Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I = Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis - A to Z Challenge

Île (Fr.) = Island (Eng.)

Pont Neuf (New Bridge), Île de la Cité, Paris - by DG Hudson

Île de la Cité

The Île de la Cité, in the Seine River, is connected to the rest of Paris by bridges to both banks of the river and to the Île Saint-Louis. The oldest surviving bridge in Paris is the Pont Neuf, which lies at the western end of the island.  The Pont Neuf was inaugurated in 1607 and today remains a favourite spot of visitors.  The Prefecture de Police, the Palais de Justice and the Hotel-Dieu hospital are also on this island.

Three medieval buildings remain on the Île de la Cité (east to west):

The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, built from 1163 on the site of a church dedicated to Saint Étienne, which in turn occupied a sacred pagan site of Roman times.

Notre Dame, Île de la Cité - by DG Hudson

Louis IX's Sainte-Chapelle (1245), built as a reliquary to house religious artifacts.
La Sainte-Chapelle, The Holy Chapel, is the only surviving building of the Capetian royal palace on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, France.

La Conciergerie is a former royal palace and prison in Paris located on the west of the Île de la Cité, near the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.  This is the prison where Marie Antoinette awaited execution in 1793.  The Conciergerie had an unpleasant reputation before it became famous as the "antechamber to the guillotine" during the Reign of Terror, in the French Revolution. 

While the building looks like a brooding medieval fortress, this appearance actually only dates from about 1858.


The Centre

The Île de la Cité remains the heart of 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 west end-towers.

The Centre of Paris, Notre Dame square - by DG Hudson


Île Saint-Louis

The Île Saint-Louis is named after King Louis IX of France, 25 April 1214 – 25 August 1270, who was commonly called Saint Louis.  The island is connected to the rest of Paris by bridges to both banks of the river and by the Pont Saint Louis to the Île de la Cité.

The island was formerly used for the grazing of market cattle and stocking wood.   There are only narrow one-way streets and no metro station, due to its residential layout.  This is where you'll find small family-owned bistros with great food and a variety of small shops.

On the Île Saint-Louis:

Berthillon, a French maker and retailer of luxury ice cream and sorbet, has its primary store on the Île Saint-Louis.  Some cafes advertise on their menus that they feature  Berthillon products in their dessert line.

Conciergerie overlooking the Seine River by DG Hudson


Do you like exploring little communities like these two islands?  Do you know of any other river with islands like these?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%8Ele_Saint-Louis  Île Saint-Louis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_IX_of_France  Louis IX

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%8Ele_de_la_Cit%C3%A9  Île de la Cité

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conciergerie Conciergerie

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Chapelle Sainte Chapelle