“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
These are two islands in the middle of the Seine. Ile de la Cité is the historic center of Paris, best symbolized by Notre Dame de Paris. Entry to the cathedral is free, and admiring the splendid stained glass rosette window and Gothic interiors can take hours. Visit the bell tower for a fee by lining up outside the northern wall, and pose for hunchback of Notre Dame photos atop the tower. Behind the cathedral, don't miss the moving monument to the Paris deportees of the Holocaust. Visit adjacent Sainte-Chapelle, a tiny but exquisite cathedral with intricate stained-glass windows. A plaque beneath Pont-Neuf is dedicated to Grand Master Templar Jacques de Molay, who was burned at the stake here in 1314. The adjacent island of Ile Saint-Louis offers every possible luxury along rue Saint-Louis en Ile, but best of all is artisanal ice cream at Berthillon.