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"The Islands - Ile de la Cite" Île de la Cité Tip by illumina

Île de la Cité, Paris: 33 reviews and 84 photos

This island, the larger of the two in the middle of the Seine, is the ancient core of the city, harbouring Paris's most venerable monuments. It is where Paris began - settled around 300BC by the Parisii, a Celtic tribe, a town known as Lutetia grew up, and was overrun in 52BC by Julius Caesar's troops. A site with natural defenses, on a major trade route, it was an obvious candidate for Romanisation. It was garrisoned and endowed with an administrative centre, and a palace-fortress built which became the stronghold of the Merovingian kings in 508. By the early 13th century the small island was crowded - such was the level of activity that monasteries began moving to quieter premises on the banks of the Seine.

Most of this medieval city was erased in the 19th century by Baron Haussmann - thousands of people were displaced when 90 streets were destroyed. In their place were erected buildings to house the law, and the plaza in front of Notre Dame, which at least has the virtue of allowing an uncluttered view of the facade.

Address: Metro - Cite - line 4
Directions: Between Pont Neuf & Pont de l'Archevêché. In La Seine.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written May 9, 2006
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