August 30, 2010

Paris Walks

I was looking through my files, cleaning them up a little, and I came across a kind of a "note to self": walks to take in Paris during our 2003 trip and personal "must sees"

I thought it was post-worthy if I tarted it up a bit. Unfortunately I can only get Blogger to insert pictures at the top of a post so today's entry will be top-heavy. I'll be sure to include plenty of links.

We stayed at the Hotel du College de France at 7 rue Thenard, in the 5th Arrondissement south of Boulevard St. Germain and east of rue St. Jacques. It was a really great, clean, central hotel. I was a little disappointed that after months of planning we were put in an inside-facing room directly above the laundry. But we were travelling with our son and no 3-bedded rooms had a street view. I think we paid 90 Euro in 03. Today it would be closer to 120 Euros which is still very good.

Here's my first installment things to do around the district and beyond.

Evening Strolls

Rue de la Huchette & Rue du Chat qui Peche (narrowest in Paris)

Rue de la Huchette and the entire surrounding neighborhood is dotted with small, tempting cafes and night spots, some at street level, others in cellars and others above. Slightly edgy street artists abound. And travellers like you and me are beckoned by the hosts and hostesses to come in and try their wares. Unable to commit, we stuck with chestnut crepes and shwarma with frites. Known for its collection of Greek restaurants we witnessed the stereotypical shattering of plates after a satisfying meal. The Rue de la Huchette, and its adjacent streets are typical 12th C Paris. This is shabby chic like no North American can recreate.

Coming in at just under 6 feet wide or 1.8 m is Rue du Chat qui Peche. The Street of the Fishing Cat was named after the illustration on a shop's shingle. It wasn't really much to see. A "been there, done that" moment, but the name is so charming. Apparently when it was built in 1540 the street abruptly ended at the Seine. I'm glad things have changed or we would have gotten very wet getting to our next destination ...

Shakespeare & Company - 37 Rue de la Bûcherie

Shakespeare and Company has such a reputation. Although not Sylvia Beach's bookstore on rue de l'Odeon, which hosted James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway, George Whitman's shop at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie has continued the legacy of Beach’s Shakespeare and Company, inviting readers and encouraging new writers. Chock-a-block with used books, the shop is a bibliophiles dream. Evidence of the writers-in-residence was plain when I found myself in an alcove with someone's shaving apparatus.

Another English bookstore in this part of the Left Bank is

The Abbey Bookshop

Turning the corner onto the rue de la Parcheminerie, I was pleased to see the Canadian flag outside number 29. The Abbey Bookshop had a sister store on Harbord Street in Toronto. I was pleased to see that someone was living the dream.

More later.

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