The hilltop site of la Cité developed as a trading point in the C6th BC and was fortified by the Romans around 100 BC. The current fortification is the result of many centuries work and consists of a double ring of ramparts and 53 towers. However in 1849 it was in such a ruinous state that its destruction was ordered. A campaign to restore the monument was mounted and work began in 1853.

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