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.