While Notre Dame Cathedral on Île de la Cité attracts the tourists, next-door Île Saint Louis is more of a charming quiet neighborhood where understated shops and restaurants flourish.
The island in the 4th arrondissement of Paris was named after Saint King Louis IX in 1725, one of the most well known Kings of France and famous saints, several centuries after his death.
He was sanctified for having bought the relics of Jesus from the Holy Land and Constantinople, which he placed in the Sainte Chapelle on Ile de la Cité nearby.
Many of the medieval buildings were renovated in the 19th century under Baron Haussmann and Emperor Napoleon III. Rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île is the main commercial street of the island, with a lot of charming galleries and shops.
However most of Ile Saint Louis’s centuries-old buildings are private residences. This area has the highest priced luxury real estate in all of Paris.
And that doesn’t include the fact that the island in the center of Paris is sometimes prone to flooding when the Seine river rises. So let’s see the top things to see and do on Ile Saint Louis, shall we? Allons-y!
1. Bertillon’s ice cream
The biggest attraction on Île Saint Louis has to be Bertillon’s ice cream which have both the locals and tourists flocking.
What gelato is to Italy, Bertillons is to France. One of their original locations is on the Ile Saint Louis in the center of Paris, but there are certain restaurants that serve it as well in the Marais.
2. Church of Saint-Louis-en-l’Île
Built between 1664-1726, the Church of Saint-Louis-en-l’Île is the only church on Ile-Saint-Louis in the center of Paris. The church is in the French baroque style of architecture, with plenty of gold and white.
Pope Pius VII celebrated mass here in 1805, during his trip to Paris for the Coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte (who was crowned at Notre Dame de Paris).
3. Square Barye and Point de Seine
At the east end of Ile Saint Louis is a small beautiful park called Square Barye. It takes its name from the 19th-century French sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye, who specialized in sculpture of animals.
It is built with a high retaining wall due to flooding, and below it on the tip is quai of the Point de Seine.
It is a wonderful area to have a picnic, within the hustle and bustle of the busy city all around.
4. Hotel de Lauzun
Built in 1658, the Hôtel de Lauzun is a hotel particulier, or private mansion. It is famous for being among the few Parisian mansions that retain their rich carved and painted interiors from the time of Sun King Louis XIV. During the 1789 French revolution many of these hotel particuliers were ransacked and destroyed, as the nobility lost their heads.
But Hotel de Lauzun survived, and was later inhabited in the 19th century by famous French poets Charles Baudelaire and Théophile Gautier. It was also here that the Haschischins club met, frequented by famous scientists and writers of the day.
Nearby is Hotel Lambert, which was one of the premier hotel particuliers on Ile Saint Louis. However Hotel Lambert contains private residences and is not open to the public. Hotel de Lauzun, on the other hand, is open under reservation with a guided tour.
Restaurants and cafés
There are several lovely restaurants and cafés on Ile Saint Louis, with all the charm of the ancien. Some recommended restaurants are:
- Les Fous de l’Île – traditional French restaurant at 33 Rue des Deux Ponts, 75004 Paris.
- Le Saint-Regis – lively brasserie at 6 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004 Paris.
- Aux Anysetiers Du Roy – 17th century historic restaurant at 61 Rue Saint-Louis en L’Ile, 75004 Paris
There are no late night clubs on Ile Saint Louis, so you can find more nightlife options in Paris here.
Hotels and accommodation
If you want to stay in the heart of Paris on Ile Saint Louis, some recommended hotels are:
- €€€ – Hotel Saint-Louis en L’Isle
- €€€€ – Hôtel Du Jeu De Paume
You can find more places to stay in Paris here.
If you enjoyed that article, you may like to read more about what to do in Paris. A bientôt!