Ile de la Cité and Ile St-Louis

Paris was born on the Ile de la Cité. The first settlers came to this island on the Seine in 300 BC (see Historical Events in Paris) and it has remained a focus of church and state power through the centuries, with the great cathedral of Notre-Dame and the law courts of the Palais de Justice commanding the island. This tiny land mass also has the honour of being the geographical heart of the city – all distances from Paris are measured from Point Zéro, just outside Notre-Dame. While the Ile de la Cité seems overrun with tourists, the smaller Ile St-Louis, connected to its neighbour by a footbridge, has a village-like feel and has been an exclusive residential enclave since the 17th century. Its main street is ...

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