Ile St Louis (4th Arrondissement) is a tiny island on the Seine River situated next to Ile de la Cité. It is named after King Louis IX of France. While the island was originally used for grazing, it has long become an address associated with the rich and famous. The likes of Chopin, Chagall, and the Rothschilds have lived on Ile St Louis. The latter family, in fact, still lives on the island’s most extravagant house.
Ile St Louis’ town houses are baroque and front elegant facades with plaques that are interesting to read – as they describe the lives and legacy of their past owners. While most of the island is residential, you’ll find several restaurants, cafés, shops, and ice cream parlors.
The main attraction on the island is the Hôtel de Lauzun, a 17th century baroque mansion that used to host a hyper-opulent salon. The Hôtel de Lauzun later became the apartment home of visionary poet Charles Baudelaire. In 1848, Théophile Gautier moved into the residence and founded a Hashish Eaters’ Club, which had among its membership the painter Eugène Delacroix and the novelist Alexandre Dumas.
The island also features the Église St Louis en L’Isle, a 16th century Catholic Church and the famous Berthillon, which is a high-end ice cream parlor – a must on a hot summer day.
While there is relatively not much to do on Ile St Louis, admiring the old architecture and picturesque quays along the Seine while eating some Grand-Marnier ice-cream may not be a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Hôtel de Lauzun
Église St Louis en L’Isle
Plaques on the facades of houses
Fisher, Robert I. C., and Fodor’s. Fodor’s France. New York: Fodor’s Travel Publications, 2007. ISBN: 1400016878.
“Île Saint-Louis.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%8Ele_Saint-Louis>
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