Medieval Heart of Paris


Discover the historic treasures of the Ile de la Cité, the heart of Paris in the Middle Ages. A small island sitting in the Seine River, the Ile de la Cité has been the administrative seat of power since Paris was first established as a Celtic fishing village around 250BC. Transformed first by the Romans, then by Germanic tribes such as the Franks, the island was home to the first Royal Palace, the Parliament & the courts of law. The nation's Supreme Court still stands on its original location, established in the Middle Ages ! We will discover together the outstanding monuments on the island & learn of their rich history.

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The two islands sitting in the center of Paris (Ile de la Cité & Ile Saint Louis) are among the best preserved areas of the city and represent its historic heart.  We meet on the Pont Neuf, the "New Bridge", which is in fact the oldest in the city (dating from 1607).  We will see the charming little square next to the bridge, with its Renaissance-era mansions & charming cafés.  Together, we will discover the first Royal Palace, built on Roman ruins.  We will see the medieval hall & kitchens, built in 1302.  The palace was later transformed into a prison, becoming (in)famous during the French Revolution as the "antechamber to the guillotine".  We will see the cell where Marie Antoinette was held prisoner before her execution in 1793.  Next, we will marvel at the astonishing Sainte-Chapelle, a Royal Chapel built in 1248 to house the religious relics of Saint Louis.  70% of this amazing building's surface is made of stained glass from the 13th Century !  We will see the Cathedral of Notre Dame, with a "virtual visit" from before the fire.  Through video & photos, you will discover its history, its construction & its treasures, and its future.  Have you ever wondered how these incredible structures were built back in the Middle Ages ?  We can share a cup of coffee in a café first built in 1228, and learn the secrets of the medieval builders.  The invention of Gothic architecture was an incredible medieval innovation that led to the creation of some of the world's most beautiful churches, and we will learn how these buildings were constructed.  We end the tour with a leisurely stroll on the charming Ile Saint Louis with its Baroque mansions & lovely views of the Seine.


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