If you are a tourist in Paris, it is easy to miss the fact that Notre Dame is built upon an island. Île de la Cité is actually the original heart of the city. Before there was a globally celebrated city with a thriving art culture and amazing historical buildings, this city used to be a simple settlement in muddy waters. The Île de la Cité is also home to the Palais de Justice, and Place Dauphine among other important buildings. It is also, technically, the center of France, and there is a bronze plaque at the point calculated to be the center. According to scholars, the majority opinion is that the Parisii, a small Gallic tribe lived on this island in 52 BC. The island has always been of importance in civic, military, and government matters. Even the distances are usually calculated from Île de la Cité. This is also one of those places where you realize its true beauty. The island is small and of a peculiar shape, and the buildings are made with this in mind. The buildings (aside from the obvious ones) aren’t too grandiose. This is Paris as it is to the people who live there, and it is beautiful.