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View from the Notre-Dame tower III. - Place du Parvis Notre Dame

At the far end of the square in front of the cathedral is the entrance to the archaeological crypt. The crypt contains Roman vestiges, including the island’s first quay, houses with hypocausts, a monumental buttressed wall and sections of the ramparts on which the Merovingian cathedral of Saint-Etienne stood. At ground level, the square’s pavement indicates the location of the medieval streets, the houses that lined them and various religious buildings, all of which have disappeared. One of these streets is the Rue Neuve-Notre-Dame, which was very likely created when the cathedral was under construction.

Ile de la Cité

The Ile de la Cité is one of two natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris (the other being Ile Saint-Louis, the Ile des Cygnes being artificial). It is the centre of Paris and the location where the medieval city was refounded. The western end has held a palace since Merovingian times, and its eastern end since the same period has been consecrated to religion, especially after the 10th century construction of a cathedral preceding today's Notre Dame. The land between the two was, until the 1850s, largely residential and commercial, but since has been filled by the city's Prefecture de Police (the building which can be seen in the middle, with a flag), Palais de Justice, Hôtel-Dieu hospital and Tribunal de Commerce (in the forefront right). Only the westernmost and northeastern extremities of the island remain residential today, and the latter preserves some vestiges of its 16th century canon's houses.

Sights

Three medieval buildings remain on the Ile de la Cité:
- The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris (the picture from here prepared), built from 1163 on the site of a church dedicated to Saint Étienne, which in turn occupied a sacred pagan site of Roman times. During the French Revolution the cathedral was badly damaged, then restored by Viollet-le-Duc.
- Louis IX's Sainte-Chapelle (onto the right visible towered building), built as a reliquary to house the Crown of Thorns and a piece of the True Cross, enclosed within the Palais de Justice.
- The Conciergerie prison, where Marie Antoinette awaited execution in 1793.
(Source: parisguide)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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