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Situated in a part of the Palais de Justice (Law courts), the Conciergerie became Paris' first prison in 1391. Behind its medieval façade are reconstructions of cells, the 14th-century Salle des Gardes (Guardroom), the Salle des Gens d'Armes (Arms room), which is a fine example of Gothic architecture, the Cour des Femmes, where the prisoners took their daily walk, and the Bonbec Tower in which they were interrogated. During the French Revolution, almost 3000 people were locked up in these dungeons; one of them is a reconstruction of the cell in which Queen Marie-Antoinette awaited her fate at the guillotine. Several other famous prisoners were entertained here, including Charlotte Corday (politician Jean-Paul Marat's assassin in 1793), chemist Antoine de Lavoisier and poet André Chénier.
Located in the heart of Paris on the Île de la Cité, the law courts occupy more than four hectares (9.8 acres) of land. The building contains around 24 kilometers (15 miles) of hallways, 7000 doors and more than 3150 windows. Four thousand magistrates and civil servants work there everyday, but if you count all of the legal officers, lawyers, police officers and gendarmes, defendants, tourists and spectators who come to the law courts on a given day, the building welcomes an average of 15,000 people daily.
Commissioned by Henri IV in 1607 as part of the city's redevelopment, Place Dauphine was dedicated to his son and heir apparent, the future Louis XIII. In common with Place des Vosges (also one of Henri IV's creations), it is symmetrical in design and surrounded by stone-built, red-brick buildings. Tucked away to the east of the Pont-Neuf bridge, it's a delightful and very peaceful spot. In good weather, you can watch people playing pétanque here or sit down on a bench and bury yourself in a good book.
Île de la Cité's is one of two natural islands located within the city of Paris. This island is entirely shaped by the Seine River and located smack-dab in the middle of the city. Many historians believe that the first group of people, a small Gallic tribe, settled on the island in 52 BC. It has been inhabited ever since by the likes of Romans, Merovingians, and contemporary French citizens. Visitors will find some of the city's most recognizable monument on the isle, including Notre-Dame, La Place Dauphine and Sainte Chapelle, to name only a few. These structures on Île de la Cité serve as an excellent representation of the beauty and architecture for which Paris is famous.
Flanked by iconic French landmarks like the majestic Notre Dame and the Conciergerie, Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux has been in operation since 1808, making it the oldest and lone surviving floral market in Paris. Located in the heart of Ile de la Cité, the avenue sees an array of shops featuring exotic flowers, plants and shrubs. From primroses and orchids to violets and myrtles, the seasonal blooms paint a beautiful and tranquil picture in the tourist-dominated area. Open throughout the week, Sundays see bird traders set up shop with rare species of parrots, macaws, doves and budgies, as well as cages, seeds and accessories.
The Fontaine Saint-Michel located in the Place Saint-Michel is a large, monumental fountain with captivating architecture. It is decorated in neoclassical-style sculpting with works from nine sculptors. Constructed on the designs of the architect Gabriel Davioud during 1858-1860, it is one of the last wall fountain to be built in Paris. Though the fountain had received divided reception on its opening, it is still a popular tourist site.
Located opposite the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Crypte Archéologique du Parvis Notre-Dame is a treasure trove of important and priceless ruins from Gallo-Roman to the 19th Century. The crypt is made with the intention to preserve some of the masterpieces of an age and period, which will never return. The traces which were discovered during the excavation of 1965 were converted into a preservation space in 1980. As this place is open to the public, don't miss an opportunity to visit, when in Paris.