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Apartment for a week: 5th Arr/Saint-Michel vs Ile Saint-Louis

Im planning a week long trip to Paris in October and there is a great selection of apartments in both neighborhoods. Im leaning toward Ile Saint-Louis for its charm but am wondering whether Saint-Michel has more opportunity for markets, selection of small shops, etc. I realize that as an island Ile Saint-Louis will be limited. I have no interest in high-end shopping and want to avoid tourist crowds, which I hope will have subsided by October.


Posted by
8215 posts

My favorite neighborhood in all of Paris is Ile St. Louis. We absolutely love it there. We spent a month in an apt there on our last trip, and have stayed there in a hotel before that. I've also stayed in many hotels, many times, in the 5th. Ile St. Louis is like a little village, surrounded by the river and beautiful views. Only the western end, along the main street gets crowded (in summer) with tourists from about noon-7 pm, the rest of the island is quiet and village-like. There's a really good grocery store, several bakeries, an ATM, a post office, pharmacies, produce store, butcher, flower shop, a church, an elementary school, a beautiful park at the eastern end, lots of fun little boutiques, many good restaurants and cafes, and great ice cream shops (Berthillon and Amarino).

It's a very short and easy walk from ISL to the 5th. From ISL/Ile de la Cite (where Notre Dame is) it's easy to catch a bus and there's easy metro access (Pont-Marie, Ile de la Cite, St. Michel).

There's a pedestrian bridge that goes from the back of Notre Dame to ISL, so easy walking, and lots of street entertainers perfom there day and night which is fun.

I don't know where the apt is on ISL that you're considering, but if it's not on the main street from the middle to the west end, it will be quiet.

I love the 5th, but prefer staying on ISL. The 5th, on the whole, is very busy, loud, crowded and lots of traffic.

Wherever you choose, it'll be fun. Enjoy!

Posted by
379 posts

I agree with Susan. Ile Saint-Louis is wonderful. Don't assume that because it is an island it would "limited".

Posted by
11450 posts

Pete the Ile is nice. but we are talking about splitting hairs really the distance between the two areas is nothing really.. a few minutes walk..even if you stay on the Ile and have to walk to the 5th.. its only minutes... and scenic minutes at that.. I do agree there are noisey busy areas on the 5th.. but there are quiet the specific location does matter.

I focus more on the actual apartment, the prices, the amenities I want in the apartment( washing machine, elevator, etc) etc.. both areas are lovely.

I think by end of October the main tourist crush is gone, but there are always lots of tourists in Paris.. its a year round destination for many folks.. and like minded tourists will go in off season to avoid the "tourist masses" too!