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Île St-Louis or Montmartre

the great blight of...
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Île St-Louis or Montmartre

It has been several weeks since my last post. Three days in Paris has become five and a half. Right now we're trying to choose between apartments located on the Île St-Louis and in the Montmartre.

Both have their pros and cons. The Île St-Louis is very centrally located to major sights, beautifully set in the middle of the Seine and home to the acclaimed Berthillon. The possibility of an easy stroll to the Marais, Île de la Cité or the Quatier Latin is a major plus. However, the Île seems like it might be too austere and stiff.

Montmartre, on the other hand, appears much more lively and diverse in photographs (not to mention that it is more affordable.) The major turn-off with the Montmartre is that it is not central, with no major sights located within easy walking distance (besides Montmartre and the Sacré Cœur itself, of course.)

Would anyone with experience with staying in or visiting these districts like to give their advice?

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1. Re: Île St-Louis or Montmartre

Why does the island seem austere and stiff? You aren't going to mingle that much with the locals no matter where you stay. Take advantage of the location and make your own entertainment. It actually might be rather restful there at night, not that much traffic other than the bridges. The Ile St Louis has restaurants and shops and plenty of tourists tripping down the main street, so you aren't going to feel lonely. Besides it's only about 3 blocks walk, then you have to cross a bridge to somewhere else.

Kamloops, BC...
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2. Re: Île St-Louis or Montmartre

All else being equal, I'd take Ile St. Louis. I have always enjoyed Montmartre beause it still has some of old Paris to it, but so does the Ile, it's just usually beyond my budget.

Rumson, New Jersey
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3. Re: Île St-Louis or Montmartre

I would choose to stay on St Louis. It has great little cafes and quaint shops, as well as easy access to all. Very easy to travel to all sightseeing, or take a cruise on the Seine right from Pont Neuf.

Montmartre is exciting but no more than the LQ.


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4. Re: Île St-Louis or Montmartre

first trip I assume -- then definitely St. Louis --- we are renting in Montmartre this summer, but our first half dozen visits we stayed more central -- it is a real trip from Montmartre into the center -- you want to be able to stroll along the Seine at night etc etc -- and the Latin Quarter has the same touristy Parisian charm as Montmartre but is closer to other attractive sites

save Montmartre for next time

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5. Re: Île St-Louis or Montmartre

First of all, congratulations on switching from three days to five and a half. Those extra 36 hours will add so much to your trip. As for your question, I think staying in a place that is very central to the major attractions is a great advantage to tourists. I can't imagine choosing Montmartre, which is out of the way, over Ile St. Louis. But definitely visit Montmarte. It's very charming, and it's a place I wouldn't miss.

the great blight of...
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6. Re: Île St-Louis or Montmartre

Thanks everyone. The choice has definitely been made easier :)

Denmark, Europe
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7. Re: Île St-Louis or Montmartre

27thletter - take this from a out-and-out Montmartre fan:

Pick Ile St.Louis on your first trip (don't forget to visit the church there - and go berserk in Berthillon icecream) - it is a very charming island and it is "close" to most of the things you will be doing. And in spite of it being located in the most heavily touristy area, it is a very quiet harmonious place.

Then go and visit Montmartre, especially the quieter northern and western parts (Abbesses, Lepic, Caulaincourt, Junot).

Pick Montmartre next year.

Really it is no problem to hop on a bus in the morning and go 10 minutes "down-town". Or maybe explore the 9th arr. Nouvelle Athènes or the 17th Batignolles on the way - and take the metro from somewhere halfway.

Why this peculiar holding on to "we-want-to-be-able-to-walk-everywhere-from-the-hotel" ?? You can't walk everywhere from the hotel anyway, no matter where it is located, so always pick the hotel and quartier you fall for. Transportation in Paris is so efficient and easy to use.

Paris, France
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8. Re: Île St-Louis or Montmartre

As a Paris resident I strongly urge you to stay in the Île St. Louis, especially if it is your first time to our city. There is nothing austere about this neighbourhood, and in any event it's the size of the postage stamp so you won't have to walk far to change atmosphere!

Montmartre is like a village unto itself. Get to know Paris first - you'll be surprised how small the city is compared to other cities you may know. You will be able to go everywhere and do everything, but with a base in the centre I think you'll appreciate the experience much more.

9. Re: Île St-Louis or Montmartre

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