Best Paris Strolls

Stroll 10: Ile Saint Louis & Vicinity

Stroll 10 Ile Saint Louis and Pont Marie

Quick Description:  Renaissance island, hip riverside park area, Arab and Architecture museums.    

Where: Island at the city’s center and nearby attractions on the Left and Right Banks. 

Start and End on the Right Bank, on Quai de l’Hotel de Ville, outside Metro station Pont Marie (#7 line). 

Duration: 1-1.5 hrs for island walk and venues; 1-1.5 hrs each for Left and Right Bank walks and venues.  Three Early Departure Options, two from the island,  before Left and Right Bank portions, the third on the Right Bank after the museums but before the riverside park.   

Best Days: Wed – Sat (Sat optimal).

Best Time to Start: 10:30am or later.

Ready to stroll?
Open this page vertically on your mobile phone and click VIEW DIRECTIONS.

Connects: by foot to Stroll 7 (Central Marais), or Stroll 8 (Southern Marais), or Stroll 9 (Western & Northern Marais), and by quick Metro rides to Stroll 5 (Palais Royal & Vicinity), or Stroll 21 (Opera-Haussmann-Saint Lazare), or Stroll 29 (The Southern Fifth). 

Past & Present:  Originally Ile Saint Louis was two uninhabited islands, Ile Notre Dame, owned by the Catholic archdiocese of Paris, and Ile aux Vaches (Isle of Cows), used for grazing.  In the early 17th century, the crown granted real estate speculators permission to fill in the gap and develop the single island as a neighborhood for the nobility and the emerging merchant class, with elegant townhouses facing the river and a central commercial street running the length.  Today it is little changed and is still an enclave of the wealthy.  However, it is also a favorite spot for locals and tourists, who can enjoy the architecture, shops, views, and peaceful ambience, as well as the famous Berthillon ice cream parlor.  In addition, the island is very near to attractions on the Left and Right Banks that warrant visits.  On the Left Bank is Institut du Monde Arabe, and on the Right Bank is Pavilion de Arsenal.  Also, the Right Bank’s lower quay opposite the island is now Parc des Rives de Seine, featuring food and entertainment venues and lounging areas in warm weather.

Attractions (in order):

(Note: “Hotel” as used here refers to “hotel particulier,” meaning a former private mansion.) 

  • Hotel de Lauzun: #17 Quai de Anjou.  17th century mansion, part of which was occupied in the 19th century by poets Charles Beaudelaire and Edmond Gaultier. The ornately carved and gilded (but unfurnished) interior is accessible only on private tours.  Check the Internet to find tour providers. 
  • Square Barye: #2 Blvd Henri IV.  Charming public park taking up the eastern tip of the island, with sculptures, shade trees and river views.  Open 24×7, free.
  • Church of Saint Louis en Ile: #19 bis Rue Saint Louis en Ile.  Church built in the 1600s and 1700s with significant artworks. Open Mon-Sat 9:30am-1pm, 2pm-7:30pm, Sun 9am-1pm, 2pm-7pm, free.
  • Shops of Ile Saint Louis: A wide variety of shops are located along the central commercial street, Rue Saint Louis en Ile.  Most shops open at 10:30am or 11am, and many are open seven days a week.   
  • Place Louis Aragon:  Secluded small square at western tip of island with lover’s lane quality and views of Ile de la Cite.
  • Bibliotheque Polonaise de Paris: #6 Quai d’Orleans.  Mansion of the Polish Historic and Literary Society, housing three small museums: Musee Mickiewicz (papers and memorabilia of 19th century Romantic era poet and playwright), Musee Biegas (sculptures and paintings by the 19th-20th century artist) and Salon Chopin (memorabilia of the famous composer, including his death mask).  Wed-Sat, 2:15pm-6pm, €5 (over 60 €2, under 18 free).
  • Institut du Monde Arabe: #1 Rue des Fosses Saint Bernard, on the Left Bank near the island.  Museum and research library of Arab history, art, science and culture set in an award-winning modern building.  Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 10am-7pm, €8 (€6 groups of 6, €4 under 26 years old).
  • Square Henri Galli: #9 Blvd Henri IV, on the Right Bank near the island.  Public park that features  stones salvaged from the Bastille.  Open 24×7, free.  
  • Pavilion de l’Arsenal: #21 Blvd Morland, on the Right Bank near the island.  Museum displaying the growth and architectural development of Paris over the ages, plus changing exhibits related to modern urban design and housing.  Tues-Sat 11am-7pm, free.
  • Parc des Rives de Seine (Seasonal):  The lower river quay of the Right Bank opposite the island has been made into a pedestrian mall and in warm weather features food and entertainment venues and lounging areas.  The scene is particularly lively at happy hour and on weekends.  (Also See “Dining Suggestions.”)

Dining Suggestions (in order):

  • Le Caveau de L’Ile, #36 Rue Saint Louis en Ile.  French cuisine.  Rustic room.  Daily 11am-3pm, Wed-Fri 2pm-7pm, Sat-Sun 11am-7pm.  Lunch prix fixe @€25-30, good prices on wine.   
  • Berthillon, #29-31 Rue Saint Louis en Ile.  Paris’s premier ice cream vendor – and this is the original location.  There may be a line.  Wed-Sun, 10am-8pm. 
  • Le Sergent Recruteur, #41 Rue Saint Louis en Ile.  Michelin starred fine dining restaurant.  French haute cuisine.  Stone walled room with sleek modern furnishings. Wed-Sat 12:30-2:30pm, 7:30pm-Midnight, Tues 7:30pm-Midnight.  Average cost @€120.  Reservations required.  
  • Chez Rene, #14 Blvd Saint Germain, on the Left Bank near the island, on the way to Instiut du Monde Arabe.  French cuisine. Traditional room, outdoor seating.  A neighborhood stalwart since 1957, and known for its version of coq au vin.  Tues-Sat Noon-2:30pm, 7pm-11pm.  Average cost @€40.  
  • Le Petit Celestin, #12 Quai des Celestins, on the Right Bank near the island, after Pavilion de l’Arsenal.  French cuisine.  Traditional room, outdoor seating.  Wed-Fri 8am-Midnight, Sat-Sun 10am-Midnight, Tues 4pm-Midnight.  Average cost @€25-40.
  • Les Nautes: #1 Quai des Celestins, on the Right Bank portion of the route, after Pavilion d’Arsenal.  Cocktail bar, with snacks and boards, as well as a music venue, named for Seine River boatmen of Roman Gaul.  Two levels: upper indoor level at Quai des Celestins; lower outdoor level on river quay that is a venue of the Parc des Rives de Seine.  Mon-Fri 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun 1pm-2am.  
  • Seasonal Café-Bars of Parc des Rives de Seine:  On the Right Bank portion of the route, near the end.  (Note, this is also near the start of the route and the First Early Departure Option, so you have different opportunities to visit.)   These casual, moderately priced, mostly outdoor venues are located on the Right Bank’s lower quay between Pont Marie and Pont Louis-Philippe.  Open May through October, they include Peniche Macournet, serving tapas, bar-b-q and salads, with jazz, Mon-Fri 5-11pm, Sat-Sun Noon-9pm; Les Marquereaux, a cocktail bar with tapas, open Wed-Fri 5pm-2am, Sat Noon-2am, Sun Noon- 9pm; and Monsieur Pelican, serving fish & chips, tartars, crepes, pizza, boards, soft drinks, beer and wine, open Sat-Sun Noon-10pm.  There also are public toilets accessible from the lower quay, under Pont Louis-Philippe.

Ready to stroll?
Open this page vertically on your mobile phone and click VIEW DIRECTIONS.


Stroll Map

Ready to stroll?
Open this page vertically on your mobile phone and click VIEW DIRECTIONS.