Don’t have a friend in Paris to point you to all the best places? You do as a part of our Urbansider Club! Join for free for access to personalized recommendations, downloadable guides, and a monthly newsletter with the latest from Paris as well as our new top addresses and experiences. You’ll also be invited to our exclusive Urbansider events in Paris.
Notre Dame cathedral sits in the very center of Paris, on the island where the city of Lutetia was founded, l’Ile de la Cité. Upstream, another island, l’Ile Saint-Louis offers a quieter life to its lucky inhabitants.
Main metro stations near Notre Dame:
Start your stroll at the very western tip of the Ile de la Cité, in the 1). Square du Vert-Galant. This little triangular park is the green spearhead of the island. From the side alleys, you can admire the piers of the oldest bridge in Paris, Le Pont Neuf, which links the island to the river banks…
Snap a shot in one of the little alcoves of the bridge, and head inwards to the 2). Place Dauphine, a lovely haven of peace and quiet in the very center of the city. Take a seat on a bench and watch the locals play pétanque.
Whenever you’re ready to resume your walk, head towards the back of the square to your left. You’ll pass by the 3). Conciergerie, the famous palace-turned-prison where Marie-Antoinette and more spent their last days during the French Revolution. Just next door is the must-see 4). Sainte Chapelle, a jewel of gothic architecture built in the 13th century.
Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the small royal chapel, bathed in the colorful light coming in through the magnificent stained glass windows. On your way out, walk across the street toward the 5). Queen Elizabeth II Flower Market and its covered stands.
From there, follow the crowds of tourists to 6). Notre Dame de Paris. Since the terrible fire in April 2019, most of the square in front of the famous cathedral is closed, as is the archeological crypt.
You can, however, admire the amazingly resilient Notre Dame Cathedral from the far end of the Parvis de Notre Dame. Unfortunately, the garden surrounding the monument is closed but walk along the side of the church on the Rue du Cloître-Notre-Dame to gaze at the impressive flying buttresses that are miraculously still standing. At the end of the island, go into the square to visit 7). the World War II Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation.
Cross over the bridge to the Ile Saint Louis, and take a right towards 8). the little square at the end of the island. Admire one of the most scenic views over the river and the Ile de la Cité, and head back upstream following the Quai de Bourbon, passing by the Hôtel Le Charron, just one example of the many hôtel particuliers on the island.
Turn away from the water and into the Rue de Saint Louis en l’Ile. Make a stop at 9). Berthillon for a well-deserved ice cream break, and after 10). a quick look inside the nearby church, end your stroll in the 11). Square Barye for a final shot of the Seine.
Ready to go on another walk around Paris? Let a local show you the city with one of our Paris Guided Tours in English!
“After years of (mostly) business trips to Paris, I finally got up the courage and took the chance to move Paris. ‘What could go wrong?,’ I thought to myself. I was already working for a French company and I fell more and more in love every time I came to Paris.
Two years later, I can confirm. Paris took me by storm and the city made me fall in love with the streets, buildings, cafés, restaurants, nightlife, art, and fashion scene. Again and again.
I can’t go on sharing about Paris without mentioning my home for two years – Ile Saint-Louis. Living on a small island in Paris has its charm and benefits. And it’s not only the walking distance to the Seine, Le Marais, or Saint Germain. I am of course talking about the ice cream shop called Berthillon that the island is so famous for. Don’t miss it!
While we’re on the subject, another place in the neighborhood that can’t be missed is Café Le St-Régis. It’s my absolute favorite place in Paris where I would sometimes find myself eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner – all on the same day!
Living on an island in Paris, you’re surrounded by the Seine. It’s a perfect place for a morning or evening stroll and it’s also served as my Parisian running track these past two years. I don’t recommend it though if you suffer from cobblestone-phobia! On s’aime comme ça, la Seine et moi.”
Personalized Paris recommendations, a monthly newsletter, & more.