L’Île aux Vaches: The Forgotten Island for Cows in the Center of Paris

You’ve probably heard of Île-Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité, the two iconic islands in the center of Paris. But what many people don’t know is that Paris once had several islands, most of which are now largely forgotten. One such island was the Île aux Vaches (Cow Island), a small uninhabited island once used as a cow pasture.

However, that all changed in the early 1600s when the city’s leaders decided to join Île aux Vaches to the larger Île Notre Dame as part of an urban planning project. Together, the two islands are now known as Île-Saint-Louis, an elegant neighborhood in the heart of Paris.

Today when visiting the Île-Saint-Louis, it’s hard to believe that Île-aux-Vaches ever existed. One notable reminder is L’Ilot Vache, a traditional French restaurant whose name is an homage to the forgotten island. Still, while most physical traces of the Île aux Vaches have disappeared, historical maps of the city highlight a time when cows calmly grazed in the center of Paris.

There are 16 cows hidden in this map of Paris from 1550. How many of each of the three types of cows can you find?