Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ile Saint-Louis - back after 2 years


No, I haven't been back to Paris, well only in my mind. But as I was writing up a Paris homesickness post at synch-ro-ni-zing, it became evident that I needed to revisit this space. I had run out of digital photos to post, but I still have unposted film images, so let's see how far I can get from two visits captured on film.

In 2003 Don posed on the Pont de la Tournelle above, with the Notre Dame sitting atop Ile de la Cité, one of the two islands that float in the Seine like ships. The smaller island at the stern of Ile de la Cité is Ile Saint-Louis, behind Don out of view. See "Don is here" in the map, below. If you look at the Paris map at the top of my sidebar, the 
islands are on the blue Seine river line just between the 4th and 5th arrondisements.


With its one central street - rue St-Louis en Ile - two streets on either coast, and a
few streets perpendicular to them, there is a compactness about Ile Saint-Louis
that could feel claustrophobic - or cozy. I choose the latter. We stayed on this island
in an old, historic apartment. My only complaints were the darkness in the apartment,
due to the narrow streets with high buildings, and how expensive the shops were,
including grocery stores. But it was handy to be anchored in the center of the city 
in our lodging.

One aspect of apartment rental that's wonderful (besides being more economical
than a hotel) is meeting the owner, which we did, over wine at his place, also on 
the island. He is a geriatrics doctor on the staff at Hôtel-Dieu, the oldest hospital in Paris (founded 651!), on Ile de la Cité next to the Notre Dame cathedral. But our host had already gone beyond normal landlord hospitality and rather than just give us a key at a local watering hole when we arrived, he picked us up at the airport and drove us into the city (Don's first time in Paris) along the Champs-Élysées, just for the fun of it! (In my seven trips to Paris, I have had far more pleasant human encounters with the French than unpleasant.)

our host, with Don

rue St-Louis en Ile:

These two views, below, are of the Ile de la Cité, from Ile Saint-Louis. I believe the bridge in the first is Pont d'Arcole.

I took black and white film with us on this trip 
because I'm drawn to black and white images of Paris.

On my second Paris trip (first one I was 19 on study abroad in 1975) with my sister Nancy in 1997, we ate a couple of times at Brasserie de Isle St-Louis with its famous stork.

Even an omelette in Paris tastes like food for the gods.
We like the waiters here, who act like gods and have been around forever and whom I recognized on later trips.

Now that I've taken a few loved ones to Paris, planning the itinerary is a real pleasure. I always plan to arrive on Saturday, then spend Sunday, the first real day out, on the islands that float in the middle of the city, then branch out like spokes the rest of the week. A small chamber concert in the Sainte Chapelle in the evening is a perfect ending to Day 1 - its effect is like a lullaby. 

I'll post more about Day 1 next week.

Day 1 of a week in Paris - Sunday
The IslandsIle de la Cité - Ile Saint-Louis 
  • Breakfast: Hotel? (not sure if la patisserie is open Sundays)
  • Notre Dame; tour and climb tower
  • Place Louis-Lepine - bird and flower market
  • Sainte Chapelle; tour and purchase billets for evening concert
  • LunchBrasserie de Isle St-Louis -- Look for the stork!
  • Walk Isle St-Louis; ice cream at Berthillion; Square Barye
  • Supper: Sandwich or omelette?
  • Evening concert at Sainte Chapelle

this photo of Brasserie de Isle St-Louis taken by Donica Detamore


jiva said...

OMG! I can't believe it! I was really shocked out of my socks when I clicked on your Paris site and saw this entry today... what a pleasure. You have reinvigorated the blog with these current words and more pics. Thanks Ruth, you are a gem!

Ruth said...

Jiva, I thought you might be! It's great to have someone who actually noticed!!

Ann said...

Oh the city of Love.
I haven't been there, and I don't think I will ever go there as it is too expensive.
This weekend, there is going a TV movie on Marie Antonette, and I must watch that.

Ruth said...

Ann, it's hard when you have to travel so far. I want to go to India, but it is too expensive. I have to save for years. I saw the non-TV movie Marie Antoinette with Dunst, and it was very good.

Susan said...

I know where I'll be spending a lot of time the next few weeks! Learning about Paris!

What a wonderful tour guide you would be, Ruthie! I would love to go to Paris with you and to Florence with my friend Lynn. Do you know where I could find a pot of gold?

Anet said...

Wonderful Ruth. The black and white photos are fabulous!

mystic rose said...

I visited this blog before :).

you were obviously a very talented photographer even back then.
you look very chic. very 'au francais' :)

Oliag said...

Thank you Thank you for this!

I was fortunate to get the chance to visit Paris when my daughter studied abroad in France for a family had many adventures and I would love to go back...if I ever do I will certainly ask for your travel advice!

Ingrid said...

How wonderful to revisit Paris via your pictures! Thank you!

C.M. Jackson said...

Tres bien!! I look forward to more

Dakota Bear said...

Thank you for the journey.

Donica said...

It is great to see you in Paris again! Maybe we can find a way to connect there again!!

Peter said...

What a nice reading! I love to hear people loving the city I love! So happy the you re-opened this blog, which I have of course visited before!
(I think it's rather the Pont Marie! :-))

CottageGirl said...

I hear the little accordions in the background.
(I'm sure I'm dating myself!...Not that I have been there...but I associate the little sidewalk cafes with laughing and loving while an accordion plays softly in the background.)
I love this site, Ruth!
Great advise, GREAT pics!
You're amazing, Ruth!

Ruth said...

Let's go, Susie!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Anet!

Ruth said...

Mystic, merci! :D

Ruth said...

D'accord, Oliag! I'll be waiting.

In the meantime, it would be great to hear about those adventures at your blog!

Ruth said...

Oh bien, Ingrid!

Ruth said...

Merci, C.M.!

Ruth said...

De rien, Dakota Bear.

Ruth said...

Oh, Donica, what a dream! I can imagine it so well. Maybe because I've been there with you . . .twice!

Ruth said...

Merci, merci, dear Peter! And good to know it's Pont Marie - I trust your accuracy utterly. :)

Ruth said...

CottageGirl, well, Paris dates itself, because they still use those accordions for marketing, you know? It's just so Parisian.

I'm so glad you enjoy my little Paris wormhole. :)

dutchbaby said...

Dear Ruth,
My goodness, I've been busy this past week and look at all that's happened in synchronicity land! Isn't it wonderful how a trip can have so many layers? First the planning and anticipation, then excitement of the trip itself, followed by the reflections shortly after a trip, and now the reminiscing blurring some details yet clarifying other aspects of the trip.

Your photos are wondrous and I love your method of starting at the center and then branching out radially.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, I enjoy the planning almost as much as being there - all visualization.

Thank you so much for sharing my pleasure!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth what a pleasure to see Paris through your adventures..... I love the black and whites... leaves more to the imagination and a sense of mystery.. No wonder you want to go back ...

Ruth said...

Gwen, it's the mysteries that we've discovered, and the ones we haven't, that keep me wanting to go back. You are right. And the beauty. "Beautiful mystery" - that's a David Mead phrase.