One of the best thing about Paris is that she never ceased to surprise me. After numerous visits to the city of light, you think you’ve seen everything -touristy or non touristy, but there’s always a treasure hiding on every corner waiting to be discovered. Île Saint-Louis is by no means a corner; it’s actually A WHOLE ISLAND, located between the bustling Latin Quarter and Le Marais, so yeah, right in the middle of the city; and I can’t believe I’ve missed it all these years.
Most tourist (me) usually flock around Île de la Cité, the home of Notre-Dame Cathedral, and forget about the quaint little sister right next to it. I actually stumbled upon this place on a way back from another destination I want to visit. There’s only one bus stop here, though it’s also easily accessible by foot from Pont Marie from Rive Droite, Pont de la Tournelle from Rive Gauche or Pont Saint-Louis from Île de la Cité (right on the back of the Notre Dame cathedral.)
Looking back at all these photos, I still can’t believe this place exist in Paris, and right in the middle of it! Stepping inside, I felt like I have traveled through time and landed in an old and charming Parisian village, complete with antique shops, bakeries, fromageries and café looking remarkably the same as it was centuries ago. It feels like a beautiful little oasis, so detached from the whole modernity in the city and romantically frozen in the 17th century.
This island is probably most well known as home of Paris (also the world’s) best and most famous ice cream shop, Berthillon. You can find the one and only OG Berthillon cafe here, as well as many other ice cream parlours also serving this famous glace (though I recommend you to get it at the original cafe). All the creamy/sorbet flavors are rich and intense it’s out of this world.
Walking through the blocks, you’ll find many other interesting shops; a toy store, a chocolate shop, a couple of gourmet shops, florists, art galleries and more. What I love most about this neighborhood is that most of the storefronts remain like the old, traditional French style; with beautiful cursive typography and adorable window displays. And I loooove old storefronts, I just couldn’t stop taking photos guys. As much as I love Haussmanian facades and minimalist style, I’m actually a country girl at heart.
If you love historic neighborhoods and old towns or simply want to escape from all the hustle and bustle in Paris, I highly recommend you to spend an afternoon on Île Saint-Louis. For photographers, this place is a definite must when you visit Paris.
But again, the choco noir ice cream alone actually makes it worth the trip already.12