There's a reason that Berthillon is the most famous glacier (ice cream maker) in Paris. And that reason is their wild strawberry sorbet. No, wait: it's their caramel au gingembre ice cream (it tastes like a ginger snap). Or the agenaise. Definitely the agenaise (prunes with armagnac).
Founded in 1954, discovered in the 1960s by none other than Messieurs Gault & Millau, Berthillon has become synonymous with the Île St. Louis. On a hot summer day, if you walk past Nôtre Dame and across the bridge that links the Île de la Cité to the Île St. Louis, the first thing you'll see is a line of ice cream lovers trailing from a café, waiting for their cones.
I queue up and scan the list of flavors. No matter how long the line is, it always takes me right up until the moment I order to decide which flavors I want most that day. I take my scoops to the banks of the river, or cross back over to the park behind Nôtre Dame before the ice cream has the chance to melt. Sitting with a cone of Berthillon ice cream, watching the city go by, is one of the great joys of Paris. Often there are musicians playing on the bridge, and for a moment, life is simple.
Though many shops on the island sell Berthillon ice cream, the original store is on Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île and it's definitely worth seeking out. I stopped in, trying some seasonal flavors and stopping to chat with Muriel Delpuech, granddaughter of Monsieur Berthillon himself.
About the author: Gabrielle Mondesir lives in Paris, where she roams the streets looking for the best pastries the city has to offer. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.