If you visit Notre Dame (see previous posts), I have already recommended that you take a look from the back side, which I feel offers a much better view of the once criticized, today mostly admired, gothic architecture. (The description of “gothic” was given as a pejorative description of this type of architecture during the Renaissance; referring to “Goths”, East Germanic “vandals” with Scandinavian origins - my birth town is called Gothenburg / Göteborg - who played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire.)
Thanks to the arriving spring, I could yesterday see the Notre Dame spire behind the first out bursting magnolias.
But, the real purpose with this post is to recommend a walk in the little adjacent area on “Ile de la Cité”, where a lot has been rebuilt, but where you still find some old buildings, some narrow streets, some nice back yards, some old attractive looking restaurants …
If we compare the plan from 1739 with today, we can see that a lot of buildings, especially those in front of the Notre Dame have disappeared, some already by Napoleon during the preparations for his coronation as Emperor. The old hospital, Hôtel Dieu, to the right of Notre Dame has been demolished and is replaced by a new one to the left (see previous post)…
On this view from 1550 we can see the great number of churches… Now only Notre Dame remains.
Referring to the top picture, where we can read “Rue de la Colombe”, maybe a short story about the origin of this name. Where we now see a restaurant, possibly one of the oldest eating place in Paris (which in the 1950’s / 60’s was famous cabaret and later for some years could announce 3 Michelin stars / macaroons) a couple of doves had built their nest in a building which collapsed in 1223. The female dove and her brood were trapped under the stones, but the male escaped and for several weeks he fed them. The people living in the area were very touched, managed to free all the birds and this became a place of worship… until forbidden by the Archbishop as “pagan”.
In the same street a different cobble stone design indicates where once stood a 4th century Gallo-Roman wall.
No doubt that we are close to Notre Dame.
Some of the streets are still narrow.
A mixture of really old and some a bit more recent; the really old looking one has been “arranged” in the 1960’s. The little green sign indicates the level the flood of the Seine reached in 1910.
Pushing some doors…
One of Paris’ smallest “parks” (jardinet).
Some restaurants, shops…
At the extreme end of the island, Ile de la Cité, you can find a Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation – photos of the interior not allowed.
... and also in "my" park (Square des Batignolles) there are some nice spring signs.