Complete Île de la Cité Tour: This is an in-depth exploration of the histories, myths, legends, and lore hidden behind the stones of Paris’ most interesting neighborhood. From the gothic splendor of the bell towers of Notre Dame that inspired Victor Hugo to create his hunchback bell-ringer, to the darkest cells in the Conciergerie where condemned dissidents awaited death during the Revolutionary Reign of Terror, the Île de la Cité has witnessed the best and the worst of Parisian history and you’ll hear all the stories that make it such a special place.
Your tour begins at Notre Dame where you’ll meet your expert guide and an intimate group of 15 people or fewer. Inside, you’ll marvel at the famous Rose Window, admire the stunning arches of the cathedral’s gothic architecture and learn how Victor Hugo and his Hunchback of Notre Dame actually saved this beautiful building from demolition. Next you’ll travel back in time, exploring the streets of Île de la Cité as your guide tells you what life was like here from the Middle Ages to the Revolution (hint: it wasn’t anywhere near as clean as it is today). You’ll stop in the Conciergerie, a lovely building with a dark past that was used host the tribunals of the French Revolution and to imprison political prisoners awaiting their date with the guillotine. The building was recently renovated, including the cell where Marie Antoinette spent the last days before her execution, under heavy guard and in very difficult conditions. You’ll also see a second cell where she was briefly kept, now converted into a tiny chapel.
After these dark delights you’ll see something much more life-affirming. If you thought Notre Dame’s Rose Window was beautiful, Sainte Chapelle is going to blow you away. This royal chapel was originally built to house relics and today it’s still one of the most jaw-dropping rooms in Paris. It’s also one of the city’s most popular attractions. Luckily, you have skip the line tickets so you’ll walk right past entrance lines that can be hours long.
After a lunch break (with plenty of restaurant recommendations from your guide) you will reconvene for skip the line access to the tower of Notre Dame. With a timed entrance, your guide will get you past long lines and straight inside, accompanying you to the first level foyer then leaving you to do the climb and visit at your own pace. Like Sainte Chapelle, the towers of Notre Dame are popular for good reason. You’ll get up close to the famous gargoyles and inside the bell tower to see where Victor Hugo’s hunchback lived. This tour has access to the highest point of the cathedral too, with 360 degree vantage point, for our favorite views of the city. After all, when you climb the Eiffel Tower, you can’t see the Eiffel Tower. From Notre Dame you have the whole city at your feet.
Meeting/pick-up point: This tour meets in front of the Charlemagne Statue (equestrian statue) found in the Notre Dame Cathedral's square. This is the only statue in the square, which will be situated on the right side of the Cathedral when facing the front facade. Your guide will be waiting for you in front of the Charlemagne Statue holding a WALKS sign.
Duration: 6 hours, including 1 hour for lunch time.
Start/opening time: 9am. Please ensure you arrive at the meeting point at least 15 minutes prior to the tour start time.
End/closing time: 3pm approximately.
Inclusions: Skip the line tickets to Sainte Chapelle, skip the line tickets to La Conciergerie, visit of Notre Dame Cathedral, skip the line tickets to climb the towers of Notre Dame, walking tour of Île de la Cité, expert local tour guide.
Others: Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate guests with mobility impairments, wheelchairs or strollers on this tour.