Surrounded by the Seine River, Ile Saint-Louis is newer than its neighbor island (Ile de la Cité), as it was created only in the 17th century. Designed by the architect Christophe Marie, Ile Saint-Louis was named after Saint-Louis (King Louis IX), who brought the relics of Christ from the Holy Land and placed them in the Sainte-Chapelle on Ile de la Cité. Elegant aristocratic mansions and narrow streets with restaurants and lovely cafés make Ile Saint-Louis one of the most romantic places in Paris.
Ile Saint-Louis has no great monuments, but it is incredibly charming and a must-see for every first trip to Paris. If you are planning your next holiday to Paris and want to know all about the best things to do, where to eat, and where to sleep, then this quick guide to Ile Saint-Louis, Paris, is for you.
Best Things to Do in Ile Saint Louis, Paris
Flâner is an art in Paris. Flâner means “to wander aimlessly through a city,” and it is a concept so French that there’s no word equivalent in English.
Enjoy Ile Saint Louis’ narrow cobblestones and elegant architecture. Spot lovely details on doors and façades. Sneak into a courtyard; Ile Saint Louis is full of surprises!
During your wanderings, don’t miss Hôtel de Lauzun (17 Quai d’Anjou). In the 19th century, the private mansion was divided into various apartments. In one of them, some of Paris’s literary elite, including Charles Baudelaire, Victor Hugo, and Honoré de Balzac, set out to explore drug-induced experiences. The building now belongs to the City of Paris, and it is usually possible to visit during the Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days).
Another building worth a stop is Hôtel Lambert (3 Quai d’Anjou), facing the Seine. This hotel was designed by the architect Louis Le Vau, who also designed the Château de Versailles, and it was briefly home to Voltaire, the famous philosopher. This private mansion, famous for its magnificent rooms and halls, was recently bought for 200 million euros with the objective of hosting a cultural foundation.
2. Visit the Church of Saint Louis-en-l’Ile
The only monument on the island, the Church of Saint-Louis-en-l’Ile, is a wonderful baroque church built between 1624 and 1726.
The church was named after King Louis IX, and much of the interior decoration was taken or destroyed in the French Revolution. The church was heavily restored and redecorated in the 19th century, but the baroque feel and look are still very present. The church’s details are impressive, with the carved wooden door and stone arches with gold.
The Church of Saint-Louis-en-l’Île is still active today and is a venue for classical music concerts. Right now (2023), the building is under restoration works, so its facade is covered with scaffolding (except for the clock tower!).
3. A picnic at Place Louis Aragon
There is nothing more Parisian than a picnic by the Seine River. On Ile Saint-Louis, Paris, one of the best spots for a picnic is Place Louis Aragon, located on the island’s point, which divides the city’s left and right banks.
Pebbled stones entirely cover this lovely square, so you won’t find any grass to sit upon. There are a couple of benches where you can sit, but my favorite spot is on one of the stairways leading down to the Seine at golden hour. Just be sure to pick up some wine from the neighboring L’Etiquette shop (10, Rue Jean du Bellay) beforehand.
The tranquil atmosphere of the square is topped by the fantastic views over the Hotel de Ville and the bridges of the Seine River in the distance.
4. A coffee break at La Brasserie de l’Isle Saint-Louis
After strolling up and down the gorgeous streets of Ile Saint-Louis, Paris, you will yearn for a coffee break. There is no better place to stop by to rest than La Brasserie Isle Saint-Louis (55 Quai de Bourbon). Founded in 1953, this historical brasserie welcomes you with the atmosphere of a traditional 1930s Parisian restaurant.
Its authentic soul, unique character, stunning view of the Panthéon in the distance, and the high-quality coffee served will make for a wonderful break. The jazz musician playing on the pedestrian bridge nearby makes the atmosphere even more magical!
5. Taste the Best Ice Cream in Paris (at Berthillon)
A must-do when in Ile Saint-Louis, Paris, is eating the delicious ice cream of Berthillon. This historic ice cream parlor is truly legendary, and everyone who comes to Paris needs to stop by at least once! A family business opened in 1954, the Berthillon serves artisan ice creams and sorbets, which are still made with natural ingredients and traditional methods.
While there are many “Berthillons” on Ile Saint Louis, number 31 is the historical address that opened in 1954. At Berthillon Ile Saint Louis, you can choose from an incredible variety of ice creams: about seventy flavors, many original and unusual! I recommend you to try Berthillon’s famous fruit sorbets, which deserve their fame.
Rue Saint-Louis-en-L’ile is the main commercial street, with many charming galleries and lovely shops. Here, you can buy colorful bouquets to decorate your Parisian apartment, antiques, paintings, or high-quality souvenirs to bring back home. L’Ettiquette offers a good selection of organic French wines.
7. The Salon Chopin
The Salon Chopin, inside the Polish Library in Paris, is the only place in France dedicated to the great Polish composer. Exiled to Paris in 1831, Frédéric Chopin lived in the French capital until his death in 1849.
In addition to the composition of world-famous polonaises, mazurkas, ballads, and waltzes, Chopin worked as a pianist at Salle Pleyel, and he was one of the most admired pedagogues in Paris at the time. Frédéric Chopin rests forever at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
The Polish Library in Paris (6 Quai d’Orléans) is a Polish cultural center of national importance and is closely associated both with the historic Great Emigration of the Polish élite to Paris in the 19th century and the formation in 1832 of the Polish Literary Society, later the Polish Historical and Literary Society.
8. Jeu de Paume
Inside the 4-star Hotel Jeu de Paume (54 Rue Saint-Louis en L’ile), guests can admire the only remaining court dedicated to the Jeu de Paume (1634) in Paris. The Jeu de Paume is a ball-and-court game, the ancestor of modern tennis. The Jeu de Paume was very fashionable at that time until 1750.
Where to Sleep in Paris – Ile Saint-Louis
In Paris, Ile Saint-Louis is usually not chosen by travelers to sleep. However, the island is super quiet, central, and it has stunning hotels perfect for a romantic getaway in Paris. There are also a number of furnished apartments where you can have a lovely stay.
1.Hotel des Deux Iles
Located at 9 Rue Saint-Louis En L’ile, the Hôtel des Deux Iles is a 3-star hotel perfect if you are looking for a luxury stay. Housed in a stunning 17th-century building, the hotel is just a 10-minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral and a 20-minute walk from the Louvre Museum.
The hotel has 17 rooms beautifully decorated with floral spray motifs and watercolors that overlook either Ile Saint-Louis’s charming streets or the inner courtyard.
A buffet breakfast is offered every morning, and you can enjoy it in your room upon request – Click here to book your stay at Hotel des Deux Iles
2.Hotel Saint Louis en L’Isle
In 75 Rue Saint-Louis en L’ile, Hotel Saint-Louis en L’Isle is a medium-range accommodation only 250 m from Notre-Dame Cathedral.
The hotel has a unique design with exposed stone walls, old terracotta, and oak beams. The buffet breakfast is served inside a wonderful stone vault.
The rooms are harmoniously decorated for a cozy atmosphere and are fully equipped with a flat-screen television, USB plugs, and powerful Wi-Fi – Click here to book your stay at Hotel Saint Louis en L’Isle
3.Hotel du Jeu de Paume
Situated at 54 Rue Saint Louis En L’Ile, Hôtel Du Jeu De Paume is a 4-star hotel perfect for a romantic getaway.
This hotel has a very special characteristic, the only court of ‘jeu de paume’ remaining in Paris, the ancestor of modern tennis. The ‘jeu the paume’ on site was built in the 17th century under the reign of King Louis XIII, who was himself a keen and enthusiastic player.
Hôtel Du Jeu De Paume is listed as a historical building, which makes it extra special! Besides 30 rooms and suites finely decorated in a contemporary style, the hotel features two apartments with multiple bedrooms and a kitchenette.
The hotel serves breakfast in the dining room, and as a guest, you can enjoy a drink in the hotel’s bar and relax in the garden – Click here to book your stay at Hotel Jeu de Paume
Where to Eat in Ile Saint-Louis
Ile Saint-Louis is mainly a residential district but boasts many restaurants that offer different cuisine, reflecting Paris’ cultural variety. Whether you prefer dining in a historical restaurant or a modern one, you will find the perfect location for you at Ile Saint-Louis.
1. Le Sorza
Le Sorza is located at 51 rue Saint Louis en L’Île and will delight you with a cozy and classic Italian atmosphere. The restaurant also has an outside area where you can enjoy food during spring and summer. Besides, it has a banquet room that can host many guests.
Le Sorza serves typical Italian cuisine, from pizza to pasta dishes; plus, you can taste traditional French appetizers. Le Sorza restaurant also offers gluten-free and vegetarian options.
The average price for the mains is €20 to €30.
2. Les Fous de l’Ile
You will find Les Fous de L’Île restaurant at 33 Rue des Deux Ponts. One of the most iconic places on Ile de Saint Louis, this centenary restaurant, recently revamped, combines today a contemporary decoration with a warm and casual atmosphere.
The service is very friendly, and the home-cooking style French cuisine is served with an original twist. The menu changes every week according to the seasons and the arrival of the produce.
The average price for the mains is €17 to €28.
3. La Brasserie de l’Isle Saint-Louis
On 55 Quai de Bourbon, La Brasserie de l’Isle Saint-Louis is one of the best restaurants to enjoy an authentic French feel. The ‘brasserie’ is a traditional French ‘brewery’, and this one is family-owned, making it extra special.
The restaurant serves tasteful French meals alongside dishes from other European culinary traditions. La Brasserie is the perfect spot to taste a choucroute, cassoulet, and jarret de porc (their historical specialties) and drink a good-quality beer.
The average price for the mains is €25 to €40.