Starting a new series – travel Paris one zone at a time. Today’s post will focus on the islands, home to UNESCO site and the ice cream legend Berthillon. It’s a great way to kick start for any visitors. Here’s my tried and tested itinerary. This was originally written for my visiting friends. You know who you are 😉 xox
Where to start? Métro stop Cité (line 4)
Find the street Quai de la Corse. Hint, it is next to the Seine 😉 Seine should be on your right when you walk along the Quai de la Corse.
First stop… Street corner of Boulevard du Palais & Quai de la Corse (right next to the bridge Pont du Change).
Feature to see? Tour de l’Horloge (clock tower)
Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris
What’s the significant? It was France’s first public clock, 1371. *I do spot some articles with 1370, I don’t know which one is right. It was originally in silver, but gold was added later in 1585 by Germain Pilon. It was the tallest tower of Conciergerie. The clock was burnt down during the French revolution, but was later restored.
Moving on, now that the clock is on your right hand side. Proceed to walk forward towards the Conciegerie entrance. If there’s no queue, the entrance looks underwhelming LOL Believe it or not Conciergerie was a palace in the 10th to 14th century.
Feature to see? Conciergerie (aka Palais de la Cité)
2 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris
Entrance fee: EUR9 *free if you’re under 26 and EU ==> UK citizens, I don’t know the correct status since Brexit.
If you don’t have the Paris Pass, it is worthwhile to purchase the combination tickets EUR15 for Conciegerie and Sainte Chapelle. It saves EUR4 and saves queue time.
Conciergerie is a full house Gothic style palace built in 14th century, nowhere as glam as Louvre or Versailles (both were palaces as well). Medieval age stuff. The building is now more known for being a prison for famous people during the revolution. It was the last place that Marie Antoinette rested before she was guillotined. If you do read all the display, you’ll become quite the French Revolution buff. Their audio guide is awesome. So worth it.
Head over to its adjacent sister…
Feature to see? Sainte Chapelle
It is literately next door to conciergerie. If you’re in doubt, look upwards and you’ll spot a brown and white sign showing the way.
Sainte Chapelle where stain glass is SERIOUS, 1113 pieces of it. These glass tells stories by the way. Highly recommend the audio guide again. Nope, not all of it is about the Bible. Way more awe-striking than Notre Dame’s rose windows in my opinion. Anyways, besides its obvious beauty, Sainte Chapelle is of historical importance. It used to be an exclusive chapelle for the royal family AND it housed the relics of Passion that King Louis XI acquired. **this is now housed in Notre Dame (no idea why)
Now that we’re all “historied out” LOL time to do some outdoor walk. Walk to Quai des Orfèvres. Hint: Seine is now on your left. Continue to walk on this road with Seine on your left. Within 2 min, there should be a bridge on your left. This is the Pont Neuf. Kind of difficult to miss LOL
Feature to see? Pont Neuf
Though you can spot some love locks along the walk. Do not confused this bridge with Pont des Arts, where around 1 million locks were removed back in 2015. Anyways, some of the old remains is on display if you look to the right. I personally think it is rather ugly and those love locks are a total pollutant.After you cross the bridge, turn left. Seine should now be on your left and the road is Quai des Grands Augustins. Just enjoy a beautiful Parisan stroll (300m). You’re now in 5th Arrondissement, Latin Quatier. You’ll spot all sort of restaurant on your right. This is your food stop. This is a trendy dining area in Paris for local and tourists alike. How not to get lost? Return to St Michel metro station.
Alright, now that your tummy is filled with food. Time to do another quick stroll and some photos. I assume that now we’re back near Métro St Michel (line 4). There’s a bridge right next to this. The bridge is called Pont St Michel. It is a decent photo spot.
Walk straight ahead on Quai de Montebello and you’ll soon see the famous Notre Dame de Paris. Hint keep Seine to your left. You’ve now reached the bridge Petit Pont. Take this bridge because it is a better photo spot to head towards Notre Dame.
Feature to see? Notre Dame de Paris
HUMONGOUS queue alert. Don’t be intimated though often queue fills up the plaza. It moves pretty quickly. Entrance is free. Roof top is a separate charge (EUR10 per adult). Roof top / Tours de Notre Dame is where you do the legendary gargoyle over the city photo. There are 422 steps, don’t say I don’t warn you. Dramatic photo under any weather circumstance 😉
This cathedral took 200 years to build which is why it has a combination of different architecture style. Fun fact… some jerk actually wanted it to be demolished back in 1160. Majorly damaged numerous times – 1500s, 1700s and second world war. Restoration work still continues today. Loads of information available inside the Cathedral. Pick up a pamphlet or read their boards for more information.
Point Zéro is just outside of Notre Dame. It is more like 50m just ahead of the exit. So when you get out of the Cathedral just walk straight and you should be able to spot a bunch of people taking photos of their feets.
Feature to see? Point Zéro
It marks the centre of Paris. Personally, I don’t find it worth looking for, but if you’re into this type of thing, it is really close to the Cathedral.
Walk straight ahead with Notre Dame behind you, you’ll spot a massive board sign / stairs going down stairs. If you still have the energy, there’s the entrance to the Crypt.
Feature to see? Crypte archéologique du parvis Notre-Dame
7 place Jean-Paul II, Parvis Notre-Dame, 75 004 Paris
Entrance fee EUR8 per adult
It houses the finds from the excavations between 1965 to 1972, boasting 200 years of history on display. For the life of me, I have no idea where I’ve stored the photos. Tip though: It gets a lot colder once you get inside. Like 5 – 10 degrees different from the outside?
Else, if you’re totally finished, I highly recommend that you walk over a bit via Pont Louis towards Île St Louis for some Berthillon ice cream. 31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, Paris, France
It’s not modern or fancy, just really old (since 1928). Big respect because of their quality consistency; a top trait in any food artisan. The Mr Berthillon has passed away in 2014. Contrary to popular believe, Berthillon no longer holds the no. 1 spot in ice cream in France. Yes, the French actually have an official competition for this; not as crazy as the baguette annual competition though. O, did you know that there’s a Gelato World Cup? Food is very serious.
NB Please cross check all official site for entrance fee / price and opening times prior to your visit.
Photos were taken in the course of several days and across seasons.
Camera: Sony Z3+, Canon 5D mark iii
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