What's that strange symbol at the foot of Notre-Dame de Paris? (It's more important than you think!)

Tens of thousands of people walk past or on it without even paying attention, as their eyes rest directly on the striking façade of Notre Dame de Paris cathedral. And yet, right at its feet is a curious symbol, the secret of which we are going to reveal to you.

Le point zéro.

- © Doll Ink / Shutterstock
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A strange golden rose under our feet

You don't have to look up to discover this unusual curiosity. On the contrary, you should (above all) look at your feet.

On the cathedral square, the regular cobblestones take on an unusual shape. From rectangular, they become cylindrical, until they reveal a magnificent golden compass rose.

Le point zéro sur le parvis Notre-Dame de Paris

- © Francisco Duarte Mendes / Shutterstock

Ground zero for all French roads

As pretty as it is, this symbol is also useful. It is the zero point for all French roads. In other words, it is from this precise point that all distances between Paris and any destination in France are calculated, and has been for nearly 3 centuries.

This anecdote will help you to shine with your friends and family on your next visit to this Parisian landmark.

📍 Location: Notre Dame Cathedral, 6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris

👛 Admission: free

⏰ Times: The forecourt is accessible day and night. The cathedral is open Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 6.45pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 8.00am to 7.45pm.

🚌 Getting there: Bus 75, stop: Quai aux fleurs-Pont St-Louis, or metro 1 and 11, stop: Hôtel de Ville and metro 4, stop: Cité.

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