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Paris Has Its Very Own Ice Cream Island Ile St.-Louis

libadmin July 30, 2018
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It seems that everyone who visits Paris in the warmer months makes a pilgrimage out to Île St.-Louis, tucked just behind the Cathédrale Notre Dame, in quest of the ice cream cone. It has in fact become such a tradition that 9 out of every 10 people you see walking down the tiny island’s center street, rue St. Louis-en-L’Isle, is either eating an ice cream cone, has just eaten one or will be eating one in the next few moments. The remaining tenth person be the one who chooses to enjoy their ice cream from a cup with a small spoon instead of from a cone. 

Who gets credit for this cultural phenomenon? Well, certainly it is Berthillon. Founded in 1954 by Raymond Berthillon, they still use fresh eggs and, when possible, crème fraiche as their base of ice cream. They also have 90 fanciful flavorings such as candied chestnut ice cream or wild forest strawberries sorbet, with at least 40 – 50 on offer on any given day. The lines quickly became so long outside the small Berthillon shop just next to the Eglise St. Louis, though, that soon nearly every café on the island started selling Berthillon ice cream as part of their offerings. This is still true today. Though chalk it up to French logic, Berthillon closes annually from the last week of July to the end of August, i.e. during the height of ice cream season. 

And now there are several other beloved ice cream shops on the island, too, such as Amorino, specializing in gelato, and Senoble, specializing in small batch-made ice creams with flavors like fromage blanc and even a sorbet shop on the island, all within steps of each other. So now the real challenge is not just which one to choose from to get your ice cream fix, but how many can you taste in a day?!

In a true scenario of the sweet life oozing its goodness out like positive vibes, the Marais, just next door to Île St.-Louis has also become a haven for top-of-the-line ice cream shops. It kind of all began with Une Glace à Paris a mere several years ago. Their mission was to make a French ice cream – meaning less heavy, more flavorful, using exotic flavors but not gelato. And that’s what they have accomplished. It’s the other shop with constant lines out the door. But since they stay open to midnight and during August, you have a good chance of getting your foot in the door for some of that smoked vanilla or lavendar ice cream. And now there’s also La Glacerie Paris just around the corner too which is a smart option, too, when you want to take your ice cream on a picnic with you since their packaging keeps your dessert cold and fresh for up to 2 hours.

Suffice it to say that if you have only a few days to enjoy Paris in the summer (or spring or fall or even winter) you really must sacrifice at least a day, but better yet two or three, to tasting these different ice creams. They each have their own special je ne sais quoi and the flavor choices are dazzling in their creativity and diversity. 


Amorino

The first France-based Italian ice cream chain to do Italian gelato, this ice cream shop has seen enormous success. Their signature is to craft the ice cream on top of the cone in the shape of flower petals, handing you a rose bouquet of an ice…  Read More


Grom

This all-natural ice cream began slowly, a labor of love by two young Italian entrepreneurs. And then a mere few years later, there were a dozen shops popping up all over Paris. That was around the time they had been bought out by Unilever. Huge…  Read More


ice Roll

A new way of serving up ice cream… the basic ingredients of milk and sugar and flavorings are spread out like a crepe but on an iced pan (-30°C). This freezes the mixture instantaneously and then the ice cream is dished up in curled rolls….  Read More


Senoble La Glacerie Parisienne

The opening of this family-run pastry and ice cream shop on the Ile St.-Louis officially cemented what the French press dubbed the ice cream wars of Ile St.-Louis. I beg to differ. In my opinion, it simply firmly cemented Ile St. Louis as Paris’…  Read More


Patisserie Christophe Michalak

Positioning himself as the rock-n-roll pastry chef, Michalak offers a whole new take on what it means to be a top-notch pastry chef in Paris. Following a pop-up cream puff stand he did in partnership with another chef a couple years ago, he went…  Read More


Il Gelato del Marchese

People are attracted by the Disney Princess facade of this jewel-like gelateria in the heart of Saint Germain des Pres. But those who have tried the gelato here know that it’s the flavorful, all-natural icecream that really keeps the clients…  Read More


Pierre Herme

Pierre Hermé, the recognized world’s best pastry chef, launched into ice creams years ago. One of the things that he loves to do is mix unusual flavors together in a method that the French call panaché. Meaning it is a far cry from spumoni…  Read More


La Glacerie Paris

Created by an accomplished and recognized master pastry chef, David Wesmael, who is specialized in ice cream, the flavors of the ice cream here are rivaled only by the packaging design. His design and packaging, in addition to his all-natural…  Read More


Berthillon Glacier

This is the city’s still-reigning king of ice creams and can be credited with establishing Ile St.-Louis as ice cream island. It was founded by the Berthillon family in 1957 and today it is still the offspring who run this family owned shop….  Read More


Une Glace a Paris

Following Berthillon’s long reign as the nearly the only choice when it came to quality ice cream, this boutique ice cream parlor opened up in the Marais only a few years ago and quickly saw lines a street long trailing out their doors daily….  Read More