Ile de la Cité

The Ile de la Cité and the Ile Saint-Louis make up the heart of Paris, where the city started nearly 3000 years ago. Most tourists just visit the Notre-Dame cathedral and don't venture into the backstreets of these two wonderful little neighbourhoods, which hold all kinds of treasures.

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The smaller of the two islands, Saint-Louis, is one of the most desirable areas in Paris because of its location, architecture and peaceful atmosphere. While both islands are also tourist hot-spots for these very reasons, we still recommend a stroll around the charming streets during your own visit. Don’t be surprised if you bump into a celebrity in this neighbourhood. We’ve heard that Roland Dumas (a politician who was very close to François Mitterrand), Jamel Debbouze (a French comedian ) and Guy Bedos (a French actor) live around here, just to name a few.   In the past, many popular figures also lived on the islands, such as Baudelaire and Théophile Gautier (a French poet), who stayed in the Lauzun Hotel (on the Ile Saint-Louis) during the mid 19th Century, when they created the Club des Hashischins. The club's purpose was to experience drugs through a cultural and elevated mindset. Some of the members were part of Paris’ elite, such as Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas. Read more...

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High-up on the tourist-traps list, but you can find some affordable things to do and see, especially on the Ile Saint-Louis.

  • tourists
  • shop keepers
  • students

Main Metro stations: 
  • Cité (line 4),
  • Sully-Morland (line 7),
  • Saint-Paul (line 1) ,
  • Louvre-Rivoli (line 1)
Bus: 21, 38, 85, 96

  • Place Dauphine
  • Flower market
  • Notre-Dame cathedral
  • Square du Vert-Galant
  • Square Barye

Discover the islands where Paris was first born, as well as breathtaking architecture and lovely views across the river.

History

The Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint-Louis are two natural islands on the Seine river in the centre of Paris. The Ile de la Cité is where Paris was first born. In 250 BC, a small tribe called the Parisiis lived on the island, where they solely cultivated the grounds. In 52 BC (up until the 5th Century), the Roman Empire installed its headquarters on the island. Read more...

Who you'll find there

The Ile de la Cité has a very small number of actual inhabitants. Most of the buildings are either hotels, holiday flats, administrative buildings or secondary residences for wealthy foreigners. Read more...