In the heart of the island of the city

The Ile de la Cité is the center of the ancient Lutèce like that of medieval and contemporary Paris.

The island of the city is formed by the meanders of the Seine. Inhabited by the Gauls Page from the second century BC and occupied by the Romans of Julius Caesar in 52 before J-C, it spans seven hectares, at the crossroads of navigation on the Seine and the great Roman road called The Cardo (currently in the axis of Rue Saint Martin and Rue Saint Jacques).
This way crossed the River, in Roman times, using two wooden bridges on stilts: the Grand bridge (now Pont Notre-Dame) and the little bridge.

Cradle of the Gaulish Lutèce, the island of the city controls in Roman times the river trade which, in the 1st century of our era, has made the prosperity of nautes Parisian, is a testament to the Pillar of the Nautes* to the Gauloises and Roman effigies preserved in the Cluny museum.

In the downstream part, at the Western point, the island was fortified at the end of the 3rd century after J-C. It then became Imperial and administrative residence. Julien, said the Apostat, was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers in 359-360. Valentinian I, another Roman Emperor, settled there during the winter of 365-366. In 508, Clovis, King of the Franks, fixed the siege of his Kingdom. This place will remain Royal residence until the construction of the Louvre under the reign of Philip Augustus in the 12Th century. Always at this location, Saint Louis will build between 1242 and 1248 the Holy Chapel, a box of the Holy Crown of thorns. Nowadays stands on these sites the Palace of Justice of the city of Paris. In the latter are preserved some vestiges of the old Royal Palace: the Barbec towers, Argent, Caesar, the clock, the rooms of the guards and the Concierge.

In the upstream part, at the East point, Christianity, born around the 3rd century in Paris under the impulse of Bishop Saint Denis, is affirmed during the IVe, ve and life centuries. In this capital which takes the name of the people who inhabit it – Paris-, front page Holy City is built including a Church-Cathedral, a baptistery, a bishopric, the cloister of the canonical dwellings with Episcopal schools, as well as a Hotel-Dieu* for the sick and the deprived on the banks of the Seine.

In the ninth century small churches are built on the Parvis to accommodate the relics threatened by the Norman looters. Around 1100, the population of the island of La Cité can be estimated at 3000 inhabitants, including clerics, schoolgirls and servants of the Royal Palace.

In the 12Th century, Maurice de Sully, then Bishop of Paris, undertook the construction of a new Cathedral on the site of the two previous places of worship: Notre-Dame and Saint-Étienne. We then pierce the New Street in the axis of the future Cathedral in the midst of a maze of alleys, houses with narrow wooden panels, as well as seventeen chapels. The breakthrough allows transportation of construction materials and connect the Cathedral to the existing North-South track.

In its current configuration, the Notre-Dame square, extended in the seventeenth century, was freed from all habitation by Baron Haussmann – in the years 1860-1870, everything was shaved. On the pavement is the layout of the missing buildings (including St. Stephen's Cathedral). The archaeological crypt reports of the remains discovered by the excavations of 1965-1967.

Light a candle at Notre-Dame