Aug 10, 2009
Île de la Cité is one of two natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris, the other being Île Saint-Louis. The land between the two was, until the 1850s, largely residential and commercial, but since has been filled by the city's Prefecture de Police, Palais de Justice, Hôtel-Dieu hospital and Tribunal de Commerce. Only the westernmost and northeastern extremities of the island remain residential today, and the latter preserves some vestiges of its 16th century canon's houses.
The Île de la Cité remains the heart of Paris. All road distances in France are calculated from the "zero kilometer" point located in the Place du Parvis de Notre-Dame, the square facing Notre-Dame's west end-towers.