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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.
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.
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.
Located in the center of the city within the Palais de Justice complex on the Île de la Cite, the Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel) is a small Gothic chapel constructed in the Rayonnant style. Built by King Louis IX from 1238-1244, the chapel housed holy relics from the Passion believed to be Jesus' Crown of Thorns and a piece of the True Cross. These items were purchased from the Byzantine emperor Baldwin II in 1239 for a huge sum of 135,000 livres (the church cost 40,000 livres to build) due to the King's desire to elevate France as the leader of Western Christianity. The Sainte-Chapelle provides visitors with a spectacular visual experience, since the entire upper tier of the chapel is surrounded by enormous stained glass windows.
Climbing the stairwell to the top of this masterpiece is well worth the effort for the spectacular view. Construction of this great Gothic cathedral began in 1163 and was largely completed by 1212. The rebuilding of the two transept gates in 1270 marked its completion. The west face is adorned with three richly decorated doorways and crowned with two 69-meter (226-feet) tall towers. The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris houses some of Catholicism's most famous relics, including a piece of the Holy Cross and the purported Crown of Thorns. The cathedral has figured in many works of fiction, including Victor Hugo's classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The Fontaine du Palmier located in the Place du Châtelet is a large circular pool topped by a column. It is decorated with bands of bronze and four statues at the bottom of the column sculpted by Louis-Simon Boizot, and the lower basin by Gabriel Davioud. Originally built to provide fresh drinking water, this fountain was considered as the largest fountain to be built during Napolean's reign. The fountain has been designated as historic monument since 1952.