On the morning of Rosh Hashanah, five women wandered Île Saint–Louis, the original Paris, and an island that manages to hold on to that minute sense of authenticity and solitude despite the guidebooks. We had the streets to ourselves at 11am, as the shops open late a few days a week.
Real estate on Île Saint–Louis is some of the most expensive in all of Paris, and I can see why. The island feels remote, civilized, and tranquil. The home decor stores are classically chic, the art galleries are small and plentiful, and the gilded balconies and 17th century mansions are pristinely maintained. There are two lovely bookstores on the island, suggesting a literary crowd, and the quaint side streets leading to the Seine are trickled with restaurants and enchanting historic buildings. While there are sure to be tourists in the height of the season, snapping away and gorging on ice cream from the famous Berthillon, we experienced the island at its most profound. We found a cafe full of locals at St. Regis, where we indulged in foamy cappuccinos served in glass and regal tea served in a faux antique silver pitcher. If you are at all interested in interiors and antiques, I suggest Île Saint–Louis for its fine decor shops and art galleries.