The 1st through 4th arrondissements of Paris encompass the inner Right Bank as well as Ile de la Cite and Ile St. Louis, the islands in the Seine that are the cradle of the city. Together the four are known as Paris Centre and contain some of the most historic locations of the city.
An ancient palace that became the world’s premier museum of art and history, the Louvre is as famous for its architecture as for collections inside it.
The Conciergerie is all that remains of the medieval Royal Palace on Ile de La Cite and of course became more famous as the prison of Marie Antoinette during the revolution (2020)
One of many launching points on this part of the Seine for the famed ‘bateaux mouches’ that offer a riverboat view of the city (1996)
Inside the colorful Lower and Upper chapels of La Sainte Chapelle (2003)
One of my favorite churches in Paris is St. Eustache which sits imposingly right atop Les Halles. I have also always been very fascinated by the unusual statue called ‘Ecoute’ on the esplanade just out front (2007/2020)
In addition to the Parisian bourse (stock exchange), the 2nd arrondissement contains most of Rue Montorgueil, a pedestrian zone just behind St. Eustache which includes the city’s oldest patisserie (Stohrer’s founded in 1730) and many other specialty food markets–I especially enjoy getting to shop for cheese! (2011/2020)
The Passage du Grand-Cerf is a very long covered passageway from the 19th century just off of Rue St Denis full of warm wood and fine metal (2020)
The Marais is an old aristocratic district rich with historic architecture like the Hotel Sale, a 17th century home that now houses the Picasso museum (2004)
The Marais continues from the 3rd into the 4th arrondissement, and its most famous area is the impressive 17th century architecture of Place des Vosges (2011)
The Marais also includes some of the oldest remaining dwellings in Paris such as the (restored) 15th century buildings seen here on rue François Miron (2011)
The ornate Hotel de Ville (city hall) of Paris (2011)
Back on Ile de la Cite, the most treasured and notable occupant of the 4th arrondissement is of course Notre Dame de Paris, the famous 12th century cathedral which stands just upon the literal zero starting point for the city.
Notre Dame was devastated by fire in 2019, a sight which left so many of us in disbelief. It is slowly rebuilding but its also so sad to know that pieces like the 19th century spire above are gone forever.