The Ile St Louis is particularly beautiful in the winter, more so than in the summer in my opinion. The pale grey and white of the buildings and shutters blends with the grey Parisian skies, and is punctuated here and there by flowers, the black outline of a tree, or a few remaining yellow leaves. Much quieter than in the summer months, you can get a taste of how life used to be here in days gone by.
The Ile St Louis is the smaller of the two islands on the Seine in the heart of the city, and really feels like a separate small town. In fact those who lived there used to say that they were going to Paris, the mainland or even the continent when they left and crossed the bridges into the city. One of the oldest preserved sections of the city (and now boasting some of the most expensive real estate around), the island is filled with magnificent 17th century townhouses, many concealing beautiful courtyards and bearing plaques telling the stories of the nobles and famous residents who once lived there. One main street bisects the island and is filled with shops and cafés, the most famous of course being Berthillon, the ice cream parlour that brings people flocking here in the summer.
If you have a chance, go for a wander around the island. You can take a bottle of wine, buy a baguette and some cheese from the wonderful shop on the rue St Louis en l’Ile and eat it down by the riverside, followed by an ice cream and a stroll through the quiet streets.
- Ile St Louis, 75004 Paris. metro: Sully Morland or Pont Marie