7. Île de la Cité, Skip-the-Line Sainte Chapelle & River Cruise
This in-depth exploration of the histories, myths, legends, and lore hidden behind the stones of Paris’ most interesting neighborhood takes you to the historic Île de la Cité in the heart of the city. From the gothic splendor of the bell towers of Notre Dame that inspired Victor Hugo to create his hunchback bell-ringer, to the dazzling stained glass windows in Sainte Chapelle, you’ll see Paris from several entirely different perspectives, and discover exactly what makes it such a special place.
Your day starts with a stroll along the banks of the Seine, where you’ll hear all about the hidden history of this intriguing city, taking in its romantic sights along the way. Following this, it's time for a short wander through the streets of Île Saint-Louis, where you'll get a stunning view of your next stop.
As you approach the iconic Notre Dame, your guide will take you back in time hundreds of years to when the mighty cathedral (the distance from which all points in France are measured) was first built and Paris looked very different than it does today. You’ll be taken as close to the majestic landmark as the ongoing restoration will permit you to give you the best views possible.
After crossing the river into the historic Latin Quarter, you’ll stroll down meandering, cobblestone streets where you'll hear the stories and learn of the characters—poets, philosophers, artists—that made Paris the City of Light.
Then, it's a short walk to the Conciergerie, the oldest remaining part of the Palais de la Cité. This former royal residence of the kings of France became a prison during the French Revolution. You'll enter with pre-reserved tickets and receive a guided tour.*
Next, you’ll head to the city’s most beautiful chapel—Sainte Chapelle. This royal chapel was originally built to house relics and today it’s still one of the most jaw-dropping rooms in Paris. It’s also one of the city’s most popular attractions. Luckily, you’ll have skip-the-line tickets and a guided tour* to fully appreciate this remarkable monument.
After passing through the tranquil Place Dauphine, your guide will leave you with a special treat—a river cruise along the Seine where you can experience and view Paris and it’s many magnificent buildings from a new vantage point. The cruise will last one hour and has also a live guide on board.
*Please note: This tour includes a guided tour of the Conciergerie and Sainte Chapelle from April 1, 2023. Tours before this date will visit the magnificent Sainte-Chapelle for self-guided visit.
Notre Dame Cathedral (exterior)
Île de la Cité