Today we will visit one of the oldest places in Paris - Île de la Cité. Literally translated, it means "the City Island" - it is indeed a natural island on the river Seine. The most magnificent and best known building is the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. All road distances in France are calculated from the 0 km point located in the Place du Parvis de Notre-Dame, the square facing Notre-Dame's pair of western towers.
The cathedral was celebrating its 850 birthday this year. It was founded in 1163 by the bishop of Paris, Maurice. To this aim, he has order to demolish the previous church of Saint-Étienne (St Stephen's), which had been founded in the 4th century. What an act of vandalism.
Let's then approach the porch with the reliefs representing saints.
What amazed me most was the fact that inside there is really a lot of light. You cannot always count on it in gothic cathedrals.
The side naves include little chapels ...
... and more reliefs.
One of the main sources of light are the majestic stained-glass windows.
On the outside of the cathedral you cannot miss the gargoyles. They say the gargoyles are deisgned to convey water from the roof. But I always have the feeling they are here to watch if the visitors do not throw bubble gum on the floor.
And just in front of the cathedral we need to pass a hello to Charlemagne (and his horse of course). You probably know that his first name was the origin of the word "king" in most European languages.
Of course Notre Dame cathedral is not the only building on the island. We have here La Conciergerie, a former royal prison. It was then taken over by the French Revolution to become known as the "antechamber to the guillotine". The most famous prisoner was the Queen Marie Antoinette.
Today La Conciergerie is still used for the Paris law courts, being part of the Palace of Justice. Behind this high fence you will find amoung others the highest court level in france (la Cour de cassation).
Yes, of course, I will show you the building itself. It is however guarded by the police, you cannot enter it without a valid pass.
Let's now walk by the quai de l'Horloge out of the island to look for new adventures.