An Island Surrounded by Ice Cream (Tourists take a Licking)

Ile Saint Louis in Paris

We have arrived in Paris! (For those who are new to this blog, in August, 2009, I came on vacation to Paris with my estranged husband and boyfriend. But thanks to Paris, he is no longer estranged. So I will refer to him as my No Longer Estranged husband.)

map of Ile Saint Louis

Our apartment is on the magnificent Ile Saint Louis—a tiny island that was once a swamp, located across the bridge from its larger sister island, Ile de la Cite where Notre Dame Cathedral dominates the landscape. Rick Steves’ Paris writes about Ile Saint Louis: “If the Ile de la Cite is a tug laden with the history of Paris, it is towing this classy little residential dingy laden only with high-rent apartments, boutiques, characteristic restaurants and famous sorbet shops.”
sundae at the Cafe Chaumier
Ile Saint Louis is so tiny that we can walk around the entire island in 20 minutes. Four bridges connect the isle with the Left Bank, the Right Bank, and Ile de la City. The many cheese shops, wine stores, clothing boutiques, butchers, gourmet food stores, gift stores and ice cream shops lining the streets make it feel like a quaint village more than a city neighborhood.

Berthillon—the most famous name in French ice cream is on our block known for its constant line of patrons waiting to sample its specialties: chocolat blanc, chocolat noir and vanille made from vanilla beans from Madagascar. The island is surrounded with ice cream shops–three Berthillon locations plus cafes selling Berthillon glace and sorbet. For gelato lovers, Amorino Gelato caters to their tastebuds.

One of the first things I noticed after the shuttle dropped us at our apartment was people, young and old, walking down the sidewalk brandishing ice cream cones, stopping periodically to gaze in shop windows and lick, before proceeding ahead. Several times, I nearly received an ice cream cone in the chest as tourists walk down the sidewalk full speed ahead without regard to the ice creamless pedestrians in front of them.

What is a visitor on the Ile Saint Louis to do? The weather is perfect for walking, the sun peeks through a cloudy haze, and Berthillon beckons.

2 comments to An Island Surrounded by Ice Cream (Tourists take a Licking)

  • Zut alors! Could there be a better landing place for you and the No Longer Estranged Husband (if he was a rapper, his name would be NoLo the S-Hub) than an island of ice cream and gelato shops? Thanks for sharing this, and we would love to hear more about your flavor choices throughout the trip.


  • Susan

    I love hearing about your adventures on the Ile Saint Louis. I have never been in Paris in the summer. It has always been way too cold to even consider ice cream. We are hoping to visit this time next year to celebrate Kara’s high school graduation. I will look to your blog for a preview.

    Thanks, as always, for the evocoative observations about my favorite city.