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Île de la Cité

This island in the middle of the River Seine is the historical heart of Paris.

TravelCurious Tip

Enjoy the secluded park of Vert Galant, planted on the sandbar that has built up around the Pont Neuf.

The isle of the city

Its western end houses the famous cathedral of Notre Dame - but there’s plenty more history in Île de la Cité. Some scholars believe the island was the home of a small Gallic tribe in 52 BC. It’s not doubted that Romans settled there later: there’s a well-preserved Roman wall beneath the Parvis, the square in front of the cathedral.

Today, this ancient spot is still the heart of Paris. Like the Umbilicus urbis in the Roman Forum, a small bronze plaque marks the point in the square used to measure all distances from the city. A less crowded spot to pause is the nearby Place Dauphine, a lovely residential park built by Henry IV.

Tucked behind Notre Dame on the island’s eastern point is a stark and moving memorial to the French victims of Nazi deportation: 200,000 crystals are lit on dark, claustrophobic walls, each commemorating a single loss.


A new bridge

The Pont Neuf, completed in 1606, is the oldest bridge on the Seine, and has been a lively site in Paris for over 400 years. It is home to an impressive equestrian statue of Henry IV, who ordered its construction. Daguerre, inventor of the earliest photographic process, made a daguerreotype of the Pont Neuf which shows two workmen reclining beneath the king’s statue: possibly the first ever photograph of a human being.

Whatever you do, don’t overlook the colourful interior of the church of Sainte-Chapelle. Built by Louis IX in the 13th century, Sainte-Chapelle is a high point of Rayonnant Gothic style, and has perhaps the best stained-glass windows in town - as well as one of Christianity’s most important Passion relics, the crown of thorns worn by Christ.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Paris
Notre-Dame de Paris
Notre Dame, perched on an island in the heart of Paris, is one of the finest cathedrals in the world.
La Conciergerie
Once a royal residence, the Conciergerie became a prison during the French revolution, a notable prisoner being Marie-Antoinette.
Place St-Michel Fountain
One of the city's most well-known meeting places, the statue depicts the archangel Michael vanquishing the Devil.
Shakespeare and Co Bookshop
A legendary meeting place and boarding-house for many aspiring writers. Stocks everything from Shakespeare to Joyce.
Rue du Chat qui Peche
Considered the narrowest street in Paris with only 1.80mts wide for the whole of its 29mts.
Church of Saint Severin
It is one of the oldest churches that remains standing on the Left Bank of the Latin Quarter, and it continues in use as a place of worship.

Related Tours

Paris Je T'aime: A Half Day Highlights Tour
During this fabulous four-hour walking tour of Paris, you will explore the most interesting and diverse central neighbourhoods the French capital has to offer. See the sights at your own pace and adapt your tour with your guide who will be happy to offer suggestions based on your preferences. 

  • Visit the historical heart of Paris,  Île de la Cité.
  • See the Sainte-Chappelle chapel and the former Paris prison, the Conciergerie.
  • Pay a visit to the symbolic Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral.
  • Explore the wonderful haunts of the Latin Quarter, just a short walk away.
  • Learn about Paris' home of intellectual thought and see where the May '68 revolution unfolded.
  • Visit the Tuileries Gardens,  the Place de la Concorde and the Champs-Elysées.
  • End your walking tour at the stunning Pont Alexander III bridge.

Medieval Paris

One of the two remaining natural islands in the Seine, the Île de la Cité, is considered the historic heart of Paris. The medieval city of Paris was refounded here with magnificent Sainte-Chapelle and the former prison, the Conciergerie. While on Île de la Cité, you will have time to walk around the hauntingly beautiful Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral.

The Latin Quarter along the Left Bank was so named because, until the French Revolution, university students in the area spoke only Latin to their professors. You will visit this famed neighbourhood to immerse yourself in the Parisian atmosphere of yesteryear, whilst exploring the medieval streets and meandering through fantastic shops like Shakespeare and Company bookstore, Place Saint-Michel, and its gorgeous fountain.

City of Revolution 

As the tour continues, you will learn little known facts about the French Revolution. You will be exploring the beautiful Tuileries Gardens and the Place de la Concorde, the site at which Louis XVI was beheaded during the French Revolution. Whilst here do not forget to look out for the magnificent Champs-Elysées, the most famous shopping avenue in the world. Lastly, you will stop off at the Pont Alexander III, the most beautiful bridge in Paris, where you can enjoy a splendid view of the Eiffel Tower and beyond to the majestic Seine. J’aime Paris.
VIP Paris: Explore Paris in Half a Day by Private Car Tour
Experience Paris’ key sights and neighbourhoods on this relaxing private car tour. With your own guide and car, you will have the flexibility to focus on the things that you find most interesting. Stop off at your leisure and enjoy your tour in comfort without worrying about the weather or the queues. 

  • See the best that Paris has to offer with your own private car and expert guide.
  • Cruise past Champs ElyséesPlace de la Concorde and Notre Dame.
  • See the Arc de TriompheOpera GarnierPlace Venôme and the Musée d’Orsay.
  • Stop off at Dôme des Invalides and see Napoleon’s tomb.
  • Stop by the Louvre (outside) and get the best views of the Eiffel Tower.
  • End your tour with a wander through bohemian, picturesque Montmartre.
  • Car pick-up and drop-off from a place of your choice.
Start at the iconic Arc de Triomphe, a monument to those who fought and died during the Revolution and Napoleonic Wars and visit the Champs Elysées (end-point of Tour de France) and Opera Garnier (‘Phantom of the Opera’.) Next, see Place Vendôme (featuring a monument to commemorate the victory at Austerlitz in 1805), Place de la Concorde (the largest square in the city), the famous Louvre museum and the beautiful Musée d’Orsay, before visiting Napoleon’s tomb

Explore the wonders of the Latin Quarter and stand in awe of the gothic masterpiece that is Notre Dame Cathedral. Take in the outside beauty of Sainte Chapelle (featuring the most impressive stain glass windows in the world). Then, visit the quintessentially French Trocadero where you will have the opportunity to snap some beautiful photos and catch some great views of the world-famous Eiffel Tower.

To conclude this epic tour of the great city of Paris you will take a short walk to Montmartre: one of the most colourful and bohemian neighbourhoods, where you will learn more about the fascinating life and works of Renoir, Picasso, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, all of whom lived and worked here. The perfect way to experience the city if you have limited time, and also a great way to find out what to focus on for the rest of your trip. 

Tours can be adapted to suit your needs and interests, just get in contact with us!
All Inclusive Full Day Paris Walking tour including The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and River Cruise
Uncover the history and art of the quintessentially Parisian neighbourhoods on this tour, on your all inclusive tour including tickets to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and a river cruise. On your full day private tour, you will: 

  • Meet your private guide outside the Louvre and enjoy skip-the-line entrance to the museum. Please note: we offer free entrance for all children under the age of 12
  • See the unmissable attractions of the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa, The Coronation of Napoleon, and Venus de Milo
  • Make your way through a labyrinth of 300 rooms and uncover masterpieces missed by many, including: Liberty Leading the People and Canova’s Apollo and Daphne
  • Wander through Le Marais – the quintessentially Pre-Revolutionary Parisian neighbourhood – where you will enjoy lunch at your leisure (paid locally by guest)
  • See the highlights of the city centre, including  Île de la Cité, the Palais de Justice, and of course, Notre Dame Cathedral. 
  • Hop aboard a relaxing river cruise to enjoy the city from the ease of the Seine
  • Learn about the Eiffel Tower with your guide, then take the lift to the 2nd floor and visit the tower at your own pace (tickets included)

Originally one of France’s most lavish royal palaces, and home to some of the most ostentatious Kings of France, the Louvre has fast become the world's most impressive and influential museum of art in the world, and is an absolute must for anyone with an interest in art. Your private licensed guide you will take you through one of the most expansive and beautiful art collections in the world, where you will see some of the museum’s greatest works that span from 450 BCE to the 19th century, along with several of its lesser known treasures. 

From the museum, your guide will take you to a neighbourhood which truly evokes the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of Parisian nostalgia, where you will see the magnificent Hotel De Ville – the city’s seat of government for over 600 years. Enjoy lunch at your own pace in Le Marais, with recommendations from your guide on the best place to indulge in a local cuisine of your choosing. 

Step onto a riverboat to enjoy the magic of the city from the Seine – the geography around which the entire city has been built for thousands of years. Learn more about the city’s modernization efforts in the 19th century, which brought gas lanterns, parks, sewage systems, schools, and hospitals to the city. Your tour concludes at the city’s most iconic site: the Eiffel Tower, where you will enjoy lift tickets to the second story. Your guide will be sure to give you dinner recommendations before leaving you to marvel at the spectacular panoramic views of the city.
Private Paris: Île de la Cité, Latin Quarter and River Cruise
This tour acts as the perfect introduction to Paris' history, culture and two of its most famous neighbourhoods.

  • Begin by learning the history of the iconic Notre Dame.
  • See Paris in all its wonderful different forms: from medieval  Île de la Cité to the vibrant, artsy hub of the Latin Quarter.
  • Enjoy a one hour panoramic River Cruise on the Seine, with great views of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower
Begin the walking portion of your tour at the famous Île de la Cité, once known as Lutetia, is the oldest settlement in Paris, and boasts more than its fair share of Paris sights such as the Pont Neuf, the Palais de Justice and Notre Dame cathedral of course. 

After exploring the island, walk over the famous ‘love locks bridge’ into the Latin Quarter. Pay visits to historical bookshops, once frequented by the likes of Hemingway and Orwell, and explore an area that is renowned for being the starting point of the May 68' Revolution as well as the home of French intellectual thought.

Next, take in the amazing sights on a cruise down the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. Along the cruise, you will see the Louvre Museum, Orsay Museum, and the Eiffel Tower to name just a few sights! Your one hour cruise ends back in centrally located Paris, on Île de la Cité.

Please note that this tour is composed of a 2-hour private walking tour followed by a 1-hour river cruise with onboard commentary. Your tour guide will not accompany you on the cruise. You can choose to take the cruise at the end of the tour or later during your stay. The river cruise arrives at the foot of the Eiffel Tower but does not allow passengers to disembark at the Eiffel Tower. You will start and end your cruise in Central Paris.
Paris by Night: Seine Cruise and Private Walking Tour
Experience the majesty of the City of Lights with an evening walk through Paris' most romantic and scenic areas –medieval Île de la Cité and the Latin Quarter. Take a relaxing cruise ride along the Seine with fine photo opportunities to crop up on the way!

  • Experience the wonders of Paris at night with your own private local guide.
  • Visit the city's most beautiful and romantic neighbourhoods.
  • See Paris in all its wonderful different guises: from medieval  Île de la Cité to the vibrant, artsy hub of the Latin Quarter.
  • Travel down the Seine by river cruise and see the Eiffel Tower from the river at night.
  • Your River cruise tickets can be used after this tour or any other evening during your stay!

You will begin your walking tour on Île de la Cité where you find the famous Notre Dame, the perfect gothic attraction for a visit late in the day. 

Then pass over the famous ‘love locks bridge’ and explore the vibrant Latin Quarter. Pay visits to a late-night bookshop, once frequented by the likes of Hemingway and Orwell, and explore a buzzing area that is renowned for being the starting point of the May 68' Revolution as well as the home of French intellectual thought.  Plenty of quirky bars, jazz clubs and cool backstreets to explore in the moonlight!

End your tour on the Pont Neuf and board a cruise that will whisk you along the Seine, with all of its scenic points of interest on display, including the Eiffel Tower light up in the night!

Please note that this tour is composed of a 2 hour private walking tour followed by a 1 hour river cruise with on board commentary. Your tour guide will not accompany you on the cruise. You can choose to take the cruise at the end of the tour or later during your stay. Please note that the river cruise arrives at the foot of the Eiffel Tower but does not allow passengers to disembark at the Eiffel Tower. You will start and end your cruise in Central Paris.
Île de la Cité Live Virtual Tour
On this Live Virtual Tour, you will learn first-hand what locals love about Paris from someone who knows the place inside-out. You will virtually travel to Ile de la Cité, the oldest settlement in Paris located right in the middle of the city, which holds one of the most visited attractions in the world: Notre Dame Cathedral.

  • Admire the magnificent facade of Notre Dame as you hear the stories of Medieval Paris and the Gothic Architecture style in which the Cathedral was built.
  • Learn interesting facts, like 'Notre Dame' is French for "Our Lady", a title of Mary, mother of Jesus.
  • Capture the true essence of Paris, as your guide recounts centuries of tales on the island.
  • Hear about the rebuilding efforts underway at the Cathedral, after the tragic fire in 2019.
The Île de la Cité is one of the two remaining natural islands in the Seine river, and it's considered the historic heart of Paris. The medieval city of Paris was refounded here with magnificent Sainte-Chapelle and the former prison, the Conciergerie. 

Notre Dame Cathedral was consecrated to the Virgin Mary and is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. You will be admiring its magnificent façade as you hear the stories of Medieval Paris and the Gothic Architecture style in which the Cathedral was built.
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