Today's Ile de la Cite (City Island)

Follow this link, You can find a link to a ten-minute amateur Quicktime video (14 MB) of the early history and importance of the Ile de la Cité. Be well-rested if you turn it on because this is not Academy Award-worthy stuff. It’s dry and the music in the background is too loud and does nothing to add insight.

It walks you pretty quickly (and pretty dryly) through the Roman, Carolingian, and Capetian eras as the island (and Paris by default) ebbed and flowed in importance on the continent.