- You’ll see the remains of a gladiator arena in the middle of Paris!
- You’ll discover Paris's worldwide famous cathedral: Notre Dame.
- You’ll see some of the few remaining wooden houses in Paris.
- Your welcomer will show you a gothic cellar–which is also his favorite place in Paris!
Notre Dame Cathedral & Medieval Paris Tour (Private)
How old do you think Paris is? That’s a good question. Of course, you could try an easy answer like… “Hmm… very old!”. For more precisions, just ask your guide. She’s fond of the past history of the French capital, no doubt she will help you.
Through this walk, she will lead you back to the origin of the city, today known as Paris. Forget this name for a while, because, during Ancient times, this place was called Lutetia, which meant something like “whitish” because limestone was the main component of the hills’ soil.
This very material was used to build all the beautiful monuments that enriched Paris during the Middle Ages: king’s dwelling, churches, chapels and even private houses. Some of the highlights of past art and architecture are still to be seen on Ile de la Cité and districts along both river banks. Trust your welcomer, she won’t let you miss any marvels.
Your guide will welcome you in the heart of the left bank, very close to a magnificent antique treasure Paris likes to hide. Lutetia’s Arenas were a place of entertainment for inhabitants of the 2nd and 3th century and you’ll note that they still are – just that children now play football where gladiators fought for their lives. How times change, don’t they!
A little bit further downhill, Saint-Bernard College is a unique example in town of Cistercian architecture, the soberest of all the medieval arts. Dating back to the 13th century, it has been recently restored. It is one of the largest medieval buildings in Paris. Paris’ Gothic cathedral, Notre-Dame, and the first French Kings’ palace are Ile de la Cité’s highlights. But there are worthy other remains on the true cradle of the town, like what’s left from a Gallo roman defensive wall. So discreet, that you’d better follow your welcomer to find it.
Time to cross the Seine, across the Louis-Philippe bridge, to join Saint-Louis Island. According, to your welcmer, it’s the most romantic place in Paris, that’s why she’ll take advantage of your stroll towards the right bank to tell you the romantic and awful (I would say even more: the awfully romantic) story of the French Romeo and Juliet: Eloïse and Abélard.
On your way to your next surprising discovery, you will walk streets with genuine medieval atmosphere with names as poetic as Grenier-sur-l’Eau Street (meaning “granary upon the water”), deserving an explanation. Your welcomer gets it, of course. Once in Rue François-Miron, she’ll show you (from the outside) what was a middle-class Parisian accommodation during the Middle Ages: narrow but tall facade, stony foundations and ground floor, upper floors made of half-timberings with bricks or cob slabs.
Finally, your welcomer will show you an unsung Gothic cellar from the 13th century, belonging to an abbey settled outside Paris. It’s her favorite place in Paris, so she’s the right person to give you details about what was going on here. Your welcomer will be pleased to propose a friendly stop in a local café to go deeper into that matter. As member of the association that saved the cellar, she’s truly the right person to ask.
Meeting Address: 49 Rue Monge, Paris - In front of 49 rue Monge, Metro line 10, Cardinal-Lemoine or Place-Monge stations
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