Notre Dame de Paris, like no other building, represents the history of Paris graphically. It was built on the site of a former Roman temple. The first foundation stone was laid in 1163, and that's how two hundred years of hard work of many architects and medieval masters began. The Cathedral has witnessed the greatest events in the history of France. Numerous additions (including the addition of the spire and the creation of chimeras-Gargoyle) were constructed already in the 19th century.
Let's look inside the cathedral:
There are very beautiful Christmas installations:
You can get to the tower of the western facade of Notre Dame de Paris, but there's usually a long line. However, we came to the cathedral one early misty morning, and the line was not very long.
Here’s the gallery of famous gargoyles-chimeras hiding in a gallery in between the towers. What charming creatures! :)
Above the roof of the Cathedral:
Here are more photos of Notre Dame de Paris:
Another unique place worth visiting when you stroll around the Ile de la Cite is the chapel of the Sainte-Chapelle which is considered to be one of the greatest monuments of the Western world. Back in the Middle Ages, religious people called it "the gateway to paradise". Nowadays the visitors freeze with delight enjoying the rays of light that penetrate through 15 stunning stained glass windows, separated by thin dot columns supporting the 15-meter-long spangled vault. Unlike Notre Dame de Paris, it is difficult to get inside Sainte-Chapelle as it is hidden in the courtyard of the Conciergerie, a gloomy building which was the main prison during the French Revolution, and now is a part of the Palace of Justice. To get inside, you need to stand in two very long lines wasting several hours. But there is another way - you can buy a ticket to the Conciergerie and former casemates of the prisoners of the French Revolution, and then with the same ticket and without any lines go to see the Sainte-Chapelle.
Two other right-bank quarters, Le Marais and Beaubourg, are adjacent to the Ile de la Cite. They flourished in the 16-19th centuries due to their proximity to the Louvre. Impressive late-Gothic tower of Saint-Jacques is the only thing left from a medieval church that was located there once, but was destroyed by revolutionaries in 1797:
January in Paris ... :))
Here are street jazz musicians on the bridge that connects the island Ile de la Cite with Saint-Louis Island:
This is Paris City Hall, Hotel de Ville:
And here’s a traditional Parisian carousel: :))
Another two interesting Paris squares are located a little farther away from The Seine. The Place de la Bastille...
...and Vosges Square. According to many Parisians and visitors, this symmetrical square laid in 1605 by Henry IV, is one of the finest squares in the world. It is an island of peace and tranquility in the midst of busy Parisian neighborhoods.
Walking around The Ile de la Cite, along the adjacent quarters, the quays of The Seine, and unique pieces of history, you realize that the heart of Paris is here!