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Stay in Rue Cler area or on Ile St. Louis in Paris

My husband and I plan to rent an apartment in Paris for a week in late August/early September 2015 before joining the RS Loire to the South of a France tour. We are looking at either the Rue Cler or Ile St. Louis areas. It is our first time in Paris and plan to visit some of the major sites (Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tour, Versailles) but also take time to enjoy the city. We prefer to walk when it is reasonable but public transportation is an option. We also prefer quiet evenings with dinner and perhaps a concert or a walk as opposed to clubs. For those of you familiar with both areas, which would you recommend and why? Has anyone used www.homeaway.com to book apartments? If so, did you have a good experience? Thanks so much for any advice you can provide.

Posted by
2261 posts

Given a choice of the two, I'd pick Ile St. Louis. Having said that, I am more inclined personally to the 5th and perhaps 6th on that side of the river.

Posted by
2768 posts

Both great options, but I'd go Ill St Louis. More central location and I love the atmosphere there. But if you find a great hotel/rate at Rue Cler, I wouldn't hesitate to take it.

Posted by
7079 posts

I agree with Dave that given a choice of those two I would go for Ile St Louis, but my personal preference would be either the Marais area or somewhere in the 6th. I think they are both as convenient for sites as Ile St Louis but maybe a little less expensive. The area around Rue Cler is nice but not as convenient for walking to sites (other than ET of course) and not as convenient for going to Versailles or other sites outside of Paris either.

Posted by
7660 posts

We got an outstanding apartment in Rome thru HomeAway and were really pleased with them, but haven't used them for Paris.

An advantage of Ile St. Louis is the preponderance of Bertillon ice cream locations :-)

Posted by
1320 posts

I would definitely choose Ile St. Louis, very central and beautiful location.

Posted by
16894 posts

Ile St. Louis is ideally central, but not the only practical choice. If the price is reasonable, go for it.

Posted by
20483 posts

Just saw an old RS video with Rick walking through Ile St Louis with one of the local guides. The guide said, to the effect, "In my wildest dreams could I afford an apartment in this neighborhood." That kind a says it all.

Posted by
82 posts

We have stayed in both areas, most recently two weeks ago on the Ile and I would definitely go for the Ile St. Louis area (although I agree that the Marais is a wonderful alternative too).
Rue Cler has been overrun IMO by Rick Steves readers, who we would see every where we went when we were staying in that area a couple of years ago, clutching their blue and gold books...not to disparage RS who we consult on a regular basis ourselves.
Our hotel on Ile St. Louis was not horribly expensive (I think we paid about 179 euros per night, not including breakfast which we grabbed at a nearby cafe for half the hotel breakfast cost). Great central location and easy to grab the metro or RER train. Lucky you wherever you stay- enjoy!

Posted by
74 posts

I'd pick Ile de St. Louis. There you would be in walking distance of everything on the Ile de la Cite. You can go over to the Hotel de Ville and catch the 1 train to the Tuillieries and the Louvre, or walk over the left bank and take the RER to the D'Orsay or wherever else you'd like. I think you will find Ile de St. Louis quieter and less overrun by tourists than the Rue Cler.

Posted by
10403 posts

For myself it would be a no brainer. Definitely Ile St. Louis. I've stayed in the Rue Cler area (1st trip) in a hotel, two different apartments in the 5th (Latin Quarter) and just last month in an apartment in the 12th. In my opinion, Rue Cler is not central. Additionally it has been overrun with Americans. I don't want to stay anywhere that I am surrounded by English speakers. I get that at home. Particularly for a first visit, I think the 4th, 5th & 6th, as close to the river as possible, is the most central area.

I have used both Homeaway and VRBO (their sister site) to rent apartments throughout Europe and the U.S. I would definitely use both of them in the future. Most of the apartments are individually owned. Pay attention to the reviews.

I hope you enjoy Paris...my favorite city!!

Posted by
78 posts

Thank you all so much! I couldn't believe how many helpful responses I received so quickly! Ile St. Louis it is!

Posted by
11507 posts

Good choice .. as from the Ile you can easily walk to so many sites!!

Posted by
9436 posts

Exactly what Andrea, and others said. Very easy choice for me... Ile St. Louis. My favorite neighborhood in Paris. It's like a little village surrounded by the river with amazing views. The most central, heart of Paris that you can get. Easy walking to so many things.

The western end of the main street can be busy with tourists but from the middle going east on the main street is very quiet as is the entire rest of the island. If you're in the small busier section stay on a higher floor and you'll be fine.

I can't say enough good things about Ile St. Louis, it is wonderful. And for a first visit, it's the best. You will love it.

Posted by
16 posts

Definitely Ile St Louis. We have stayed in the 5th and the 6th and loved both because of their location and the interesting back streets, galleries, shops and museums. We have spent hours walking in the 4th and love it there! All 3 are much better than Rue Cler.

Posted by
16 posts

Oh yes... And last February we used VIP (Vacation In Paris) to book a lovely apartment right on the Seine. We highly recommend them.

Posted by
10344 posts

15 - 0 against Rue Rick Steves.
Shocking.
What is the Boss going to say?

Posted by
2261 posts

"What is the Boss going to say?"
To put this in current Washington parlance, I'm hoping he'll evolve on this topic ;-)

Posted by
7660 posts

If a trend away from Rue Cler is developing, then wait a few years, and people will suddenly rediscover that area :-)

Posted by
796 posts

I have stayed about 3 times in the Rue Cler neighborhood, the first being on the 7 day Paris coty tour. I enjoy it as I love the Eiffel tower, and the restaurants near and on Rue Cler. My favorite cafe is La Terrace, which is right by the Ecole Militaire Metro stop.

I have just stayed on Rue Claude Bernard in the 5th, very near the 13th and rue Mouffetard ( I move to another apt tomorrow in the 15th, very near the Champs du Mars park by the Eiffel tower, tomorrow. The rue Claude Bernard area is less expensive than rue Cler; it was fun to discover it.

I have not stayed on Ile St Louis, but it is a marvelous location. This trip I walked to the Notre Dame and arrived about 0750 when the doors first opened, WOW. That was an experience to be in the church with only a handful of tourists and locals going to a service which I observed for a while. It was one of the highlights of the trip. Notre Dame is on the neighboring island, but very near, across a tiny bridge, where there were musicians playing. There are many lovely restaurants, creperies, shops, ice cream vendors on Ile St. louis.

If you can afford it, consider Ile St. louis; when I searched vrbo to plan this trip, it was quite expensive.

Enjoy your trip. Planning is so much fun.

Posted by
9109 posts

Rue Cler has been overrun IMO by Rick Steves readers, who we would see every where we went when we were staying in that area a couple of
years ago, clutching their blue and gold books

Last time I checked Rick recommends several hotels in the Ile St. Louis area. So I guess the Blue Bookers you see there just have regular cooties whereas the Blue Bookers in the Rue Cler have mega-cooties.

In a few years when ebooks have completely taken over and you can't tell which guidebook each tourist you spot subscribes to how will you Blue Book phobics cope?? A blue booker might be standing right next to you at the breakfast buffet, spreading their cooties and this could happen:

http://tinyurl.com/p7aeza6

Posted by
5067 posts

We've stayed in both areas. Ile St. Louis if at all possible. TC

Posted by
4605 posts

Just back from my second stay on the Ile St. Louis, a very nice place to stay. Quaint streets, lots of dining choices, some big church just down the way all lit up at night, on the river. The only drawback is the hotels are converted townhouses and the rooms will be small, oddly shaped and there may not be an elevator. For instance, this was my last room - you open the door and there's a little landing with a table and chair. To the left, you take some steps down, walk down a hallway, open a door and ... there's your room! I think they probably combined 2 buildings to make the hotel so there you have it. If you're the type who just wants to sleep and shower and leave, you're fine. Anything more than that you'll go stir crazy. There are tons of tourists on the Ile but if you don't try to pet them they won't bite.

Posted by
13 posts

Two years ago we rented an apartment for one month on Ile St Louis. We are back in the same apartment right now spending another month. We love this location! The island quiets down at night and feels like a little village. There are lots of nice restaurants right on the island, as well as a beautiful church. The island is very convenient to metro and RER, but is so central that we walk almost everywhere. If you can book an apartment I would suggest doing that. I understand the hotels here on the island are charming, but tiny. We have three bakeries here, a couple of small grocery stores, cheese shops, butcher shops, etc. the Bastille market is just a short walk on Sunday or Thursday. You will live this location. I promise!

Posted by
78 posts

Thanks so much to all of you! Your recommendations made all the difference in our decision! We have just booked an apartment on Ile St. Louis for our stay in Paris and are counting the days until we can go!