For these medieval tours, either on right or left bank, it is really nice starting in the heart of Ile de la Cité with the most magnificent medieval monument: cathedral Notre-Dame.
From the cathedral square,
we will go along its left side on rue du Cloître-Notre-Dame. We will admire its gargoyles and statues and also an old canon’s house. Then, we will turn left on Quai aux Fleurs, then we will stop rue des Ursins at the corner of rue des Chantres.
If we continue the tour on the right bank, we will walk towards Ile Saint-Louis where we will take Louis-Philippe Bridge which will take us in the Marais district.
If instead, we continue
the tour on the left bank, we will keep on Quai aux Fleurs, cross the Flower Market, arrive in front of the church Sainte-Chapelle.
This Gothic masterpiece was ordered by King Saint-Louis to the architect Pierre de Montreuil in order to house some fragments of the Holy Cross and the crown of thorns.
Then, we will walk towards quai de l’horloge where we will stop at the corner
to see the oldest public Parisian clock (1371). At the top of the tower, there is a bell which replaced an old one, destroyed during the French Revolution. Ringing this bell together with the ones at the church of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, near the
Louvre was the signal to launch the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in the night of 23–24
August 1572, which was a major turning point in the French War of Religion.
Then, we walk along the Conciergerie and
its medieval towers : Tour Cesar, Tour d’Argent and Tour Bonbec, the oldest. Here, the name “bonbec” means good beak and refers to the torture room to make prisoners talk.
We will reach the
far end of the island and use the Pont-Neuf bridge to reach the left bank. Following Atget steps, we will stop by:
- Rue du Cloître-Notre-Dame
- Quai aux Fleurs et rue des Ursins
- Rue des Chantres