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Islands in the Seine:  A Visit to Île Saint-Louis

St. Louis Paris Island in the Seine Lined with Apartment Buildings

In the middle of Paris in the Seine River, there are two natural islands:  Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis.  The smaller island of Île Saint-Louis reminds many of a small French village that just so happens to be in the middle of the largest city in France.  In that way, Île Saint-Louis is like an getaway where you can take a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city without having to travel far.

Visiting Île Saint-Louis is easy because it is in the center of Paris connected by four bridges and close to many of the top attractions such as Notre Dame and Louvre Museum.  Whether you spend an hour or a day at Île Saint-Louis there’s plenty to do and see.  Below are some of the top things to do and places to see on the Island of Île Saint-Louis.

Taste the Bethillion Ice Cream

While at Île Saint-Louis make sure you taste the most famous product in the island- Berthillon ice cream. This unique ice cream is light and sweet plus it comes in different flavors like Ceris, pistache, reglisse and framboise. You will find Berthillon ice cream at several spots in the island.

Boutique Shopping

Make sure you enjoy some boutique shopping while at the island. There are quite a number of boutiques and art galleries that have trendy items. You might come across a unique souvenir by visiting a shop that specializes in hand crafted products. Make sure you visit the gourmet shops as well since they have so much to offer. You can head on to the bridge that joins Île Saint-Louis and Ile de la Cité. Here you can enjoy some free entertainment from street performers. You will find some amazing jazz bands and jugglers on that small bridge.

Enjoy Fine Dining

Île Saint-Louis also has many dining options especially some great restaurants . There are plenty of places to enjoy a great meal on the island especially those located close to Pont Saint Louis since that area has some of the best hotels. The options are many and so are the price ranges.  Grab a crepe as you walk along the island avenues or make a reservation at one of the many fine dining options on the Island, such as L’Orangerie or  Mon Vieil Ami that features modern Alsatian cuisine. For the more adventurous, there are several restaurants featuring cuisine and atmosphere taken from the Renaissance era in France.

Visit the St. Louis en l’Ile Church

In the 4th arrondissement of Paris you’ll find the beautiful St. Louis en l’Ile Catholic Church.  Construction on the church began in 1664 and was designed by Le Vau, the royal architect of Versailles.  The church is considered to be an excellent example of 17th-century French Baroque architecture and includes an impressive church organ.  The church is located on the famous shopping street of rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Isle so tourists who visit the area can enjoy boutique shopping on their way to see this historic monument.

Mansions on Île Saint-Louis

While in Île Saint-Louis make sure to visit some of the historic mansions on the Island. One of the most famous mansions on the island is Hôtel de Lauzun with a very distinct balcony made of wrought-iron with beautiful designs. This hotel has hosted famous people such as Théophile Gautier-the writer, and Baudelaire-the poet. The hotel has a lavish interior and has been listed as one of the historical monuments in the island.
The other historic mansions on Île Saint-Louis are Pavillon des Arbalétriers, Quai de Béthune and Hôtel Lambert. Hôtel Lambert is considered the most luxurious mansion on the island with a spending entrance that showcases the beauty of the building. Hôtel Lambert, once the home for Chopin and Voltaire, has been listed as a historical building on the island.

Where to Stay

France Homestyle has a number of vacation rentals close to Île Saint-Louis on both the Left and Right Bank.  Rue de la Montagne is a cozy one-bedroom apartment rental found in a quieter part of the Latin Quarter on the second floor of a charming 1913 building.  With views of Notre Dame and the Seine River, St. Michel Notre-Dame is two bedroom apartment within easy walking distance to both islands.  Besides being centrally located, this apartment has been completely updated and remodeled while still preserving the historic details of exposed beams, French doors and wooden shutters.  On the Right Bank on the other side of the Seine in the 4th arrondissement is St Antoine Loft is in central yet quiet and private location in an elegantly restored 17th century building.  It is a one-bedroom with room for three guests in two separate loft areas.