Paris by Métro: Cité

Ile de la CiteCité at a Glance

Line=4

Arrondissement=4th

Tip=You may want to use the elevator when it is operating.

Sights Within 1 Kilometer:

*Website in French

Sight Details

Île de la Cité: Paris began on this island over 2,000 years ago.  The island is lively and full of tourists because of the major sights.  You are bound to hear some music as you stroll, or find a prankster hanging out by Notre-Dame.  If you look down in this area you will find Point Zero.  Every distance in France is measured from this location.

Bird and Flower Market: The flower market is open Monday through Saturday, but on Sunday you will hear the chirping of birds filling the space.  This market is found right outside the exit of the metro.

Archaeological Crypt: As time passes, dirt and dust collects building layers over the past.  The crypt shows a hidden world under the ground.  Since the island housed people over 2,000 years ago, there is history resting below our feet.  The remains feature Roman buildings along with the sewer.  Yum.

Seine/Quais: Since Île de la Cité is an island, it is surrounded by the Seine.  Find a good spot on a bridge and watch the ebb and flow of people travel down the river.  The quays along the Seine are perfect for strolling or a picnic.  Life is good watching the world go by on water.

Bouquinistes: Vintage books, posters, and affordable souvenirs can be found in the little green boxes lining the river.  You may come across an abundance of American pop culture, but if you dig through and visit several bouquinistes, you can find the perfect gift for someone else or yourself.

Palais de Justice: If you are trying to get into Sainte-Chapelle and you are confused about why you have to go through security, it is because the church is attached to the Palais de Justice.  The members of the French Supreme Court enters the building under the motto of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.

Sainte-Chapelle Church: This original home to the Crown of Thorns houses some of the most beautiful stained glass in the world.  Although the relic has moved down the block to Notre-Dame, the church is well worth a visit.  The color and Gothic style will shock any visitor.  The design is fluid and consistent due to the speedy construction, unlike other Gothic churches of the time period.

Conceirgerie: The former prison housed Marie-Antoinette before her date with the guillotine.

St. Séverin Church: This squat-looking church is a bit dingy on the outside, but allows for a closer view of gargoyles and stained glass.

Notre-Dame: The famous cathedral was saved by Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Facing ruin, the story revived the interest in the great Gothic cathedral.  If you have energy left over after straining your neck upwards and walking around the grounds, get your workout by climbing the more than 400 steps up the tower to see the gargoyles face to face.  I think this is one of the best views of Paris.

Shakespeare and Company: Although this is not the original bookstore owned by Sylvia Beach that was frequented by James Joyce or Ernest Hemingway, it is a replica that keeps the spirit of the bookstore alive.  The originals no longer exist, but the values have been instilled in the current store.  Enjoy events where you can hear readings or maybe even see a celebrity.  If you buy a book, don’t forget to ask for the stamp inside the cover.

Sorbonne/Latin Quarter: The Latin Quarter is best known for the two major boulevards: St. Michel and St. Germain des Prés.  There is plenty of shopping and eating to be done on these streets, but sneaking in and out of the side streets reveals a picturesque, hidden side of the Latin Quarter.  I wish I could give you exact streets to walk down, but stumbling upon your own will be more enjoyable.

Hôtel de Ville: The city hall houses free exhibitions for the public.  The esplanade out front changes throughout the year.  Sometimes you will find sand while another time you might find a green space has taken over.

Pont Neuf: The bridge is not ornate, but it is known as the oldest bridge crossing the Seine in Paris.

Place Saint-Michel: The fountain has seen some challenging times in Paris history.  From uprisings against the Nazis to student demonstrations in 1968, the cove that forms Place Saint Michel has heard people standing up for what they believe in.  Venture through the streets in the surrounding area to find hidden corners of the Latin Quarter.

Cluny Museum: The former Roman baths have been converted into a museum with medieval art.  The museum is known for the tapestries called Lady and the Unicorn.  Who would have thought tapestries could be so naughty.

Deportation Memorial: Located behind Notre-Dame you will find a hidden memorial for the 200,000 people that were deported during World War II by the Vichy French.  Having a basic understanding of the occupation in France before visiting the memorial will create the context necessary for truly understanding the disgust of the time period.  As you walk through the memorial, pay close attention to how the architecture makes you feel.

Mémorial de la Shoah: Located in the Marais, this memorial educates the visitors about the holocaust while honoring the Jews that died.

Île St. Louis: This island is home to the best ice cream in Paris: Berthillon.  Walking the streets, you feel like you are in a village making it is easy to forget that you are in the city center.  Hear the accordion player in the background as you window shop with your glacé in hand.

Panthéon: The Panthéon is the resting place for many famous French such as Voltaire, Marie Curie ,and Victor Hugo.

Arab World Institute: The goal of the institute is to build an understanding between different cultures.  The unique architecture holds art, history, and a library to bring people together by banishing the lack of knowledge about the culture.

Do you have suggestions for how I can make this more user friendly or more informational?  I’d love some feedback!

11 thoughts on “Paris by Métro: Cité

  1. Sunnyplace says:

    Love your idea! The only thing I can think of to suggest is to order the sights by direction rather than distance? (so that people reading won’t think that they should find the Sorbonne next to the Hotel de Ville)

    • Liberated Traveler says:

      I get what you are saying. That definitely makes sense to group places together. The hard part is I don’t want to make it a walking tour necessarily because that will get rid of the 1 km idea. Perhaps I can sort them by directions first, then by distance. I’ll try it, then you can tell me if you think it makes it better :).

  2. Heyjude says:

    I don’t think a walking tour is a bad idea with an estimate if the time it takes to walk from one point to another and the distance, include any difficulties e.g. steps and nice eateries where you can stop for lunch or a coffee or afternoon tea. Otherwise it is easy to keep back-tracking on yourself. But a good idea. I usually work out a circular route when walking through a city to help save myself too much foot slogging – or a linear route arriving one place, departing another.

    I look forward to seeing how you develop this idea.
    Jude xx

    • Liberated Traveler says:

      What I wish I could do is set up an app that allows you to select a metro, the sights within a kilometer will then pop up. You check the ones you want to visit and a map is created that will work like GPS to guide you to the destinations. When you get to a sight, the app will provide photos along with information about what you are seeing. It would be even more cool if I could also include video or audio about the place. Too bad I don’t know how to do that or if it is even possible… It would be great for traveling, but also like a virtual tour at home.

  3. Kerry says:

    What a great resource! I have my school calendar for the next year and I have a 10 day Spring Break. I would love, love, love to spend that time in Paris. Dear husband says go for it, but it would have to be without him. Not sure I’m brave enough to do it on my own.

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