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Ile Saint Louis, Paris


Most people who know Paris are familiar with the Ile de la Cite, the touristy island in the Seine which proudly holds Notre Dame and several other worthy buildings. Yet just a few steps further eastwards, there is a tiny bridge linking to an even tinier island.


The Ile St-Louis, so close to the main hubbub, somehow manages to retain a peaceful village atmosphere. A narrow street runs around its edges, and a few streets cross it, but only one, a pedestrian mall, cuts through the middle. There are several hotels on the island, including a moderately-priced four-star, Le Jeu de Paume, built on the site of a 17th century court for the playing of a precursor of tennis, and this is where I stayed.


But perhaps the greatest drawcards on this island are the restaurants and fine food shops, beckoning people from all over this food-loving city. Of all these, one stands alone, in summer sending fidgeting queues of people back up across the bridge towards Notre Dame. For at the western tip stands Berthillon. The butter-smooth confections are worth the stroll from either bank of the Seine, but add one extra dimension and quickly take your cassis or marron glace or chocolat cornet to the waterfront tip of the island where the artists and lovers are spread in the sunshine on the steps. There you can enjoy every mouthful as the Seine pleasure boats slip past.

Fun Fact: The French say that Berthillon is simply the best icecreamier in the world. Find it near the bridge that links to Ile de la Cite.

Want to know more? Read about hidden places in Paris....


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