Bronze Star – Ile de la Cité

The Bronze Star is a milestone embedded in 1924 in the paving stones of Notre-Dame Cathedral square, about 50m from the main facade.

Bronze Star - Notre-Dame Cathedral
Bronze Star – Notre-Dame Cathedral

It marks the Kilometre Zero, the reference marker from where all road distances from Paris to the other French cities are calculated.

The circular stone slab is divided in four quarters that encompass a central bronze medallion shaped like a wind rose.

Each quarter bears the following inscriptions in upper case:

POINT – ZERO – DES ROUTES – DE FRANCE (starting point of the roads of France)

It was removed in 1966 before the construction of an underground car park that was never built; excavations indeed unearthed the antic foundations of the Ile de la Cité!

This major archaeological and historical site was converted into an on-site museum Crypte Archéologique du Parvis Notre-Dame.

Medieval Echelle de Justice

The Bronze Star replaces the old wooden post installed in 1769 on the site of the Échelle de Justice, the gallows of the Archdiocese of Paris.

The convicts were led to the foot of the gallows to make amends and hear their sentence.

Humbly dressed in a simple shirt, they held a candle and wore a board attached to their chest and inscribed with their misdeeds.

They ritually knelt and publicly confessed their crimes before begging absolution of their sins.

This gallows also served as a pillory and the unfortunate who were sentenced to death had a rope tied around the neck.

The Echelle de Justice was definitively replaced with stocks after a royal decree of 1767, and its place was initially marked with a stone in 1786.

Directions: 4th District
Metro Station: Cité on Line 4
Coordinates: Lat 48.853414 – Long 2.348875

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