In front of the Paris Hall of Justice used to stand here a palace where the kings of France lived. When the monarchy cleared this island and moved to live in different palaces, a vast area was opened and many wide square and streets were built, filled with alleyways and bunches of houses. This area then turned into a dense quarter. Île de la Cité is the most western of the two islands and houses big public buildings like the Notre Dame Cathedral, Sainte-Chapelle Church, the magnificent Police headquarters, the Hall of Justice, and more.
At a later period, Christians who were fleeing their homes from barbaric tribes settled here. During the Middle Ages this island became an important political and military spot.
The oldest residential area to survive to this day is "Old Monastery."
Within the construction work that went on here in the 19th century by the Baron Haussmann, the face of the island was changed completely. Haussmann cleared 25,000 residents and placed them elsewhere. He destroyed homes, streets and any building that disrupted the view from the Notre Dame. The square in front of the church was destroyed as well. Haussmann's work was stopped in 1869, before he got a change to destroy ancient remains on the island.
Downstream at the edge of the island, you will find the Wille Glenn (The Green Knight) Park, named after King Henry IV.