The best French ice cream in Paris?
Finally, after what feels like years of endless, soul-destroying rain, the sun has come out to play (and play hard) in Paris. As the end of May drew nearer, temperatures reached the high 20s, coinciding just beautifully with the several public holidays we’ve had here recently.
There are a million reasons to love Paris when the sun is shining: the twinkle of the river down by Notre Dame, the joyous shrieks of children as they thunder round the Jardins du Luxembourg, the cute floral print summer dresses that just feel so right to wear here…. the list goes on and on.
However, the best reason, in my greedy little opinion, is the ice cream on the Ile St. Louis.
One of the two islands in the river Seine, the Ile St. Louis is one of the most beautiful places in Paris. As luck would have it, it’s also home to the best ice cream in Paris: Berthillon. Ice cream with a view, is there really anything better?
Monsieur Berthillon opened his first shop on the Ile St. Louis in 1954, and his descendents still run the company today. It is a luxury brand that uses only natural ingredients, with no chemical preservatives, artificial sweeteners or stabilisers. The only things you’ll find in a Berthillon ice cream are milk, sugar, cream, eggs, and whatever natural flavourings are required.
Over 60 flavours are produced by Maison Berthillon, different ones each day depending on the season and availability at the market. Usually I reach for the chocolate, no questions asked.
In a recent turn of events that nearly brought tears of joy pouring down my cheeks, I discovered that one of the Berthillon windows on the island sells mint flavour. This has been my favourite flavour since before forever, although the French don’t seem to share my passion. Every time I think I see a mint ice cream it ends up being pistachio; I’m sure you can imagine the crushing disappointment when that occurs.
During the warmer weather months, my friends and I go to the island for ice cream once or twice a week in the evenings. And honestly, it’s a struggle not to go every night.
There is nothing nicer than strolling there after dinner (ideally a salad to assuage the guilt), grabbing an ice cream, and leisurely walking along the river as the sun sets. Without fail, one of us will say, “Wow, this city is beautiful!” as we zigzag over the bridges, admiring the beautiful sights that Paris has to offer, and chatting about love, life, and everything.
It’s an experience that consistently reminds me why I live in this city and is something that I will miss dearly if, and when, I move back to England. A bag of chips on Kilburn High Road just doesn’t have the same appeal, somehow.
But that’s enough from me, now. My mouth is watering and there are still a couple of hours left of this glorious, warm spring evening. Would it be crazy to consider taking two metros just to get myself a Berthillon ice cream? What am I saying, of course not! I’m off to call my friends…
1. Icecream, via Pinterest
2 & 3 taken by Beth Peters
4. Icecream, via Pinterest