Square de I'Ile-de-France in Paris

The Square de l'Ile de France is a small garden located on the Ile de la Cite island close to the Notre Dame Cathedral, and although many do not even know about it, it has a very important memorial located here.

A bit of history

It was way back in the 14th century, that the area now known as the Ile de France was just piles of rubble and other rubbish from where the Notre Dame Cathedral had been constructed on the Ile de la Cite island.
Square de I'Ile-de-France garden
It was nicknamed the la Motte-aux-Papelards, but by 1687, the area had been transformed into a garden and turned into part of the enclosure of the canons of the cathedral, yet at the time, this area was only reserved for men.

However, things changed again during the 1800s under the direction of Baron Haussmann, although what you see today is entirely different yet again, with it since been named the Square de l'Ile de France, which was first inaugurated with this name just before the start of World War I, but today it has become far more significant since.

In fact, during the years 1954 up until 1964 a memorial like a crypt was constructed underneath the square, which is called the Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation, with the top part of its low wall and roof along with its narrow entrance that can be seen from the Square of Ile de France.

About the Square de l'Ile de France today

As we just mentioned above, the Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation, which is dedicated to the 200,000 French including women, children, Jews, etc that were deported to concentration camps from France during World War II, is located within this small square in Paris.

Although the majority of this rather daunting and thought provoking memorial is underground, the top part with its low wall and narrow entrance stairs can be seen in the Square de l'Ile de France, along with red almost carved style engravings on this low wall.

This small garden on the eastern end of the Ile de la Cite island is also planted with Rose beds, and there is a plaque positioned in front of the main rose bed, which generally translates to, This rose "Resurrection" was planted on 26th April 1975 by Mrs Giscard d'Estaing in tribute to the Resistance and Deportation, for the 30th Anniversary of the Liberation of Concentration Camps.

And it is actually quite apt that the wife of a former French President, whose father died at a concentration camp in 1944, should be the person to inaugurate the rose beds in this square, which are still beautifully maintained and make the garden a lot prettier than it would do otherwise, but are of course in memory of the atrocities that took place in France during World War II.
Square de I'Ile-de-France memorial board
Square de I'Ile-de-France rose garden are

Visiting the Square de l'Ile de France

As we mentioned earlier, the Square de l'Ile de France is located on the historical Ile de la Cite behind the Notre Dame Cathedral, and located on the Eastern end of the island, it is situated by the Square Jean XXIII.

Also this small garden is positioned right at the tip of the island on the opposite end to the Square du Vert Galant, and it looks over towards the Ile Saint Louis, plus you will be pleased to know that it is also accessible to people with reduced mobility, bar the entrance by the Pont Saint Louis bridge that has stairs.

Yet, we would like to point out that this small square and garden in Paris is only normally open from around 9am through to 6pm, although at certain times it is open slightly later into the evening, plus dogs are not allowed in this square.

Now when it comes to public transport in Paris, you can walk over this part of the island via the Pont de l'Archeveche bridge from the left bank of the River Seine to the island and from this area in the 5th Arrondissement the nearest Metro station is called the Maubert - Mutualite via line 10.
Square de I'Ile-de-France tourist information board
However, you could also get the line 4 of the Metro, which stops on the Ile de la Cite island itself, and this stop is appropriately called Cite, but if you are travelling on the RER, then you would need the Saint Michel - Notre Dame station, which is also located close to other tourist attractions in Paris such as the Fontaine Saint Michel.

Alternatively, the bus lines 21, 24, 27, 38, 47, 67, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75, 76, 81, 85 and 96 along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via line lines N11, N12, N13, N14, N15, N16, N21, N22 and N24 will also get you within walking distance of this square in Paris and numerous other tourist attractions.

But if you prefer the idea of one of the hop on and hop off services that operate around the city, then the l'OpenTour tour buses have a stop very close by, as does the Batobus, which is the water bus that has one of its designated docks on the left bank of the River Seine opposite the Notre Dame Cathedral, plus there are also Velib stations for the self service bike rental scheme nearby as well.