Discover our three-hour walking tour for an unforgettable Parisian experience. Visit one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris, the charming Place Dauphine, the Quai des Orfèvres and end with the stunning Sainte-Chapelle.
From the hotel, turn right so you are heading towards the River Seine. Turn left and walk past the pet shops, arriving at Pont Neuf. Here, you can admire one of the best views in Paris. Contrary to its name (in English, it means New Bridge), Pont Neuf is one of the oldest in Paris. It was built by Henri III in the late 16th century and completed in the early 17th century. This bridge was also new in that it had no buildings on it.
You will be entering the Ile de la Cité via the charming Place Dauphine. In the 17th century, with the Pont Neuf completed, three alluvial islands were joined and attached to the Ile de la Cité main island. Succeeding his cousin Henri III, Henri IV decided to build a residential square in place of the king's orchard and islands. Place Dauphine was the second royal square - after the Place des Voges - to be named by the king himself, this time in honour of his heir (the Dauphin) born in 1601, the future Louis XIII.
The original configuration had 32 identical two-storey houses in the same style as the Place des Voges. Without royal constraint, successive owners progressively altered the architecture. Nothing remains of the original square today but the two buildings you can see when you first arrive. However, the square has lost none of its charm and is amazingly peaceful. There are several restaurants and cafés, whose terraces provide the ideal place to take a break from the summer sun with some delicious Parisian cuisine. This square inspired writer Georges Simenon, who made it the location of the brasserie where his famous Inspector Maigret eats breakfast every day.
After exploring the square, leave by the same way you came in, and return to Quai des Orfèvres to enjoy a stroll along the banks of the Seine. You will walk past the famous criminal investigation division which is commonly referred to in French by its location: Quai des Orfèvres. This location has inspired many films, including the famous Quai des Orfèvres by Henri-Georges Clouzot starring Louis Jouvet and Bernard Blier.
Now take the stairs up to the Saint Michel bridge.
Turn left along the Boulevard du Palais. The entrance to visit the Sainte Chapelle is about 50m along. One of the greatest gems of French Gothic art awaits!
Sainte-Chapelle is nestled within the Palais de Justice. Your bags will be checked at the entrance. You will need to join the queue but it normally moves quickly, so do not let this put you off. What you are about to witness will be well worth the wait.
The Sainte-Chapelle was built at the request of Saint Louis, with construction started in 1241. It was intended to house Christ's crown of thorns, a piece of the True Cross and other relics acquired by the king, including the Shroud of Turin and the Staff of Moses. An initial gift of some of these priceless treasures had been made to members of the high clergy by the kings of France for diplomatic reasons, but thefts had also reduced the reliquary. During the French Revolution, the relics were transported to the Saint-Denis basilica. Many were to disappear under circumstances that remain a mystery even today. However, the Crown of Thorns survived, and is currently held in the Notre Dame de Paris treasury.
The Sainte Chapelle is extraordinary in several ways: It features two levels, with a lower and an upper chapel but no transept, endowing this building with a wonderfully simple style. The interior is entirely decorated in its original multi-coloured look. Also, the upper chapel's nave has an unusual ratio of width (10m) to height (20m). This leaves the space unhindered by free-standing pillars and gives an impression of breath-taking elevation. Lastly, the vertical sections are almost entirely taken up by stained-glass windows that emit a light unmatched by any other Gothic religious building.
This is a unique sight and no other Gothic architecture in the world offers such flawlessness and flamboyance.
Sainte-Chapelle often hosts classical concerts in the evening
View the programme and buy your tickets: http://www.digitick.com/la-sainte-chapelle-paris-css4-digitick-pg5-si1286.html
Our hotel can also take care of booking your tickets and will deliver them to you directly.
8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris
Price: €8.50 - Free for under 18s
19, rue des Prêtres-Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois
+33 (0)1 40 41 96 42