Paris: Staying on the Ile Saint-Louis

Ile St-Louis Paris
There's nothing quite like sleeping on the Ile St-Louis. Photo: EuroCheapo

Choosing the right area to stay in a city is a key factor in shaping a memorable visit. In Paris we have over the years opted for hotels in many different parts of the French capital. We have tried chic hotels off the Champs-Élysees and budget options around the Bastille. We know bright and airy hotels facing the Tuileries (often with a high price tag) and a feast of fabulous pensions in the Latin Quarter.

Islands in the stream

But we have long had our eye on the Ile Saint-Louis as potentially a top choice for a Paris stay. And with four days in Paris last week, we decided to splash out and enjoy a little luxury on this island in the River Seine.

The Ile Saint-Louis is one of two islands in the Seine right in the very heart of Paris, the other being the celebrated and much larger Ile de la Cité — home to Notre Dame Cathedral, beautiful Sainte Chapelle and the Palais de Justice. The Ile Saint-Louis is just a shade upstream from the Ile de la Cité and the two are linked by a bridge which, although plenty wide enough for vehicles, is open only to pedestrians and cyclists.

Hotel du Jeu de Paume Paris

Inside of the Hotel du Jeu de Paume on the Ile St-Louis. Photo © hidden europe

Two islands — two moods

The spirit and style of the Ile Saint-Louis is a world apart from the Ile de la Cité. Where the latter is a place of posh facades and grand architectural gestures, the Ile Saint-Louis offers a more intimate and homely feel. Just three streets across, space is tight on the Ile Saint-Louis — just enough to pack in all the key Parisian necessities: a first-class wine shop, a decent baker and a clutch of good cafés, restaurants and hotels. The island has more the feel of a village than other areas of central Paris.

Connections

Yet despite being in some senses withdrawn from the hustle and bustle of Paris, the Ile Saint-Louis is very accessible. From the middle of the island, it is a four-minute walk over the Pont Marie to the nearest Métro station (which is itself called “Pont Marie” and is on line 7).

Or hop over the footbridge to the Ile de la Cité for Métro line 4 (at “Cité” Métro station) or for the Hôtel Dieu entrance to the St-Michel Notre-Dame RER station. These last two stations are both about a seven-minute walk from the heart of the Ile Saint-Louis. As a bonus on the latter walk, you’ll pass Notre Dame on the way.

Hôtel du Jeu de Paume

We stayed on the Ile Saint-Louis at the Hôtel du Jeu de Paume, where architect Guy Pache has transformed a 16th-century indoor tennis court into a stylish and upmarket hotel. No, it was not cheap, but it was worth every cent. The hotel offers lavish and well-appointed public spaces for guests, in our book always the hallmark of a fine place to stay. Protected from Parisian noise, the bedrooms are a delight. It was unquestionably the best place we have stayed in Paris.

Just in case you wonder about our enthusiasm for the Jeu de Paume, we paid our way and neither asked for nor received any special treatment as travel writers. As Mr Baedeker used to nicely put it in his 19th-century guides, the quiet commendation of an establishment by a travel writer should be worth far more than any advertisement.

About the author

hiddeneurope
About the authors: Nicky and Susanne manage a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine.
Posted in: Paris Hotels
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Cheapo Comments

3 Responses to “Paris: Staying on the Ile Saint-Louis”
  • J F Nunes says:

    EuroCheapo has strayed far from its cheapo message when it sends me a reveiew of a Paris hotel charging EUR185.00 or $238.00 for one night in May for one person (Paris: Staying on the Ile Saint-Louis).
    Even half that is not for budgt travellers.
    Hereafter, confine yourselves to affordability a frugality or change your name.
    JF nunes

  • [...] Eurocheapo which always has good advice, one of the most recent being this persuasive article about staying on the Ile Saint-Louis in Paris – sounds good to [...]

  • brendo says:

    You have had a string of good pieces on Paris, but this one was really the best. Well focused on one area and the hotel mentioned, although not the cheapest (as JP Nunes remarked) is very much one of a kind. Often dubbed the best value 4 star hotel in Paris. It is so easy to spend €150 (or even much more) on humdrum one star accommodations in Paris. Move upscale just a little and you get far more for your money. More posts like this please.

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