Ile Saint Louis: Ice Cream Mecca in Paris

May 12, 2011

Paris

Ile Saint Louis is one of the most delightful spots in Paris with a long history of charm.  I know because we’re staying in a small apartment just off the main street, above a tiny market, around the corner from great bakery, a wine store and lots of cute shops.  This is a terrific location.

It’s only a couple of blocks any direction to the Seine and endless supply of interesting sites and spots to meander.  It is near the Marais, Place Vosges, the Latin Quarter and one of pick up spots for the Batobus, my favorite mode of transport in Paris.

Our apartment is called the Black Orchid, a mix of black and gray and bright orange décor. We rented through Guest Apartment Services, an agency that specializes in apartments on Ile Saint Louis.  We’re quite happy with the apartment, the kitchen and set up.  Had a couple of issues when we first arrived, but a team of folks from Guest Apartment Services got us fixed up promptly. That’s always a good sign to me—how an agency deals with “Issues” and this one has my thumbs up.

But back to Ile Saint Louis.

Originally the cow pasture when the city of Paris was located on the neighboring island, Ile de la Cite’ where tourists go to see Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle. T he latter is the go to spot to see  the most amazing stain glass windows and attend great concerts. Read about the concerts here.

Both are on every “must see” list for tourists visiting Paris.

Sadly, the old town was torn down during the Haussman era of Urban Planning so the winding streets of old Paris no longer exist on Ile de la Cite.  To experience them you need to head to the Marais. To read about the Marais click here.

 

But, the former cow pasture slowly morphed into recreation area and home to the wealthiest of Parisians and is a delightful destination today.  In fact, the first indoor tennis court was built here for the king during the 1600s.  It still stands and is now a hotel—Hotel du Jeu de Paume.  We stayed in it once.  Quite lovely and fun to imagine a king batting balls about.  Wonder what he wore.

 

People gather on the bridges and the areas around the island for cocktail parties, guitar playing, chatting and enjoying the amazing views.  I particularly like the view of Notre Dame.

 

 

Probably the most amusing thing to me though is the ice cream. This part of Paris is Mecca for ice cream lovers.  It started because a small shop named Berthillon got the reputation for having the best ice cream in Paris. Locals and visitors of all ages flocked here en masse. Soon Berthillon expanded and opened more shops to meet the demand.

And other ice cream shops opened to take advantage of the trade.  Now…..it feels like an ice cream shop has popped up on every corner. You see a plethora of  happy people strolling up and down the ancient main street  licking their multi-colored  ice cream cones.

Expect to see lots of cute shops, some nice outdoor spots for sitting, a great view of Notre Dame and access to the plazas around the Seine.

A favorite shop is Pylones for funny little gadgets, gifts and toys.  I love the   gifts and little items to amuse my friends.  On this trip we discovered the cute shop selling biscuits and candies.  Perfect for a little snack in our apartment.  And I have often found scarves or little accessories in the tiny shops along the main street.

It’s perfect for a break from the hundreds of museums, tourist venues and cathedral gawking. I’m happy to be calling Ile Saint Louis home for a moment in time.

 

, , ,

About Susan J. Smith

Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

View all posts by Susan J. Smith

Subscribe to DesignDestinations

Have DesignDestinations delivered directly to your inbox. Don't worry, we don't share your email.

9 Responses to “Ile Saint Louis: Ice Cream Mecca in Paris”

  1. Ann Stevenson Says:

    I feel like I am on vacation with you!

    Reply

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Wish you were here!

    Reply

  3. Marie Preston Says:

    Susan, you are in my favorite city, looking at one of my favorite “monuments”: Notre Dame . . . everyone of your pictures brings a delightful memory. I have told people exactly what you are saying in both blog entries, that if you do nothing but stroll the streets of Paris with you eyes and heart open it would be enough. We have been twice to a Guy Savoy restaurant called Les Bouquinistes (the booksellers), right on the Seine near Pont Neuf. It is small, friendly, welcoming, with delicious food.
    Bon Voyage . . . Marie

    Reply

  4. Anonymous Says:

     Oh, thanks for the great tip.  Will try to get there before we leave.  Sounds terrific and very close to where we are. I so appreciate any suggestions based on personal experience. Isn’t it fun to have a favorite haunt to return to as well as see new sites? 

    Reply

  5. Kate D. Says:

    That last photo is an optical illusion! I loved this post, Susan – fun and pretty all at once.

    Reply

  6. bethany Says:

    Great pics! Love the accordion player!

    Reply

  7. Bjrohwer Says:

    Susan, you and Jack live this quote by St. Augustine – “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page”.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New York Discoveries | DesignDestinations - May 8, 2012

    [...] I went in search of the Oyster Bar that is in every guide book and, on the way, happened upon a Pylones.  Whoooo.  This is a small chain of stores I always visit when in Paris.  How fun that they have [...]

  2. Paris Restaurant Recommendations | DesignDestinations - April 14, 2014

    […]  We’ve enjoyed a couple of different spots on Ille Sainte Louis or over in the Marais.  You might take yourself there and see what looks […]

Leave a Reply