The most magical Airbnb rental in Paris: The delights of renting an apartment on Ile Saint-Louis
If Paris’ Ile Saint-Louis is good enough for former French President Georges Pompidou, then it’s good enough for me.
It is the smaller of two natural islands in the Seine – the other being the Ile de la Cité adjacent to Notre-Dame – and has proven to be a coveted nesting place, in fact, not only for the aforementioned M. Pompidou, but for a multitude of rich, famous, decadent and bohemian types over the years.
Famous residents past and present include actor Daniel Auteuil, pianist Frédéric Chopin, poet Charles Baudelaire, artist Eugène Delacroix, Baron Guy de Rothschild and painter Emile Bernard.
Ile Saint-Louis in Paris. Famous residents past and present include actor Daniel Auteuil, pianist Frédéric Chopin, poet Charles Baudelaire, artist Eugène Delacroix, Baron Guy de Rothschild and painter Emile Bernard.
And what a surprise, because this is Paris at its most intriguing, picturesque, elegant, romantic and village-like.
What it lacks in “tourist spots” it more than makes up for with cozy bars and restaurants, eye-catching shuttered houses, boutique shops – and a revered ice cream parlor.
One of the best places on the island for a bite to eat is the cozy, hipster bistro Cafe St Regis, which sits just at the end of the island overlooking a corner of Notre-Dame.
We enjoyed exploring the brunch and lunch menus (the ravioli, in particular, were superb) – and the excellent wine list by the glass.
The glacier I mentioned is none other than Berthillon.
One of the best places on the island for a bite to eat is the cozy and trendy bistro Café St Regis
Île Saint-Louis is Paris at its most intriguing, picturesque, elegant, romantic and village-like.
IT’S BUSINESS: THE BEST WAY TO REACH PARIS FROM LONDON…
If you want to arrive in Paris from London in style, look no further than Eurostar’s Business Premier service
If you want to arrive in Paris from London in style, look no further than Eurostar’s Business Premier service.
You will get large luxurious seating and a restaurant kitchen.
The menu was personally overseen by Raymond Blanc – the head chef whose dazzling skills around the stove earned him two Michelin stars at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire.
His meals for the Eurostar are excellent and it’s such a pleasure to eat a meal on a train with good cutlery.
Other features include:
- A minimum check-in time of 10 minutes, fully flexible ticket conditions and the provision of a taxi reservation service.
- Exclusive lounges in Paris, Brussels and London with free wifi, USB sockets and wireless chargers.
- Power outlets at each seat.
- Generous baggage allowance – two bags/suitcases and one carry-on.
People flock from all over the city to indulge in its delights.
But even if you don’t have a target shop or bistro in mind on the island, it’s a wonderful place to hang out. My cast and I (partner, daughter and grandmother) wandered here and there, watching passing boats, reading stories of famous residents on blue plaques and dreaming of the house or apartment we would buy if our numbers were coming in (real estate there isn’t cheap).
We also ventured further afield, with walks to the impressive Pantheon, the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens and up the river where we caught a Bateaux Mouches excursion boat. My daughter quickly fell asleep as we passed some of the most famous sites in Paris, from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre Museum.
Île Saint-Louis (to the right of this image) is the smaller of two natural islands in the Seine – the other being Île de la Cité adjacent to Notre-Dame.
Deviant is one of the best wine bars in Paris
The trendy Marais district is also a striking distance from the island. There, we bagged a prime table outside La Place Royale, where they serve top-notch coffee in silver pots.
There were no crazy parties, but Grandma babysat one night to allow for a trip to one of the best wine bars in town – Deviant, just 25 minutes by one metro ride to Poissonière.
We had a great time – the intriguing wine list is carefully curated and the atmosphere friendly – but it was definitely exciting to come back.
I got goosebumps as we crossed the river from the nearby Pont Marie metro station to our Airbnb home on the island, walking in the footsteps of poets, pianists and politicians.
As and places, it was simply magical.