The Islands of Paris

Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris, Argenteuil

The River Seine cuts through the city of Paris like a snake, winding and curving through the land. Amidst the waters, there are actual neighborhoods that stretch on the river’s length. You’ll mostly find parks, townhouses, and historic churches, as every square meter in the city is precious real estate. Kick back at these beloved haunts once frequented by legendary artists and writers. Stroll through peaceful lanes shaded by groves of trees where you’ll find joy in watching the comings and goings on the River Seine.

Updated a year ago

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Île de la Cité (The Island of the City)

Île de la Cité

Paris, France • Recommendation • 26 July 2018

Found right at the heart of Paris, Île de la Cité is its largest and most popular island. Spend a leisurely day combing through numerous cultural landmarks, dining at chic restaurants, and taking in the River Seine. “The Island of the City” is filled with historic sites. Brave the long queues for a closer look at the Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris, a Gothic masterpiece complete with gargoyles and flying buttresses. Across the island, bask in the beautiful light tinted by stained glass windows at the Sainte-Chapelle. Here, over 1,100 colored glass panels render religious scenes from the Holy Bible. Lastly, look for the La Conciergerie (it’s just right next door), which imprisoned Queen Marie-Antoinette from 1789 to 1799 during the French Revolution.

Paris, France

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Île Saint-Louis (Saint-Louis Island)

Île Saint-Louis

Paris, France • Recommendation • 26 July 2018

Before the Revolution, you’d find the French upper-class at Île Saint-Louis, which is only a stone’s throw away from Île de la Cité. Mansions like the Hôtel des Deux-Îles rose during the reign of King Louis VIII in the 17th Century. Some of them even survived the fall of the aristocracy during the Revolution. Opt to stay at one of these luxury townhouses during your trip for a taste of modern Parisian luxury. Enjoying all Île Saint-Louis has to offer is quite easy. Chic shophouses, inviting art galleries, and charming restaurants line Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île (the island’s main thoroughfare). Hop from wildly popular dessert spots—La Charlotte de l’Isle to Berthillon to Amorino—to fuel your explorations with sweet treats!

Paris, France

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Île Louviers (Louviers Island)

Île Louviers

Paris, France • Recommendation • 26 July 2018

Just a little east of the Île Saint-Louis, a third island is hidden from plain sight. To see it, you’d have to travel back in time before 1874. The Île Louviers was once an islet used as a pasture before being leased to timber merchants for storage. Eventually, it was filled in by soil and paved by the city government, connecting it to the rest of the Fourth Arrondissement. The Pavillon de l’Arsenal is an entire museum dedicated to the founding of Paris. After exploring, cap off your museum visit with an espresso at the corner bistro, Le Sully. Île Louviers may be small, but it has something for culture geeks, poetry lovers, and comic book buffs alike. Attend a poetry festival at Le Printemps de Poètes (The Spring of Poets) or buy vintage comics at Comics Culture. You’ll find it’s the quiet corners of the city that bring the most charm.

Paris, France

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Île aux Cygnes (Isle of the Swans)

Île aux Cygnes

Boulogne-Billancourt, France • Recommendation • 26 July 2018

Travel west on the River Seine to Île aux Cygnes where those in the know go for an unhampered view of the Eiffel Tower. The La France Renaissante Monument (situated at the island’s northern tip) overlooks the river and Paris’s iconic landmark in the distance. Here, you’ll only have to share the view with a few other tourists, local joggers, and newlyweds doing photo shoots. On the other end of the island, a small replica of the Statue of Liberty looks west toward its States-side sister. There’s a climbing wall as well as some public fitness equipment under Pont de Grenelle, inviting joggers to pound pavement from one end to the other. Between the two tail-ends of the island, Île aux Cygnes is basically a long pathway flanked by a grove of trees. Benches are everywhere, so read, sketch, or write undisturbed as the River Seine drifts calmly by.

Paris, France

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Île Saint-Germain (Saint-Germain Island)

Île Saint-Germain

Boulogne-Billancourt, France • Recommendation • 26 July 2018

Life is all about suburban bliss on Île Saint-Germain. Exactly half of the island is covered in sprawling green lawns and blooming gardens. The other half has been developed into a residential area mixed in with a few office spaces toward the center of the island. There’s plenty of headroom to escape the overwhelming city life, so catch your breath. A quirky installation, a horse-riding club, and a colorful playground promise something exciting for the whole family. Commune with the ponies at Poney Club de l’Île Saint-Germain and bring a picnic with you!

Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

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Île Seguin (Seguin Island)

Île Seguin

Boulogne-Billancourt, France • Recommendation • 26 July 2018

At the foot of Île Saint-Germain, there is a revival in the works. Île Seguin is poised to become a major cultural hub in the coming years. In 2017, La Seine Musicale (a performing arts center) opened its halls to the talents of local and international performers here. Star-studded programming keeps things busy at the center. There’s always something happening, so check their website for regular updates. La Seine Musicale’s unique design is also a pleasure to behold, with the center featuring an almost disco ball-like surface that glints in the sunlight.

Boulogne-Billancourt, France

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The Island of Grand Jatte (Île de la Grande Jatte)

Île de la Grande Jatte

Argenteuil, France • Recommendation • 26 July 2018

Witness first-hand the quaint river views that inspired various Impressionist painters like Georges Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh, and Claude Monet. Île de la Grande Jatte is the iconic subject of “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Seurat. The green lawns wrapped around the island have been paved to prevent erosion, but a walk around the perimeter is still as enchanting. A satisfying array of French restaurants dot the island, perfect for when you’ve built up an appetite walking.

Hauts-de-Seine, France

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Île de Puteaux (Puteaux Island)

Île de Puteaux

Boulogne-Billancourt, France • Recommendation • 26 July 2018

Amp up your adrenaline on Île de Puteaux! Like a sports complex on steroids, the island boasts training fields and competition spaces for every kind of athlete. Swim at Palais des Sports de Puteaux, row at Cercle Nautique de France, or run at Stade Paul Bardin. There are tennis courts, a skate park, and a gymnastics center as well! Work up a sweat any way your heart desires, all while enjoying the refreshing ambiance of the River Seine.

Puteaux, France

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