A Day in Ile de Cité
On Sundays from 8 a.m. –7 p.m., the flower market near Notre Dame also sells birds of all shapes and sizes, and rabbits, too! It is known as <em>Marché aux Fleurs et Oiseaux</em>. (The flower market is mostly composed of plants on Sunday; on other days it includes cut flowers.) Take the Metro to Cité and when you come up the stairs, turn around and you'll be there. The little birds flutter and the planters full of colorful shrubs and flowers are really beautiful. And the rabbits are soft and cuddly. Walk down rue de Lutece and you'll run into the Cour du Mai which marks the entrance to Palais de Justice and behind the wall you'll find one of Paris's most beautiful churches, Sainte-Chapelle. Sainte-Chapelle was built in 1248 by Louis IX to house the crown of thorns and other religious relics. The most stunning elements of the church are the 15 stained glass windows and the Rose Window, which together depict over 1,000 religious scenes. The nearby Conciergerie prison was busy during the Revolution, and yes, the guillotine was used here. Ever visit to the Ile de Cité should include a stop at Notre Dame. If it's open, go to the Crypte Archeologique, where you'll find the ruins of houses from 2,000 years ago. Then take a walk to Au Bougnat, a really good bistro (bistrot). Have a great day in Ile de Cité!
Ile de la Cité
A crisp November day provides the perfect opportunity to walk across the famous Paris bridges to Ile de la Cité - the center of Paris. On this natural island in the Seine you'll find the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Palais de Justice, Conciergerie prison, and more. One of the best view of the Ile de la Cité is atop the towers of Notre Dame, joining her gargoyles as they watch over their city with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
By Maci Wachtel, AFAR Staff
Picnicking is taken so seriously in Paris that once a year locals throw a Dîner en Blanc, a formal picnic where guests wear white and bring out their best china to dine by the hundreds at landmarks like the Carousel du Louvre or Place de la Concorde. For your own picnic, there is nowhere more romantic than the western tip of the Île de la Cité, the sunset behind the bridges as the Seine rushes by, or at the foot of the Eiffel Tower on the Champs de Mars. Local market streets like the Place Maubert Mutualité in the Latin Quarter or rue Lourmel near the Eiffel Tower sell everything needed for an intimate picnic; chilled champagne, artisanal cheeses, ripe produce, fresh bread, and pastries for a sweet ending.
By Sylvia Sabes, AFAR Local Expert
Ile de la Cite
After you drop your bags off at the apt, wander around "the center of Paris". You are surrounded by the Seine and only the loveliest bridges lead you anywhere and everywhere.