Notre Dame, the famous cathedral where the coronation of Henry VI and Napoleon I took place, is located at Ile de la Cité, an island in the Seine river. It took actually two centuries to complete this massive Gothic architecture (1163 – 1345). Various restorations have been made throughout times to keep this structure.
Across from Ile de la Cité, along Quai de Montebello, you can find rare and used books and prints. You can keep walking all the way to Blvd St. Michel. From Blvd. St. Michel go to Blvd. St. Germain and towards St. Germain-des-Prés, which makes up the best part of St. Germain, filled with cafés and shops.
The oldest church in Paris, St. Germain-des-Prés, is located here, built in the year 542. It has been renovated and rebuilt several times throughout the centuries. At this church you can find the tomb of Descartes amongst other notables.
In the St. Germain-des-Prés area, you can find the three famous cafés: Les Deux Magot, Café de Flore and Brasserie Lipp, where intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir used to meet.
The first cafe, Le Procope, is located nearby at 13, Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie.
St. Germain-des-Prés and the side streets are filled with unique stores from haute-couture to antique shops. Armani is part of this area as well.
Further down, close to the Quai Anatole France, at 62 Rue de Lille, is the famous Orsay Museum, where you will find paintings, sculptures, decorative arts and furniture from 1848 to 1914, including some works from Monet, Cézanne, Degas, Renoir and Van Gogh, just to name a few. The building itself is interesting as it was an old train station converted into a museum.
However, if you stay on Blvd St. Michel, you will pass La Sorbonne, a prestigious part of the University of Paris, and arrive at Jardin du Luxembourg, with the Medici fountain as the highlight of this park.
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