main entry. It's a small octagonal brass plate set in the ground where all distances from Paris are measured. I think I was looking "up" too much so remember to look down too!!
It's thought people have lived on this Island since the 3rd century B.C. In 52 A.D., after being plundered by the Romans, the settlement was rebuilt as the Roman city of Lutetia.
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- Hiking and Walking
The Crypte Archéologique under the square in front of the world famous Notre Dame exhibits the remains of the foundations and walls which pre-date the cathedral by many centuries. The remains include some which date back to Roman times (when Paris was Lutetia) and others from the crowded medieval city of Paris which were swept away by the massive remodeling of the city which took place in the middle of the 19th century under the eye of Baron Haussmann.
Other than the remains there are a good number of information panels which tell the story of the development of the city from Roman times as you work your way around the museum. The panels are all in French, but there are translations available in English and a number of other languages on boards that you carry around.
The crypt is closed on Mondays, but open 10am to 6pm on other days. Admission is €4 for adults but it is included in the Paris Museum Pass.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Île de la Cité
The Île de la Cité is one of the islands in the Seine (another island, Ile Saint-Louis), in the center of Paris. On this island was founded in medieval Paris. The island is located within the districts of Paris and the Place du Parvis Notre-Dame functions traditionally thought of as zero when calculating distances within France.
On the Île de la Cité are three medieval buildings:
Notre Dame de Paris;
the Conciergerie, the oldest royal palace in Paris, in the 15th century was converted into a prison;
the Sainte Chapelle, a chapel, located a stone's throw from Notre Dame, in the second half of the 13th century was built by Louis IX and consists of two floors.
The Île de la Cité with the left and right banks of the Seine connected by several bridges, including the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris. Pont Saint-Louis is the connection between Île de la Cité and Ile Saint-Louis.
- Arts and Culture
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Secure your affection with 'love locks'
The Pont de l’Evêché is a rather low key metal bridge - apparently the narrowest in Paris - which links Ile de la Cite with the Rive Gauche (Left - or more accurately, South Bank of the Seine). However, over the last couple of years, this structure has been illictly adorned with 'love locks': padlocks decorated with the names or initials of couples and then attached onto the metal fencing as a sign of commitment (with the key presumably being discarded).
Apparently this phenomenon started in Paris on the Pont des Arts and soon spread to the Pont de l’Evêché. Personally I find it charming and fairly harmless, but then I'm not the municipal authority having to deal with literally thousands of the things springing up over a period of only a few years!
'Love locks' are a trend that started to sweep across Europe not long after the turn of the Millenium, and most countries now have a couple of examples. Reading the inscriptions is fascinating, because they seem to cover the whole gamut of relationships across racial and gender boundaries.
The cynic in me wonders what happens when the path of true love doesn't run smooth. There are certainly recorded cases where individuals have been charged with vandalism as they have tried to cut the lock with a hacksaw, damaging the bridge in the process. One would imagine that the thrifty - or those who only committed in a half hearted manner - would retain the key 'just in case', so that the lock could be removed and possible recycled (presumably once the previous inscription had been altered or removed) ...
Through the pages of Victor!
You can start your visit to Paris from Ile de la Cite, a nice area that is under the attack of thousands tourists everyday :) There you can visit some famous spots:
Notre Dame(free entrance or 6euro for the tower).
In front of the cathedral it’s the zero point, all the distances in France start from here (pic 3)
Saint Chapelle(5,5e) the vitro windows at the first floor are amazing (pic 1), we spent most of the time looking at them, so beautiful...
Conciergerie(palace that became a prison after the revolution. (pic 5)
Then walk near the Seine or visit the Ile Saint Louis that is near. Its a peaceful area with rich flats and some nice small stores full of chocolates and some others with tasty small pieces of cheese. Pic 4 shows St Louis church.
Don't forget to take a pic of Notre Dame from bridge that connects the two areas (pic 2), one of my favorite views to look at the cathedral.
Isle de la cite
Situated in the middle of the River Seine and the birthplace of Paris! It has been the topographical, spiritual and legislative centre for over 2,000 years! The Romans invaded the Parisii settlement in 53 BC and the built a palace, law court and a gods temple but over the centuries the island was replaced with different priorites according to needs of those in reign.
The focal point is Notre Dame de Paris (Under a separate tip entry); the Palais de la Cite complex which features the Conciergerie (Under a separate tip entry) and the Sainte-Chapelle which was built for Louis IX and the Palais de Justice (French Supreme Court). Exploring the Pont Neuf area at one end of the Island is worth exploring and learning a bit of French history including the Revolution.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Crypte archéologique du Parvis Notre-Dame.
Arriving at the Parvis Notre-Dame I had two possible visits with my Paris museum pass:
the towers of Notre-Dame or the Crypte archéologique.
As there was a long queue for the tower and as I wondered if I would be able to climb the 400 stairs like I did when I was twenty (long time ago) I decided to go downstairs at the archaeological crypt below the Parvis.
This large (118 x 12 m) underground space opened in 1980, to show elements of the buildings which followed one another on the site from Antiquity to the 19th century: Gallo-Roman rooms, enclosing wall of the beginning of 4th c., basement of the old chapel of the Hospital, medieval remainders.
From the Roman Empire remain sections of the quay and port of Lutetia/Lutèce capital of the Parisii a Celtic tribe settled here on the island since the 3rd c. B.C.
There are vestiges of a large urban house with a hypocaust (heating system that the Romans used in the thermal baths). It is at the foot of the rampart that a treasure was discovered in 1970: a ceramic jug contained more than 800 coins.
From the Middle Ages remain foundations of the Saint-Etienne basilica in front of the present Notre-Dame.
At the time of my visit there was a temporary exhibition on the building techniques in Lutetia/Lutèce during the roman period (1 - 4th c. A.D.) All the aspects of building and decorating were evoked, from rough materials to the vestiges of constructions discovered in the Parisian basement. Interesting for archaeologists.
Open: 10 - 18 h Closed: Monday and Feast days.
Price: 3,30 € Included in Paris museum pass.
14-26 years 1,60 €
Free until 13 years old.
- Historical Travel
SUNDAY BIRD MARKET
PARIS MARKETS ARE FAMOUS THE WORLD OVER..
ONE THAT I FEEL THAT IS WELL WORTH A LOOK IS THE BIRD MARKET ON THE LOVELY LLE DE LA CITE.
CHANCES ARE THAT YOU WONT BE GOING TO THE MARKET TO BUY A NEW FEATHERED FRIEND BUT IT IS STILL A GREAT PLACE TO SPEND A WHILE LOOKING AT THE CAGES OF PARAKEETS..CANARIES AND LOADS OF OTHER SPECIES..
THIS WHOLE PLACE IS A MASS OF COLOUR... PLUS BEING IN THE SHADOW OF THE STUNNING NOTRE DAME WHY NOT TAKE IN BOTH THE MARKET AND THE GREAT PARIS ICON THAT IS NOTRE DAME...
ANY DAY IS SPECIAL ON LA CITE BUT SUNDAYS FOR ME HAVE THE EDGE..AND THE BIRD MARKET AND THE BELLS OF NOTRE DAME MAKE IT A PLACE NOT TO BE MISSED.
SUNDAY BIRD MARKET RUNS FROM 09.00-19.00
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Charlemagne statue - Estatua de Carlomagno
Looking at the cathedral there is a big equestrian statue of Charlemagne at the right of the Parvis de Notre Dame. Charlemagne (742 or 747 – 814) was the King of the Franks who conquered Italy and took the Iron Crown of Lombardy and, on a visit to Rome in 800, was crowned imperator Romanorum ("Emperor of the Romans") by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day, presaging the revival of the Roman imperial tradition in the West in the form of the Holy Roman Empire. By his foreign conquests and internal reforms, Charlemagne helped define Western Europe and the Middle Ages.
Today regarded as the founding father of both France and Germany and sometimes as the Father of Europe, as he was the first ruler of a united Western Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire.
When Charlemagne died in 814, he was buried in his own Cathedral at Aachen (in modern Germany). He was succeeded by his surviving son, Louis, who had been crowned the previous year. His empire lasted only another generation in its entirety; its division, according to custom, between Louis's own sons after their father's death laid the foundation for the modern states of France and Germany.
Mirando a la catedral hay una gran estatua ecuestre de Carlomagno a la derecha del Parvis de Notre Dame. Carlomagno (742 ó 747 - 814) fue el Rey de los Francos que conquistó Italia y se atribuyó la Corona Férrea de Lombardía y, visitando Roma en 800, fue coronado Imperator Romanorum ("Emperador de los Romanos") por el Papa León III el día de Navidad, presagiando la reedición de la tradición del Imperio Romano de Occidente en la forma del Sacro Imperio Romano. Carlomagno ayudó a definir Europa occidental y la Edad Media con sus conquistas extranjeras y reformas internas.
Hoy se ve su figura como el padre fundador de Francia y Alemania e incluso el padre de Europa, pues fue el primer mandatario en unir Europa occidental desde la caída del Imperio Romano.
Cuando Carlomagno murió en 814 fue enterrado en su propia catedral de Aquisgrán (en la actual Alemania). Fue sucedido por su hijo superviviente, Luis, que fue coronado el año anterior. Su imperio duró tan sólo una generación más. La división llevada a cabo según la tradición, entre los hijos del propio Luis tras la muerte de su padre abrió el camino a la fundación de los modernos estados de Francia y Alemania.
Parvis de Notre Dame - Jean Paul II
The "parvis" is the square in front of the Notre Dame cathedral. In French the use the word parvis to name the squares in front of cathedrals and main churches because it comes from "paradise" and you're suppose to be closer to Heaven when you're next to the Cathedral.
This square was very narrow in the past, with a lot of houses, churches and the Hôtel Dieu (hospital). Haussmann designed an important remodelation, creating the big square we see nowadays demolishing all these buildings during the Napoleon Second Empire. Currently you can see the plan of how the square used to be thanks of the different colours of the floor. There are even inscriptions with the names of the old houses and churches. It's true they destroyed a lot of buildings but in fact we can admire the wonderful cathedral much better right now.
There are one more sign in the square and it's the Point 0 of French roads. It's a millestone in front of Notre Dame from which the distance from Paris and the other French cities are calculated. Tourists like to stand theirselfs in the center of the millestone ant turn around because it's suppose they'll return to Paris if they do this :-)
The square called Parvis de Notre Dame added the name of the Pope John Paul II in 2006 because he visited Paris several times, so the square is named Parvis de Notre Dame - Jean Paul II
El "parvis" es la plaza enfrente de la catedral de Notre Dame. En francés se usa la palabra parvis para nombrar las plazas enfrente de las catedrales e iglesias principales porque este nombre viene de "paraiso" y se supone que estamos más cerca del Cielo cuando se está cerca de la Catedral.
Esta plaza era muy estrecha en el pasado, con muchas casas, iglesias y el Hôtel Dieu (hospital). Haussmann diseñó una importante remodelación, creando la gran plaza que vemos en nuestros días demoliendo todos estos edificios durante el Segunfo Imperio de Napoleón. Actualmente se puede ver el plano de como era la plaza gracias a las baldosas de diferentes colores. Incluso hay inscripciones indicando el nombre de las diferentes casas e iglesias. Es cierto que se destruyeron muchos edificios, pero en realidad gracias a esto podemos admirar mejor la magnífica catedral.
Hay otra señal en la plaza y es el kilómetro 0 de las carreteras francesas. Es un hito kilométrico enfrente de Notre Dame desde el cual se mide la distancia entre París y otras ciudades francesas. A los turistas les gusta ponerse en el centro de la piedra y dar una vuelta porque se supone que gracias a esto se vuelve a París :-)
A la plaza, llamada Parvis de Notre Dame, se le añadió el nombre del Papa Juan Pablo II en 2006 porque él viistó París varias veces, así que la plaza se llama ahora Parvis de Notre Dame - Jean Paul II
Archaeological crypt - Cripta arqueológica
This crypt was prepared in 1980 to protect all the archaeological pieces discovered from the works of 1965. These elements come from buildings which was in the square from the antiquity to the 19th century. There are important rests from the galo roman empire, the Middle Ages and the foundations of a big basilica with five naves, maybe one consacrated to Saint Stephen
Esta cripta se preparó en 1980 para proteger todas las piezas arqueológicas descubiiertas desde los trabajos de 1965. Estos elementos proceden de edificios que estuvieron en la plaza desde la antigüedad al siglo XIX. Hay importantes restos del imperio galo romano, de la Edad Media y de los cimientos de una gran basílica con cinco naves, posiblemente consagrada a San Esteban
Opening hours / Horarios de apertura
Tuesdays to Sundays / Martes a domingos: 10h - 18h
Hôtel Dieu hospital
The Hôtel-Dieu is regarded as the oldest hospital in the city of Paris. It is located on the next to Notre-Dame. In France the main hospitals where called "Hostel of God" (Hôtel Dieu) because they were placed next to the Cathedrals.
It was founded by Saint Landry in 651 and after this the hospital still resides on the Île de la Cité, but it has change its place and its building severals time, dating the current one from 1877. Notable physicians, researchers, and surgeons practised at the hospital. The Hôtel-Dieu has acquired a reputation for excellence in many fields, including oncology, ophthalmology, as well as dietary and nutrition studies.
El Hôtel Dieu es el hospital más antiguo de París. Se encuentra junto a la Catedral de Notre Dame. En Francia los principales hospitales se llamaban "Hotel de Dios" porque se encontraban junto a las catedrales.
Fue fundado por San Landry en 651 y tras esto el hospital continua en la Isla de la Ciudad, pero ha cambiado de lugar y edificio varias veces en todo este tiempo, hasta la actual construcción que es de 1877. Destacados físicos, investigadores y cirujanos han practicado en este hospital. El Hotel Dieu tiene fama en varios campos, incluyendo la oncología, oftalmología y endocrinología.
Prefecture de Police
The Prefecture of Police, headed by the Prefect of Police, is an agency of the Government of France (and part of the French National Police) which provides the police force for the city of Paris and the surrounding departements. It is also in charge of emergency services, such as the Paris Fire Brigade, and performs administrative duties, such as issuing ID cards and driver licenses or monitoring alien residents. The Prefecture of Police also has limited security duties in the wider Île-de-France région.
The prefecture is a large building located in front of Notre Dame cathedral. It was an important role during the Liberation of Paris from the Nazis. The police made a sublevation in this building the 19th of August of 1944.
La Prefectura de Policia, dirigida por el Prefecto de Policía, es la agencia del Gobierno de Francia(y parte de la Policía Nacional Francesa) que administra la fuerza policial en la ciudad de París y los Departamentos que la rodean. También se ocupa de los servicios de emergencia, como la Brigada de Bomberos, y realiza funciones adinistrativas, como la expedición de DNI, permisos de conducir o permisos de residencia. La Prefectura también tiene ciertas competencias para la seguridad en el conjunto de la región Île de France.
Está en un gran edificio situado frente a la Catedral de Notre Dame. Jugó un importante papel en la Liberación de París contra los nazis. La Policía organizó aquí una sublevación el 19 de agosto de 1944.
It's a very nice triangular square between the Palace of Justice and the Pont Neuf. It was built in the 17th century in the place where three small islands where placed. There are some nice restaurants and cafe and law book shops. I spite I toke these pictures in winter you can see that it's a nice meeting point, so you can imagine how is it in spring and summer!
Esta es una plaza triangular muy bonita entre el Palacio de Justicia y el Pont Neuf. Fue construida en el siglo XVII en el lugar donde había tres islotes. Hay algunos restaurantes y bares agradables, así como librerías de Derecho. A pesar de que tomé las fotos en invierno puedes ver que es un buen lugar de encuentro, así qué ¡imagínate en primavera o verano!
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