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help me choose between Marais or Ile Saint Louis apartment

help me choose between Marais or Ile Saint Louis apartment

Nov 18th, 2008, 01:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 32
help me choose between Marais or Ile Saint Louis apartment

I've reached a state of paralysis in deciding between a few apartments as a first-timer to Paris this December. I know I can't go wrong between the two but thought I would check with the experts on the board for any votes one way or the other.

The main thing I'm trying to decide is whether it's worth the premium to stay on Ile Saint Louis given that the apartments themselves are essentially comparable. Any thoughts on this matter?

Thank you in advance for your help, and any feedback to sway my decision one way or the other!

SAINT LOUIS - 1263 euros per week
Street address: 12 Rue des Deux Ponts

MARAIS - 990 euros per week
Street address: Rue des Tournelles
uahoops is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 01:52 AM
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I love staying on the Ile St Louis because I am crave quiet, which is hard to come by in Paris. That said, the Rue des Deux Ponts is the one road on the ile that is a transit road for car traffic going from the right bank to the left, and vice versa, (That's what those two bridges are for!) so you won't get the full benefit of that. Also, for a first timer, you might enjoy a greater density of restaurants and casual, non-touristy cafes in that Marais location -- which is a beautiful apartment, and the Place des Vosges is lovely.

About the only thing that would tilt me away from the Marais apartment in December if it is inconvenient to a Metro stop. (There is one just steps from the Rue des Deux Ponts.) In December, it is nice to know that if it is freezing, wet or snowy, you only need to walk a few steps to get underground.

My favorite thing to do on Ile St Louis is to have a nice steaming cup of what is my favorite hot chocolate in all of Paris, better than the famous ones as far as I'm concerned. And you enjoy a legendary view of the back of Notre Dame. You can do that without paying the premium to stay on the ile.

zeppole is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 01:54 AM
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I forgot to include the name of the cafe for the hot chocolate:

Le Flore en'Ile

zeppole is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 02:05 AM
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If it were me, and money was no object, I'd pick the Ile St Louis one. I just like the style. I also like the location and the style of the two islands. And I like being on the water. And it's close to the Marais AND the Left Bank.
sheila is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 06:59 AM
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One difference you must have noticed, the Marais apartment is on the 4th (American) floor and a walk up and the Ile St. Louis apartment is on the 2nd (American floor) with an elevator. You might ask for references and email one or two others who have recently stayed in the apartments and make a final choice based on service etc. from the agency.
laurie_ann is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 07:04 AM
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I'd take whichever one is close to a metro station and a supermarket/grocery store as it will probably be freezing cold in December. For me those two things are important when renting an apartment. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 07:10 AM
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I like them both and wouldn't mind the stairs but if you do, please note the Marais apartment is a 4th floor (3rd parisian) walkup.

These both look nice! Have a great trip. Please post back whatever you decide.
Leely2 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 07:13 AM
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Guenmai makes a good point about the grocery store. My recollection is that there is only one small grocery store on the ile, mostly selling dry goods. Most of the time in Paris I don't cook -- just stock up on laundry soap and milk, etc, when I arrive -- but if you are looking forward to making real meals and need ingredients nearby, the ile is rather thin on that sort of thing.

You don't say when you are going in December, but if it's Christmas, that one store might be closed. I would certainly ask questions of the owners about how many meters it is to food stores and when they are closed.

zeppole is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 07:41 AM
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I like both apartments with the Marais one having a slight edge because of it's size and appearance. I realize that the stairs may be a disadvantage there, but the Metro, while not close, is not really that far away. Last December, it was in the 30s and low 40s every day. Depending where you're traveling from, that may be cold or temperate to you.

That said, the one on the Ile is more central and charming for a first time visit. I wouldn't be concerned about noise--the apartment faces onto the courtyard. You are close to both the left and right banks and will have no problem finding food stores, even on Christmas if that's when you're there. You'll be able to walk to many attractions.

You won't go wrong whatever your choice.
cw is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 08:08 AM
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I didn't think about the weather factor at all in terms of proximity to a Metro stop. We're from Arizona so additional walking in 30-40 degree weather would definitely make a difference to us!

But in terms of the Pont Marie metro stop, is it a good one for flexibility to get to all the different areas of the city that first-timers like us would be looking to visit? And how would Pont Marie compare to the Bastille stop? It looks as though both apartments I'm considering are pretty much equidistant to metro stops.

Zeppole, thank you for the cafe recommendation that sounds great. I know there are just a few boulangeries on the island, can anyone tell me which the best one is?

uahoops is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 08:12 AM
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Pont Marie is only served by Line 7 of the metro.

You should look into taking buses. We did this for the first time on our Sept 08 trip and I was wondering why I hadn't use the bus on my previous visits to Paris!!! The buses go everywhere, minimize walking, minimize changes, and you get to sightsee on the bus!

www.ratp.fr is an excellent website, and there's an interactive map which you can select the bus lines only and see which buses run near your apartment and see where they go!
yk is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 08:34 AM
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Except for the 4th floor walk-up part, I would choose the Marais apt. It's close to both the Bastille and Chemin Vert metro stops, and all the buses that run around the Bastille and on rue St. Antoine. There is likely to be more shopping available, too, on Blvds. Beaumarchais and Richard Lenoir, and the rue St. Antoine. It's on a quiet street very near the lovely Place des Vosges.

It's hard dragging oneself up stairs after a full day of sightseeing. Given the weather, however, you might not be trekking around the whole city, and the apt. pix look nice.

Enjoy! You will love Paris...
melissa19 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 08:51 AM
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Whichever apartment you rent, at those prices, your hotel concierge or owner should and no doubt will provide you with an up-to-date list of the amenities of the area. Last time I stayed on the Ile St Louis, there seemed to be a fierce difference of opinion about whose bread was better. I think there were only 2 boulangeries on the Ile at that time, so it was easy to decide for onself. (Generally, I just lived off pain au chocolate from the cafe).

The Paris metro is built on the concept of circles and spokes, so my experience of touristing there and living there that all you really need is one Metro stop -- but it's always great to have more. In addition, although we are all advising you to think of worst case scenarios, you may find the weather is nice and dry enough -- if snappy -- to walk most everywhere, and ile st louis is great for that.

I live on the Italian Riviera, and before that I lived in New York City and in a 3 story house, so I think 4 flights off stairs is NOTHING. Yes, you'll have to get your luggage up there. Once. Pack light. You'l have a washing machine.

Sorry there is no one answer -- but I think as you said before, I really doubt you'll find yourself looking back with regret with either choice. Those are very nice apartments, and Paris is well-organized for urban living.
zeppole is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 09:28 AM
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As Zeppole writes, there is no one answer. I have stayed in hotels very close to both of those locations. In great weather if you plan to do a lot of walking, the Ile might be best as you can easily walk to locations on both the Left and Right banks. But if it is nasty, I think the Marais apt gets the edge for its proximity to subway lines.

When I stayed in a hotel on the Ile two years ago, I found myself walking to the supermarkets near the St. Paul Metro stop for many basics..food shopping on the Ile is limited and basics command top dollar, or is it top euro?

You also have many more good places to eat near the Marais apt.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 10:59 AM
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We've stayed in and like both areas. I would choose Ile St-Louis, which is quite near metro stops itself, including Hotel De Ville, Pont Marie and St. Paul. Very charming, normally quiet, with good restaurants on the island itself and steps away on the left bank. Beautiful architecture and island views of concergerie, Notre Dame, river. Moisture coming off river may make it seem colder.

Marais is edgy/forward and appeals to a youngish crowd. Throngs in the streets on weekends.

Enjoy your trip.
hmmm is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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Uahoops...You're from Arizona? OK. I'm from L.A.County and I don't do well in cold weather. Paris is cold at certain times of the year! My Parisian, male friend, just flew back to PAris last Monday. He flew over, at the end of October, to stay with me for nearly two weeks and soak up this gorgeous 80-degree plus weather. He said he was sick and tired of the cold in Paris before he left. He's born and raised there. He didn't want to leave this weather.

I was in Paris, in the spring, as I usually am. It was the end of March and it was cold. I didn't even want to walk the two short blocks to the big supermarket in my neighborhood, but of course did. It took my body about 3 days to adjust a little. However, that's the only time I had for my Paris vacation this past spring. I usually try to go in April.
So, one must think of these things...like metro location, and supermarket/grocery store location. I've been vacationing in Paris, almost annually, since the mid 70s...so I know where to find food close by to where I'm staying. Also a closeby laundromat can help if one wants to use a clothes dryer. Clothes don't dry too fast in cold weather and most apartments don't have dryers. It takes jeans forever to dry. I lived in Denmark, for 20-plus years of summers, when it's usually cold, rainy, and damp, but there was a dryer and a drying room in my buiding. How long will you be in Paris?
So, the Ile St.Louis is very nice, but I would probably go with the Marais location as it might be closer to services. I personally stay in the 6th where everything is easily available basically at my fingertips. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 12:48 PM
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Both of those apartments are gorgeous! I'd have a hard time deciding too.

Make sure you know the payment terms for both... you may have hidden fees that you aren't aware of.

I stayed in the marais and loved it, but I really enjoyed my visit on Ile Saint Louis too. I don't think you can go wrong with either

Have a great trip!
Ruby99 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 949

We actually stayed in a apartment on that exact street in Ile Saint Louis, but a couple buildings over. It was our second visit, and although the apartment was pricey, it was a fantastic location. We went in May, so we didn't have to worry about the cold factor. You are really close to Pont Marie, but was yk pointed out it's very limited.

Can't beat the location, and we loved having to choose between Berhillion, Amorino, or crepes for dessert everynight - we went to the creperie down the road which has a take-out counter. Berthillion is literally 15 seconds away from rue des duex ponts.

If you want, I'll post a link to my trip report, and you can read all the bits about the Island, and where we went:
Anna1013 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 05:32 PM
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Hmm, now that I think about it, I've stayed on Ile Saint Louis in December and a block away from the Marais apartment in March/April. I live in San Francisco, so am accustomed to mild, not-cold, not-hot weather. I think the Marais location would be a little better for you if you're worried about the brrr-factor and nearby conveniences.

But I still think they both look great and both are in terrific locations!
Leely2 is offline  
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