Île St. Louis Shop Walk
Where to Start: Rue St. Louis en I'Îsle. The western tip of Île St. Louis, facing the back of the Notre Dame.
Metro: Pont Marie (cross Seine over the Pont Marie bridge) or Cité (walk past the Notre Dame across island Île de la Cité and cross the Seine at Pont St. Louis).
Time needed: 1 hour.
Highlights: Boutique shops selling clothing, scarves, handbags, gourmet food stores specializing in Olive oils, fois gras, cheeses and pastries, and the best ice cream in Paris at Berthillon.
Start - You start across from the Pont St. Louis on Rue St. Louis en I'Îsle. We'll walk down this street starting on the left side, turn around, and walk back on the right to Pont St. Louis.
Look around you. The view of the Seine with the Notre Dame in the background is stunning. The apartments over top of the shops on Rue St. Louis are some of the most expensive real estate in all of Paris. Noticing the view of the Seine from this island, you can understand why.
The Rue St. Louis en is a street that appears to be frozen in time in the late 19th century. Enjoy the mix of the modern (funky shops) and the traditional (cheese makers, butchers, and craftsmen) during this Shop Walk.
1. Rue St. Louis en I'Îsle - Left or Even-Numbered Stores
First stop, the creperie, Le Sarrasin et le Froment. Great place to pick up a snack street-side. Open late - from noon to 11:30pm.
Meliuex Voeux - Fun souvenirs, jewelery, hats, and handbags in an assortment of trendy colors.
Christian Le Lann, fromagier (#78)- You'll smell this store before you see it. An incredible selection of cheeses, jams and wines. The display of blue cheeses, such as Sainte- Mause, in the window are fascinating to look at.
L'Arche de Nôël - Charming children's toystore. Great selection of Paris related children's postcards, and french toys. The small music boxes that play French children's tunes, such as Frere Jacques, for 5 euros are a steal.
Calixte - (#64) - Great place for gourmet take-out. Wines, terrines such as terrine de poissan and terrine carnard en croute, croissants, and finger foods, such as miniture quiches. Also, pastries such as the popular Clementine chocolat (2.70 euros), white chocolate mousse with small clementine tangerines on top. Too pretty to eat. Grab a selection to nibble on and head for a bench by the Seine for a picnic.
Le Petite Scierie (#60) - Nothing but foie gras in this charming, small stone-walled shop. The wood cases that line the walls are filled with fabulous foie gras and confit de canard (preserved duck). The owners are duck specialists from Burgandy. If you've never tried foie gras this is the place to start.
Nicholas - The economical wine store chain favored by Parisians.
Xamina - (#56) - Funky boutique with scarves, purses, jewelery. We loved the grass containing bubble lamps that runs through the center of the store.
Kazam - Scarves, scarves, and more scarves. For a gift, you can create your own box of scarves by picking three for 30 euros.
Jean Paul Gardil, boucherie (#44) - Look in the window to see items that you won't find in your meat section at home. Pigeon for 12 euros, fresh ducks that they'll "de-feather" and "de-head"for you when purchased, and a multitude of hanging sausages and meats from hooks in the ceilings.
Librairie Ulysses (#26) - Famous Parisian bookstore that only carries books relating to travel.
Cross the street at Rue Poulletier. Turn back the direction you came and continue up the other side of Rue St. Louis en I'Isle (odd numbered stores).
2. Rue St. Louis en I'Isle (Odd Numbers)
L'Île aux Tresors (#23) - If you collect replicas of Parisian houses or toy soldiers, this is the store for you. The window display is entrancing, but the prices are steep.
Berthillon - Home of the best ice cream in Paris. Step inside the elegant mahoghany dining room, slide into a leather booth and order a scoop of heaven. At 33 flavors of ice cream, its hard to choose. The chocolate and caramel are so rich you'll have a hard time finishing a small scoop. Or, try the mango, the favorite of Parisians. 3.80 euros for one scoop, 5 euros for two scoops. Kid cones are 2 scoops for 4 euros. Does not accept credit cards.
If Berthillon is packed, try another café/restaurant. Virtually all the cafés on Île St. Louis sell a selection of flavors from Berthillon.
Claire de Reve - Another store that you won't find in the US - an entire shop devoted to hand-made marrionettes. The professionally made and elegantly costumed puppets are a work of art.
Blaspheme (#37) - Great fun. Funky metallic souvenirs, jewelery, sunglasses and picture frames.
L'epicerie (#57) - Cheery blue storefront full of gourmet delicacies such as jellies, preserves, and spices. A gourmet food lover's dream.
Pylones - No one who passes this shop can't look at the eye-popping items inside. Colorful cow sculptures, lamps with vibrant shades, funky pajamas, toasters and robots are a few of the ecletic items you'll find inside.
Oliviers and Co (#83) - Oils, pasta sauces and tapenades in a striking setting.
Le Grain de Sable (#78) - Romantic hats, clothing, and purses.
Stop at the end of the street - across from the walk's start.
3. Café break - Take a break outside at one of the two cafés overlooking the Pont Marie, Le Florés en Île or La Chaumiere en L'Île . At sunset, the view sun's rays reflected in the Seine, with the Notre Dame in the background, is breathtaking.
Author: Cheryl Montgomery