The Exact Centre Of Paris – The Point Zéro des Routes de France

Ever wondered where the exact centre of Paris is? Just outside the Notre Dame de Paris is a small bronze disc embedded in the stone. While most might walk straight over it without paying it any attention, this marker is actually quite an interesting hidden secret in Paris. The Point Zéro des Routes de France marks the exact centre of Paris, used to measure distances from the city to other places. But over time, it has also attracted a set of unusual rituals.

Sketch of the point zero des routes de france bronze marker at the Notre Dame

The marker was set in 1924, and has been used as a precise measurement point to calculate distances from Paris to other places. It was briefly removed in 1966, during the excavation of the crypt under Notre Dame square, and replaced in 1972.

To find the marker, it is located immediately in front of the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. To make things easier, try looking for a group of people huddling around one particular spot!

Rituals Of The Zero Point Of Paris

Once you’ve found the centre of Paris, there are several rituals that have been created over the years:

  • If you stand on top of the marker, and spin around in a circle on one foot, you will be granted your heart’s desire.
  • Dropping coins on top of the marker grants a wish.
  • It is also used by some as a symbolic finishing point for their trip to Paris. If you find the marker when you feel you have experienced Paris, and stand on top of it, it is said that you will always return to Paris again one day.
  • If you stand on it with your lover and kiss, your love will last forever!

So, why not try one (or all!) of these rituals – maybe the marker holds hidden powers! And if you’re interested in seeing what other interesting bronze markers are hiding away on the footpaths of Paris, why not try and track down some of the curious Arago Medallions?

***

The Point Zéro des Routes de France is a very small item to spot whilst you’re in Paris, but a nice little bit of fun to see. And with its central location (by definition!) at the Notre Dame de Paris, it’s very easy to find!

Want to discover more unusual and lesser known sights in Paris? I have the ultimate list of ‘other’ things to do in the capital right here!


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