Metro : Pont-Marie &
Often considered the most romantic part
of Paris, the peaceful Ile St-Louis is prime strolling territory.
Unlike its larger neighbour, the Ile de la Cité, it has no
monuments or metro stations, and only a single, small museum at 6 quai
d'Orléans, devoted to the romantic Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz.
You'll find high houses on single lane streets, tree-lined quai, a
school, a church, assorted restaurants and cafés, and
interesting little shops.
For centuries, Ile St-Louis was nothing but
swampy pastureland, owned by Notre-Dame, until along came the
seventeeth-century version of a real estate developer, Christophe
Marie, who had the bright idea of filling it with elegant
mansions, so that by 1660 the island was transformed. In the 1840s, the
island became a popular Bohemian hang-out. The Club des Hachichins,
whose members included Beaudelaire, Dumas, Delacroix, and Daumier, met
every month and got high on hashish at the Hotel Lauzun, 17, quai
d'Anjou. Beaudelaire in fact lived for a while in the attic and wrote
les Fleurs du Mal here. The hotel, built in 1657, has an intact
interior, complete with splendide trompe-l'oeil decorations,
prearranged group visits are possible.
Nowadays, the island is the most covetable of the
city's addresses - you only get to have your home here if you're the
Aga Khan, the Pretender to the French throne, or an ex-grand duke of
A visit to the Ile St Louis wouldn't be complete for
most people without a visit to M. Berthillon at 31, rue St Louis en
l'ile, makers of exceptionnal fruit sorbets.
The island is particularly atmospheric in the
evening, and dinner here followed by an arm-in-arm wander along the
quais, is a must in any lovers'itinerary.