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Seine: Île de la Cité - Île Saint-Louis

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Hotel des Deux-Iles

ABOVE: The vaulted lounge of the Hotel des Deux-Îles, a three-star hotel on the Île Saint-Louis near the footbridge to the Île de la Cité and Notre Dame Cathedral.


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Hotels on the islands (Cité and St-Louis)

You won't find a more central location for sightseeing than the Île de la Cité (the site of Nôtre Dame Cathedral, La Conciergerie, and the church of Sainte-Chapelle). From the island, short bridges lead to the Left Bank and Right Bank, which are so close that the Left Bank's Saint-Michel Métro and RER station has entrances on both the mainland and the island.

Hotels are in short supply on the Île de la Cité. Still, if you don't mind sleeping above the sick and dying, the Hôtel-Hospitel might be worth considering. It's on the sixth floor of the oldest hospital in Paris, the Hôtel Dieu, which faces the square in front of Nôtre Dame Cathedral. The hotel's rates are fairly reasonable, and it has two rooms that are equipped for handicapped guests.

Another possibility--and one that we can personally recommend--is a stay of a week or longer in one of Glenn Cooper's holiday apartments on the rue Chanoinesse, right behind the the cathedral. For descriptions and rates, see Glenn's Rentals in Paris Web site, and be sure to read our illustrated report on "An Apartment in Paris."

Île Saint-Louis: From the Île de la Cité, a footbridge leads to the Île Saint-Louis, a small and narrow island that is one of the most exclusive residential neighborhoods in Paris. Unlike Cité, the Île Saint-Louis has a number of hotels, such as the highly-rated Hôtel de Lutèce, the cheerful Hôtel des Deux Îles, and the four-star Hôtel du Jeu de Pomme. The Hôtel Saint-Louis en l'Île is another possibility. You may also be able to find rental apartments on the island with a Google search.

  • Tip: The Île Saint-Louis is quiet at night and in the early morning, but on weekends or during peak season, the main street down the center of the island is packed with tourists and locals from other neighborhoods. The footbridge to the Île de la Cité can be almost impassable on Sundays and at other busy times when it's taken over by street performers. If you're going to stay on the Île Saint-Louis, we'd recommend coming outside of the busiest tourist months.

Transportation to the islands: From Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly Airport, or the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord, take the RER "B" line to the Saint-Michel station and exit via the stairs on Île de la Cité. From there, you can walk to your hotel or apartment.

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