Notre Dame Facade Front View
View of Pont Neuf near Notre Dame
Guided tour crossing Pont Neuf near Notre Dame
Panoramic view of Île de la Cité with Notre Dame
tour guide outside Notre Dame

Notre Dame Island & Historic Medieval Paris Walking Tour

(436 Reviews)
1.5 h.

Discover the history of France on this small island in the center of the city and find out how Notre Dame came to represent the soul of medieval Paris.

Along with your English-speaking expert guide, you’ll see the World Heritage cathedrals of Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle. You’ll discover the key locations* from the establishment of Paris through to the Gothic architecture and royal palaces that witnessed the bloodshed of the revolution. This tour covers the shifting balance of power over 2000 years and the restoration of the much-loved Notre Dame Cathedral.

€2 per person from your booking will be donated to the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral.

  • Stroll through Île de la Cité, the heart of Paris.
  • View the exterior of gothic Notre Dame Cathedral and Sainte Chapelle.
  • Ensure your visit has a positive impact as €2 from your booking will be donated to the Notre Dame Restoration Fund.
  • Spend over 1.5 hours in the company of an English-speaking historian guide who will explore the importance of the significant buildings.
  • Explore the island with dedicated audio headsets in a small group of not more than 25 people

*Please note that due to some areas remaining closed by the authorities the route of this tour may vary slightly from that which is published.

Discover the past on our Notre Dame tours

What's Included

  • Expert, English-speaking historian guide
  • Small group of no more than 25 people
  • Dedicated audio headsets so you never miss a word

Sites Visited


  • Notre Dame
  • Place Dauphine
  • Conciergerie
  • Palais de Justice
  • Sainte Chapelle
  • Shakespeare & Co

Complete Tour Description

Take a tour* of Île de la Cité and discover how this settlement founded by the Parisii tribe tells the tale of the delicate balance of power between religion and government in one of the most secular countries in Europe.

Explore the Origins of Paris

Your tour begins on the bridges of Pont Neuf beneath the statue of Henri IV on horseback.

You’ll visit Place Dauphine which the king designed to foster an air of calm in the city after the religious wars and which is still used by Parisians for games of petanque.

From here, you’ll see the Conciergerie and its ominous towers. It was originally the home of the French kings before becoming the city's administration center. It was later used to hold members of the aristocracy during the revolution which spread around the world.

You’ll pass the Palais de Justice where tribunals sentenced Marie Antoinette to the guillotine. Beside it stands Sainte-Chapelle, built to house the Crusader relics which gave the kings legitimacy. Its spire became the model for Notre Dame after the revolution.

On Rue de Lutece you’ll hear about the pagan shrine which lay beneath Notre Dame. You'll discover the saint who tried to bring Christianity to Roman Paris and how he lost his head in the process. You'll hear how a French King and Queen saved Paris from attack and began the close relationship between the monarchy and the church which changed the face of Europe.

View the Gothic Splendor of Notre Dame

As you walk around the closed Notre Dame Cathedral your guide will point out the features of the finest example of Gothic architecture in the world. The flying buttresses support rib-like vaults and high ceilings which were so unlike the small dark churches of the time. Before the printing press, the radiant rose windows, detailed portals, statues of saints and menacing gargoyles brought the bible stories to life.

The cathedral was further immortalized in literature by Victor Hugo and it became the home of relics such as the Treasure of Notre Dame – a ring of gem-encrusted rock crystal containing the Crown of Thorns. As the cathedral is the zero point* from where all French distances are calculated, it has many customs associated with it for travelers. This much-loved cathedral has withstood revolutions, world wars and the recent fire making it a global symbol of heritage at the heart of France.

Leaving the island, your guide will bring you across to the Left Bank of Paris. Known for its intellectual energy and student life this is where you will get the best view of the Lady of Paris before you pass the bookstore “Shakespeare and Co”, featured in the movie Midnight in Paris.

Join us on this 1.5hr incredible journey into the heart of historical Paris and savor the history, craftsmanship, and the legacy that envelope the island and the medieval buildings it contains.

If you are interested in more tours of the city, check out our tours of Paris.

*Please note that the streets around the Cathedral are closed until further notice. Therefore we won’t be able to access the square in front of Notre Dame and see the 0km point. However, your guide will ensure to take you through alternative routes so you can get as close as possible to the Cathedral

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Restoration Donation Included
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  • Free 24 hour cancellation

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A City Wonders tour is the product of meticulous research, detailed planning, and a passion for providing customers with travel experiences they will cherish forever.

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