Friday, 1 August 2008

Ile de la Cité

Ile de la Cité is one of two natural islands in the Seine in Paris. The place has great historical importance for the city and has been settled since before Christ. There was a Roman fortress on the island and it has held a significant role throughout the history of the area. The Romans has defeated the Huns, Viking attacks has been pushed back and the eastern part has always been location for religious worship. The island is in the middle of Paris and it was here the city was located during the middle-ages.

The island hosts many sights. It's easy to spend several hours slowly walking around and embrace the special feel of Paris. With a bit of fantasy it's easy to be transported back in time. Here you can find the Notre Dame cathedral which is renowned all over the world for it's architecture and the story about the hunchback. The place has been the seat of religious worship for more than 2000 years. Another middle-age bulding is Louis IXs Sainte-Chapelle from 1245 with an extraordinary interior. The Conciergerie prison, where Marie-Antoinette awaited her beheading, is part of Palais de la Cité which is also found on the island.

The oldest bridge in Paris, Pont Neuf connects the island with the rest of Paris. When the bridge was built it only touched the top if Ile de la Cité. Now there's a beautiful park, Parc Vert Gallant down to the river, where a natural sandbar formed after the bridge was built. The island is also home for the flower and birdt market, Prefecture de police de Paris, Palais de Justice, Hôtel Dieu (a hospital) and many other interesting things.

Practical information:
Metro line 4, stop Cité
RER B & C, stop St-Michel - Notre-Dame

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