Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Ile Saint-Louis: The Other Island in the Seine


In Paris, two islands fill the Seine: Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint-Louis.  The former gets all the fame: it’s the geographical center of Paris, and today is home to Notre-Dame and Sainte-Chappelle.  No matter how you get to Paris, flying via Flybe, train, or by car, you WILL end up on Ile de la Cite at some point.

What about the other island, Ile Saint-Louis?

It has no major tourist attractions, and it’s too small to get lost in.  My previous impressions of Ile Saint-Louis were “sleepy” and “lots of old people.”

That said, on this visit to Paris, I took another look at Ile Saint-Louis to see if it had become any, well, hipper.  And, to be honest, it was pretty much the same as always.  Nice, but a bit boring.

But who needs to be hip when you have ice cream?!

Ile Saint-Louis is well-known for its ice cream — Berthillon ice cream, to be exact.  It’s the island’s most famous product and you see signs for Bethillon ice cream all over the place.  Go find the actual ice cream parlor to try it out.

Berthillon ice cream is sweet and light — a lot like Italian gelato, down to the crazy flavors.  I had framboise a la rose — raspberry with a hint of rose.

Check out some of the flavors they have!

After having ice cream, check out the stores.

If you have a fashionable guy to shop for — or, you know, are one — make sure you check out the Coton Doux.  There’s one in Ile Saint-Louis, but they’re all over Paris.  Because we visited during the soldes of January, Dave got three shirts marked way down — including one crazy one with wasps printed on it.  (“To get over your fear of wasps, you must BECOME the wasps.”)

You’ll see plenty more boutiques on Ile Saint-Louis, many selling food products and gifts.

And you just might run into someone amazingly fashionable — like the woman on her bicycle below.

I love the pops of red from her trousers, handbag and hat!  Too bad I couldn’t get a better photo than this, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually ask her to pose for me, the American tourist!

It’s a small island.  And low-key.  But definitely worth a stroll on your way to Notre-Dame.

Have you been to Ile Saint-Louis?  Share in the comments!


5 Responses to “Ile Saint-Louis: The Other Island in the Seine”
  1. Priscilla says:

    J’adore Ile St Louis! My husband’s family has been traced back to there so I make it a point to stop there on Sundays when in Paris after Notre Dame. In the past, it was one of the few areas in Paris where shops were open on Sunday. I will be highlighting some of my favs in the coming weeks.
    Berthillion icecream, I agree, is fab! I am glad to see you enjoying it at the best location.
    Can’t wait to read more of your Paris special places.

  2. Terry says:

    We rented a fabulous apartment on the Rue de Bethune for a week, covering New Years , this year. Greatest location in Paris. Easy to get to, quiet, but lots going on. We live in France part-time, but this was the best trip to Paris, ever!

  3. Ken says:

    Nice Blog. I did strolled at this wonderful island on 2009 and it’s really peaceful to walk.

  4. Anna says:

    Saint Louis is literally my favorite spot in all of Paris (where I studied abroad… and lived at Place de Breteuil in the 7th). I especially prefer the far end, away from the ice cream stand. And my favorite VIEW in Paris is, in fact, of that far, non-touristy end of the island from the northern bank of the Seine.


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