4th Arrondissement

Welcome to the racing heart of Paris. Why racing, you ask? Because on Île Saint-Louis is where you’ll get the sexiest view of the Notre-Dame cathedral. (Let’s face it, her front-end ain’t bad, but her derrière is ON FIRE [*sorry*].) To cop a look, stroll across the île on Pont Saint-Louis, then Pont de l’Archevêché, look in her direction and BOOM. Also in the fourth: hip dining and shopping (even on Sundays!), Jewish Paris’ stronghold — Rue des Rosiers — and, straddling the 3rd arrondissement, Place des Vosges, the city’s prettiest public square (in our opinion), with lawns you can actually sit on, surrounded by stunning former royal real estate from the 1600s. This is among Paris’ priciest places to shack up, with a single house recently clocking in at 47.7 million Euros on the open market.

This leg­endary hood needs no sales pitch: it’s pic­turesque, hip, cen­tral, fash­ion­able, medieval, gay, Jew­ish…lots of inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty going on here. The main drags not to miss are Rue Vieille du Tem­ple, Rue des Francs-Bour­geois, Rue des Rosiers, Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bre­ton­ner­ie, Rue François Miron, Place des Vos­ges (locat­ed in a for­mer roy­al château com­plex), and the Vil­lage Saint-Paul — a calm out­door shopping/resto prom­e­nade zone. Step out and try to find the rem­nants of the 1000-ish year-old for­mer bound­ary wall of Paris.

I heard some­where once that some of Île Saint-Louis’s old res­i­dents have nev­er, in their entire life, stepped off of their island. And I believe it. Why would they need to? It’s an idyl­lic, cen­tral­ly-locat­ed enclave sur­round­ed by the lan­guid Riv­er Seine. And it’s where the gov­ern­ment keeps its strate­gic stock­pile of the so-called best ice cream in the worldBerthillon…truth or fic­tion? You decide. (Hint: Try the caramel beurre salé fla­vor. It’s kin­da great.) Hop over to Île de la Cité next door to expe­ri­ence Notre-Dame cathe­dral, la Sainte-Chapelle, Place Dauphine, and the quaint—and sur­pris­ing­ly calm—highly his­toric streets in between. Oui, there will be tourists, but also some spots carved out for locals.

You want to stroll down the Seine, you need to stroll down the Seine—Parisians love it and when the weath­er is coop­er­at­ing, are there all of the time—a result of the unique devel­op­ment of the Berges de Seine over the last few years. It went from mul­ti-lane high­way to frol­ic zone for pedes­tri­ans, cyclists, and alco­hol appre­ci­a­tion meet­ings alike. Read in-depth to decode it accord­ing to your tastes and plans for the day as the vibe varies quite a bit from cheap, youth­ful, and bois­ter­ous East to still-love­ly but touristy, 15€-for-a-mediocre-cocktail, West side (If you can see the Eif­fel Tower…)