Île Saint-Louis is an island located on the Seine river, in the center of Paris (France), in the 4th arrondissement. Île Saint-Louis had a population of 2,323 inhabitants on January 1, 2022.

Located immediately upstream of the Île de la Cité, it is the smaller of the two with an area of 11 ha. It takes the form of a parallelogram of 525 m on its long side and 250 m on its short side, oriented in a general direction towards the northwest. Its largest diagonal, between the northwest point (Place Louis-Aragon) and the southeast point (Square Barye), reaches a little over 700 m.

Île Saint-Louis is, with Île de la Cité, one of the two natural islands in the Seine still remaining in Paris today (the current Île aux Cygnes is entirely artificial).

Administratively, Île Saint-Louis is part of the Hôtel-de-Ville district, better known as the 4th arrondissement, of which it marks the southeastern limit. Île Saint-Louis and the eastern part of Île de la Cité form the Notre-Dame district or 16th district of Paris, one of the four administrative districts of the 4th arrondissement.

Before 1860, Île Saint-Louis was part of the former 9th arrondissement of Paris and alone formed the former “Île-Saint-Louis district”.

Under the Revolution, it constituted one of the 48 Parisian revolutionary sections called the Fraternity section.

Île Saint-Louis is connected to the rest of the arrondissement on the right bank of the river by 3 bridges, plus a fourth which connects it to Île de la Cité, and to the 5th arrondissement, on the left bank, by 2 other bridges.

Bridges that connect to the Île

Pont Saint-Louis from the Île de la Cité;
Pont de la Tournelle from the Rive Gauche;
Pont Louis-Philippe from the Rive Droite;
Pont Marie from the Rive Droite;
Pont Sully from the Rive Droite and the Rive Gauche.

Saint-Louis Island is surrounded by four quays, each roughly delimiting a quarter of the island:

Quai d’Anjou (right bank of the island, from Pont Sully to Pont Marie);
Quai de Bourbon (right bank, from the Marie bridge to the downstream point and the Saint-Louis bridge);
Quai d’Orléans (left bank, from the Saint-Louis bridge to the Tournelle bridge);
Quai de Béthune (left bank, from the Pont de la Tournelle to the Pont Sully).

History

The island was first known as the Île Notre-Dame, and was used mostly for grazing cattle, fishing, drying laundry, and occasionally for fighting duels. In 1360 it was cut in half by a canal, at about the current Rue Poulettiere, in order to bring it into the protection of the new wall around the city built by King Charles V, The slightly smaller eastern portion was named the Ile des Vaches (Island of Cows) (not to be confused with another island of the same name farther downstream). That portion was used for storing wood and building boats.

It was originally owned by the chapter of Notre-Dame cathedral. The island was destined for real estate development under King Henry IV, but the king’s assassination in 1610 delayed the project. It was revived 1616 by the developers Christophe Marie, Poulettiere Le Regrettier. The canal dividing the island was filled, plots laid out and imposing residences built. The urbanisation of the island was rapid; within fifty years it was entirely occupied. The Pont Marie, which connects the island with the right bank, is named for Christophe Marie, one of the real estate developers of the island. Beginning in 1614, he was chief builder for Marie de Medicis, the widow of Henry IV and regent of the young King, Louis XIII.

The island did not take the name of Saint-Louis until 1725. Louis IX, who was made a saint only thirty years after his death in 1270, was believed to have sometimes held court and rendered justice on the island.

During the French Revolution, the island was briefly renamed “Ile de la Fraternité”.

Transport

Île Saint-Louis is not directly served by any metro line. The closest stations are Pont Marie and Sully – Morland, on line 7, on the right bank of the Seine.

Bus line 67 crosses the island from north to south along rue des Deux-Ponts and has a stop located approximately in the middle of the island. To the east, on Boulevard Henri-IV, lines 86 and 87 have a stop in both directions, between the two parts of the Sully bridge.

See more:

20 arrondissements of Paris

Architecture of Paris

Museums of Paris

Entertainment in Paris

Bridges in Paris

Parks in Paris

Streets and squares in Paris

Shopping in Paris

Transport in Paris

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