If you are tired, stop by many cafes and restaurants in the area or head over to L’Ile Saint Louis for a sweet treat at at these places:

M. Berthillon

31, rue St Louis en l'ile

Maker of mouth watering fruit sorbets, try as many as you can.

Charlotte en L'Isle

24 Rue St-Louis-en-L'Ile

Warning—this place serve the richest hot chocolate in Paris and unlike many cafes in Paris, doesn't provide an extra pitcher of milk.

L’Ile Saint Louis

For centuries, Ile St-Louis was nothing but swampy  pastureland. The island was first called L'Ile Notre Dame,  and was uninhabited until 1614, when the seventeenth century version of a real estate developer, Christophe Marie, got the bright idea of filling it with  elegant mansions. The new bridges connected were built to connect it  with the mainland and the Ile de la Cité. Saint Louis, or Louis IX  gave his name to this island.


French schoolchildren are taught that the 13th-century King Louis IX, canonized Saint-Louis, was a just monarch who modernized the country. Less prominent in the school's curriculum, however, is the anti-Jewish persecutions Saint-Louis led. Jews who refused to convert to Catholicism were banished from France, unless they made a financial gift to the crown. If they stayed, they had to live in ghettos and wear marks on their clothing to set them apart from Christians.

Christophe Marie

The Pont Marie is named after a cunning property developer called Christophe Marie. In the 17th-century, he banked that the Ile Saint-Louis, one of Paris's two islands, would become a property hot spot. Then, it was only a wasteland known as Cow Island (L'Ile aux Vaches). Nowadays, the only way to live there is to marry a resident.

Now, that you can build up some energy, continue all arround these two islands and discover the some of the oldest bridges in Paris.

The Bridges connecting Ile de la Cite with the rest of Paris

If the bridges on either side of the Cité and the one which connects that island with the Ile St Louis are counted, there are thirty-seven bridges within the city limits of Paris.

Here are the most important one that connect Ile de la Cite with the rest of Paris.

Pont Neuf. Neuf (new) no longer, for as a matter of historical fact it is now the oldest of all the Paris bridges : that is, in its foundations, for the visible part of it has been renovated several times. The first stone of it was laid by Henri III in 1578. It was not ready for many years until 1603 Henri IV (of Navarre) ventured across a plank of it on his way to the Louvre and almost broke his neck, but lived to see the bridge finished.


The Pont Notre-Dame, as I have said, was the first part of Paris to have its houses numbered (1436) ; it was built in 1412. At times its houses went up in flames, too, and it lived an adventurous life over a river given to floods.


The Petit Pont was built in 1185 by Philip Augustus; and the last time it was rebuilt was in 1853; while the Pont Neuf is the oldest Paris bridge in its present form, having been finished in 1603. It crosses the Seine at its widest point within city limits : eight hundred and sixty-three feet. It was close by on the quay that the first book-stalls were started, some of them even on the bridge itself.

An then there is the Story of The Exchange Bridge

The Grand Pont, (renamed into Pont-au-Change)  started with Romans.

In the 12th century Louis the Fat established the gold-smiths and money-changers upon the Grand Pont, in their own houses. But that bridge went down ten times in the 13th century, houses, money-lenders, and all. In 1304 they were allowed to move, but many of them stayed on. History books   gives the account of the fire on the night of October 21st, 1621, when the servant of Monsieur Goslard let her lighted candle fall into some shavings.

Within three hours, the bridge and its one hundred and forty perfectly good houses were consumed. The gable of the Clock Tower on the Left Bank, together with a smaller foot-bridge and other houses, were also burned. The bell in that tower had called all men of Paris to aid of the fire-fighters and help them save the most valuable objects.

Two days later a law was passed by the City Fathers that all the lean-tos and shacks, must be removed from other bridges as well. For a year divers were kept at work trying to salvage what was at the bottom of the river. All that they brought up was taken to the Hôtel Commun, as they called the City Hall, to be inventoried and await their claimants. Money was appropriated from the town funds for the support of the fire victims, who were allowed to live in the Hôpital St Louis.

The bridge was not rebuilt until 1639. And the one you see, still called "Exchange Bridge," was last rebuilt in 1859. It was then that they discovered the foundations of the Roman bridge. The "N" stands for Napoleon III who rebuilt it.

Your first stop, early in the morning should be

The Notre Dame Cathedral

The River Seine flows in an arc through the middle from east to west, around its two islands called the Ile de la Cite and Ile St-Louis.

It is at Ile de la Cite, where Notre Dame sits at the historic heart of the capital.

In the old days this square was surrounded by gabled houses, of which the Cité has preserved only a very few. Narrow, lively, and crowded streets poured themselves into the square, much smaller then, then now.

Fortunately they have not torn down the Cathedral.

It was a refugee Pope, Alexander III, who, in 1163, laid the foundation stone of Notre-Dame

Construction of the first great Gothic cathedral began in 1163 and was largely completed by 1212. The rebuilding of the two transept gates in 1270 marked its completion. The west face is adorned with three richly decorated doorways and crowned with two 69m towers.

Every year, approximately 13 million worshippers and tourists visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. Under a law from 1905, Notre Dame belongs to the French government, which maintains it, but the Catholic Church has the exclusive right to use the cathedral. 

More about Notre Dame

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If you are not to tired from all the Notre Dame steps, pass by the Palais de Justice

The Palais de Justice is the seat of the French legal system.

You can visit the courtroom and other official areas open to visitors ages 10 and up, from Mon-Fri 8.30am-6pm. The admission is free.

Within the building you will find Sainte-Shapelle (Holy Chapel) and the ancient structure of the Consiergerie. On the Palais de Justice’s northeast corner there is a 400 years old guided clock. It still keeps the accurate time.

More about Saint Chapelle and La Conciergerie

Notre Dame and the islands - what to see and do