Last night I went to a party given by a friend who lives on "the island." He comes to town every couple of months and always hosts a champagne open house in his stunning 5th-floor apartment on the quai d'Anjou of the Ile Saint-Louis.
The Ile Saint-Louis was created by a 17th-century real estate promoter that combined the islands of Ile des Vaches (named for the cattle that grazed there) and the Ile de Notre Dame. The island, now one of Paris' chicest and most expensive locations, has never been touched by the Métro system. Marble plaques on the facades indicate several illustrious past inhabitants such as Madame Curie, Charles Baudelaire and sculptor Camille Claudel.
Just 700 meters or so long, the area around Pont Saint-Louis and Pont Louis-Philippe is one of the most romantic, and in the lit-up evening, is one of the most stunning spots in all of Paris. On the Pont Saint-Louis, which is closed to traffic, musicians and street performers are a regular attraction.
One of the main highlights of the island is the glacier Raymond Berthillon (since 1954) famous for his sorbets made of the freshest and finest ingredients. Situated at 31, rue Saint-Louis-en-l'Ile, the street that runs east-west down the center of the island, is his original Salon du Thé and Take-Out window, but Berthillon brand sorbets can be had in many other vendors on the island, as well as all over Paris and France. It is not unusual to see almost every visitor to the island carrying a cone during warm days.
The Ile Saint-Louis is the number one most requested spot in Paris for those seeking short-term rental apartments. Of course, property on the island is very expensive, and difficult to find. Apartments here start at 10,000 euro per meter (about $1,090 per square foot). One two-room, 57-square-meter apartment on quai d'Orléans with a fireplace, parquet de Versailles, and a view of the Seine is advertised currently for 550,000 euro ($655,000).
Leaving the party with friends who have lived here many years, as we walked along the quai in the moonlight, we remarked that after all this time, we still felt lucky to be here. One of them told us that, after a day of difficult dealings and innumerable frustrations, he had only to step out onto the streets of the island to let all cares drift away.
For International Living in Paris
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