The Île de la Cité is one of two remaining natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris (the other being the Île Saint-Louis). It is the centre of Paris and the location where the medieval city was refounded.
The western end has held a palace since Merovingian times, and its eastern end since the same period has been consecrated to religion, especially after the 10th century construction of a cathedral preceding today’s Notre Dame. The land between the two was, until the 1850s, largely residential and commercial, but since has been filled by the city’s Prefecture de Police, Palais de Justice, Hôtel-Dieu hospital and Tribunal de Commerce. Only the westernmost and northeastern extremities of the island remain residential today, and the latter preserves some vestiges of its 16th century canon’s houses. The Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation, a memorial to the 200,000 people deported from Vichy…
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The Conciergerie is a former prison in Paris, France, located on the west of the Île de la Cité (literally “Island of the City”). It was part of the former royal palace, the Palais de la Cité, which consisted of the Conciergerie, Palais de Justice and the Sainte-Chapelle. Hundreds of prisoners during the French Revolution were taken from the Conciergerie to be executed on the guillotine at a number of locations around Paris.
The west part of the island was originally the site of a Merovingian palace, and was initially known as the Palais de la Cité. From the 10th to the 14th centuries it was the seat of the medieval Kings of France. Under Louis IX (Saint Louis) (1214–1270) and Philip IV (Philip the Fair) (1284–1314) the Merovingian palace was extended and more heavily fortified.
The Middle Ages
Louis IX added the Sainte-Chapelle and associated galleries, while Philippe IV…
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The Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris, France. Its name, which was given to distinguish it from older bridges that were lined on both sides with houses, has remained. It stands by the western point of the Île de la Cité, the island in the middle of the river that was the heart of medieval Paris.
The bridge is composed of two separate spans, one of five arches joining the left bank to the Île de la Cité, another of seven joining the island to the right bank. Old engraved maps of Paris show how, when the bridge was built, it just grazed the downstream tip of the Île de la Cité; since then, the natural sandbar building of a mid-river island, aided by stone-faced embankments called quais, has extended the island. Today the tip of the island is the location of the…
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