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Video:Sights to See Around Notre Dame

with Courtney Traub

No trip to Paris would be complete without seeing the infamous Notre Dame Cathedral - but don't let the Gothic wonder blind you to the other fantastic sights nearby. See some fun things to do around Notre Dame.See Transcript

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Transcript:Sights to See Around Notre Dame

Hi. I'm Courtney Traub. Your Paris guide for about.com. Today I'm going to be showing you some of the best things to see and do around Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Notre Dame in Paris

Notre Dame is a lively and picturesque area of the city that's allows swimming with tourists and street performers. Just across the Seine River, on the left Bank side, is the Saint-Michel neighborhood, which marks the boundary of the Latin Quarter - easily recognized by the stately fountain and statue of Saint-Michel slaying a demon.

Shakespeare & Company Near Notre Dame

This area is full of book shops, cinemas, and typical Parisian Cafes, and is only minutes away on foot to sites like the Sorbonne University and the Medieval Museum. If you're looking for a good book in English head to Shakespeare and Company. This isn't the original location of the book shop frequented by writers like James Joyce but it still retains the spirit.

Banks of the Seine at Notre Dame

The banks of the Seine around Notre Dame are good for a relaxed stroll, or picnic, and many boats docked here house restaurants serving lunch or dinner. Make sure to check out the outdoor book seller setup alongside the Seine in green metal stands. This tradition can be traced back to the 16th century when an increase in literacy among the urban populations saw a growing demand for books.

Deportation Memorial at Notre Dame

Just east of Notre Dame is the Deportation Memorial, which honors the victims of Nazi barbarism during World War II. One activity that I recommend that you do at least once is take a Seine River boat tour. Companies depart regularly from the Que Montebello just across from Notre Dame. But, check schedules ahead of time.

Island Ice Cream on the Seine

The Ile Saint Louis is a charming natural island separating the right and left banks of the Seine River and is a big draw for visitors. In warmer months make sure to try ice cream from the famed house of Berthillon, known for creative and fresh flavors like Rhubarb or Grapefruit. If the Berthillon shop is closed, not to worry, plenty of other shops on the island peddle to ice cream as well. The banks of the Ile Saint Louis also another idea for a leisurely stroll or a picnic with friends, but on weekends, expect to be joined by large crowds.

Sainte-Chapelle at Notre Dame

Finally, one lesser known but stunning monument near Notre Dame and close to metro stop is the Sainte-Chapelle, which boasts some of the most ornate stained glass and rose windows. Originally built in 1248n as a royal chapel the Sainte-Chapelle was heavily damaged during the French Revolution, but most of the stained glass was preserved. While the sumptuous upper chapel is undergoing restoration at the moment, countless stunning details are still to be seen here. The chapel often hosts classical music concerts.

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