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Ile de la Cité Tips (33)

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

Nemorino's Profile Photo
Jun 05, 2013


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.

balhannah's Profile Photo
Mar 07, 2013

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.

Twan's Profile Photo
Feb 05, 2012

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.

mindcrime's Profile Photo
Jan 24, 2011
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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.

spidermiss's Profile Photo
Nov 30, 2010

Petit Pelerinage sur les lieux Proustiens..

I cannot rival the knowledge of fellow Cuban International, Sr Pedmar.. but i will note down addresses in Paris and France associated with Marcel Proust

96, rue la Fontaine 16e
8, rue Roy 8e
9, boulevard Malesherbes
45, rue de Courcelles 8e
102, boulevard Haussman
8 bis, rue Laurent-Pichat
44, rue Hamlin 16e

Illiers, le combray

and not to miss
Hotel Ritz

cochinjew's Profile Photo
Apr 12, 2009

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.

spanishguy's Profile Photo
Sep 16, 2008

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

spanishguy's Profile Photo
Sep 16, 2008
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"My Paris: not only operas and bicycles . . ."
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"Perambulations in Paris!"
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"London is a riddle. Paris is an explanation."
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"Paris - Over 40 years of love and hate."
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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.

spanishguy's Profile Photo
Sep 15, 2008

Place Dauphine

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!

spanishguy's Profile Photo
Jul 28, 2008

Île de la Cité

The Ile de la Cite is the small island just under the Pont Neuf. There are stairs from the bridge that allow you to walk out on the island. There is also a tourist boat landing on the island where you purchase tickets for a trip on the Seine. The small island is very park like in its appearance and is a beautiful location for pictures of the Seine.

Another point of interest for history fans or DaVinci Code fans is the small marker on the island that marks the spot of the execution of Jacques de Molay. He was the last grand master of the Knights Templar. He was burned at the stake here on March 18, 1384.

littlesam1's Profile Photo
Jun 15, 2008

Find the Statue of Henri IV

The statue of the "Gay Old Blade" (Le Vert Galant) stands upon a bastion of the Pont Neuf above the square of the same name that extends to the West tip of the Ile (see our Batobus Travelogs). To the East are the buildings of the Place Dauphin entered by the arch at the center. The equestrian statue of Henri is an 1818 replacement copy of the original which was destroyed during the Revlution in 1792. Behind and below the statue is the Square Vert-Galant , a small park which extends to the western tip of the Ile de la Cite. We have never gone down but have seen it from boats on the Seine as these pictures show.

hquittner's Profile Photo
Mar 29, 2008

Things To Do Near Ile de la Cité

Things to Do

Palais de Justice

The huge complex which is the Palais de Justice sprawls across an entire block of the Ile de la Cite not far from Notre Dame. The current building was built to replace the Royal Palace of Louis IX...
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Last visit May 2016 If you are at Notre Dame, St. Chapelle is very close and definitely worth a visit. Work on the two storied chapel started in 1246, built to house the relics of the Passion of...
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English speakers will connect the name of this forbidding pile by the Seine with those helpful people who take special care of guests at cushy hotels. Right they are: a concierge was once the steward...
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Theatre de la Huchette

On a rainy Friday evening in November 1966 -- it was November 28, to be exact, and the Métro was on strike -- I went to a small theater in the Latin Quarter and saw two absurdist plays by Eugene...
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Shakespeare and Company

This is the ultimate booklover's paradise and an historic and probably even iconic Paris establishment. It is famous for its huge stock of really old books and I would hazard a guess and say that...
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Notre Dame de Paris

Outside the cathedral is a monument to Charles the great, the first king of the franks and considered the father of modern France. The statue was created in 1878 and shows the king on horseback lead...
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Getting to Ile de la Cité


Metro - Cite - line 4


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