Parvie Square in Paris


Parvi Square (Parvis Notre-Dame - place Jean-Paul-II) is located in the most ancient part of Paris on the Ile de la Cite in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in the 4th district of the capital.

Historical and modern name

There are two versions of the origin of the medieval Parvi square. According to one of them, it has Latin roots and means the area in front of the temple, in another, the French version, it is the Square of Paperti. For a short time, since 1794, it was given a revolutionary name - the Square of Reason.

Since 2006, it again has a different name: Place parvis Notre-Dame - place Jean-Paul-II. The renaming ceremony was held in the presence of the Mayor of Paris B. Delanoe, the Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor A. Ven-Trois, and the Apostolic Nuncio Monsignor F. Bordelli. This decision was strongly opposed by the anti-clerical part of society, and as a result of the outbreak of protests, the police detained about 50 opponents of the renaming.

The history of the old square

In Paris of the early Middle Ages, on the site of the modern Parvi Square, there originally existed a street with the same name. For some time, it also bore the name of Ax Street (rue de la Huchette) after the house that stood on it, but disappeared long ago. Only after the construction of Notre Dame Cathedral in the 12th century. this street has been converted into a square.

In the Middle Ages, it was much smaller than it is now. According to researchers, the territory of Parvi Square originally was only 1/6 of its modern size. For the first time, it changed its shape in the 17th century, expanding to the west during the construction of a shelter for foundlings and the demolition of the church of St. Christopher.

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More significant changes in the layout of the streets and squares of this part of the Ile de la Cité were carried out according to the grandiose urban planning reform of Baron Haussmann in 1865. During its formation, several quarters of medieval buildings, bounded by 14 streets, disappeared from the map of Paris.

You can get an idea of ​​the old layout of the city by marking the pavement square with lines of light gray paving stones. Among the cobblestones, there are also memorial tiles with the names of the disappeared streets and the demolished church of Saint-Etienne.

Modern size and layout

Paris in the 21st century La rue d'Arcole, La rue de la Cité and Rue du Cloître-Notre-Dame lead to Parvi Square. On the south side, Parvi Square is limited by the embankment of the channels of the Seine River. Until 1878, the square was separated from it by the old city hospital, built in the 12th century. There is a city hospital in this area even now, only it is located on the opposite side of the square in a building built in 1867-1877.

On the eastern edge of Place Parvi is one of the most famous symbols of Paris - Notre Dame Cathedral. The total dimensions of the rectangular area are 135 m in length and about 100 m in width.

Signs and monuments

In front of the portal of the cathedral, right in the cobblestone pavement in 1924, a bronze sign of the zero kilometer was embedded, from which the length of the highways diverging from the capital is calculated. One of the urban beliefs of Paris is associated with it. If you stand with one foot in the center of the sign and
turn on it around its axis by 360, then new bright prospects will open up in front of people who have fulfilled this condition in life.

This belief looks very strange if we recall the fact that it was on this place in front of the cathedral in the Middle Ages that a staircase was installed with a platform to which criminals sentenced to hanging were climbed.

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In the southwestern part of the square is the entrance to the underground archaeological crypt (Crypte Archeologique). Going down there, you can see the historical finds made on the square, fragments of Gallo-Roman buildings, the foundation of the Saint-Etienne church and the remains of the fortress walls of the 3rd century BC.

On the southern part of the square overlooking the banks of the Seine, a monument to Charlemagne was erected in 1882. The authors of the monument, the preparation of which for the opening was overshadowed by a financial scandal, were sculptors brothers Louis and Charles Rocher.

Getting there

Address: place parvis Notre-Dame - place Jean-Paul-II, Paris 75004.
Metro: Cité, Saint-Michel - Notre-Dame.
RER train: Saint-Michel - Notre-Dame.