This long stroll around the two central islands will take you on a journey through Parisian history. Could last up to 6 hours including the visits of monuments and touristic sites.
Start your stroll at the very western tip of the Ile de la Cité, in the 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 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 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 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 Queen Elizabeth II Flower Market and its covered stands.
From there, follow the crowds of tourists to the Parvis de Notre Dame, where you can find the entrance of the archeological crypt. Back up on the surface, walk towards the cathedral and take a shot at the Zero Point, the reference point from which all the distances to Paris are measured. While you’re here, duck inside Notre Dame Cathedral and then climb up to the top of the south tower to admire the view of the Paris rooftops. Walk around the church and pass through the garden to gaze at the impressive flying buttresses. At the end of the island, go into the square to visit 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 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 Hotel 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 Berthillon for a well-deserved ice cream break, and after a quick look inside the nearby church, end your stroll in the Square Barye for a final shot of the Seine.