1. France
  2. Ile-de-France
  3. Paris
  4. Notre Dame Cathedral

Paris: Notre Dame Island Historical and Medieval Guided Tour

Product ID: 10511
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Join a 1.5-hour walking tour through medieval Paris, learn about buildings that survived revolutions and wars. Unpack years of Parisian history and architecture with an expert guide. Discover the Conciergerie, if you choose, and explore it's gory past.
About this activity
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Duration 1.5 hours
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  • Explore the heart of historical Paris on a walking tour of Île de la Cité
  • Discover how the gothic architecture of Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle changed the world
  • Stroll along streets where the kings and queens of Paris walked before the revolution
  • Listen to the commentary of your guide in a small group of 15 people or less
Full description
Explore the medieval center of Paris on a fascinating 1.5-hour walking tour of the island that evolved into the City of Lights. You’ll discover how the Parisii tribe came to power and grew into a major European force in the Middle Ages. With your expert local guide, you’ll stroll along streets where the buildings are soaked in the blood of royal rulers and revolutionary rebels.

From the peaceful atmosphere of Place Dauphine to the Conciergerie towers which were once home to royalty, Île de la Cité holds the dramatic tales of the journey towards self-rule which unfolded in Paris. You’ll pass by the Palais de Justice and Sainte Chapelle. The former was part of the royal palace and ironically where Marie Antionette was sentenced by the people to the guillotine. The latter was originally a private chapel built for royals in 1238 but it is now better known as a haven for lovers of stained glass. Like Notre Dame, it was damaged during the French Revolution and then restored to its glory.

You’ll learn about the Roman temples that can still be found under the island from before the time when the Christians arrived. You’ll be surprised by the welcome that St Denis received when he tried to convert the Parisians and about the queen that needed a miracle to save the city from Attila the Hun. You’ll leave the medieval world of Notre Dame Island and cross to the Latin Quarter which was the stomping ground of modern artists like Picasso and Hemingway.

Along this section of the quays, you will find the best place to take pictures of the Notre Dame as reconstruction efforts continue. The Left Bank is also the best place to dive back into modern Paris with shops like Shakespeare & Co close by. The island is, of course, home to Notre Dame Cathedral*. It will remain closed while it is restored after the tragic fire. You’ll be able to see the exterior of the cathedral on your walking tour and you’ll discover how inspired artists as diverse as Victor Hugo and Picasso. Even with the streets closed off, you’ll be able to see the delicate supports created by the medieval master masons. The fact that it has survived so much is impressive. Not bad considering that when it was built the lofty spires, detailed façade and vaulted arches were unlike anything seen before in Europe.

*Please note that the streets around the Cathedral are closed until further notice. Therefore, you won’t be able to access the square in front of Notre Dame and see the 0 km point. However, your guide will ensure to take you through alternative routes so you can get as close as possible to the Cathedral.
  • Tour guide
  • Small group experience of 15 people or less
  • Audio-sets to hear your guide better
  • Conciergerie entrance, if option selected
What’s Not Included
  • Pickup at your accommodation
  • Gratuities (optional)
Not suitable for
  • People with mobility impairments
  • Wheelchair users

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Meeting point is at the statue of Henri IV, in the middle of Pont Neuf- at the western end of Ile de la cite. Pont Neuf is the bridge that links Ile de la Cite to both the left and right banks of Paris. The statue is of a man on a horse sitting in the middle of the bridge. Nearest Metro: Pont Neuf (7) or Cite (4)

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Important information
What to bring
  • Comfortable shoes
Not allowed
  • Baby strollers
Know before you go
• This tour is not wheelchair accessible and is not suitable for those requiring special assistance or those with strollers or baby carriages

From US$ 42.28 per person

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Overall rating
4.6 / 5
based on 287 reviews
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Organized by

City Wonders Ltd.

Product ID: 10511