October 16, 2010

The Clever Pup's Paris Notebook - Day One, My First Morning

I started writing this in the sunshine at Crêpes à Gogo, just a few short steps from my hotel. I dropped off my luggage at the Hôtel du Panthéon at 11:00. I can check in for real at 2pm.

I ordered a Cafe Noisette and a Crêpe La Bretonne; a coffee with a dash of cream and a crêpe with real French vanilla ice cream, chantilly cream and salted butter caramel sauce. It was truly delicious, but I found an ant (dead) on the side of my plate. I gave the waiter 1€ for a tip anyway.

From here I started on my walk of Montparnasse. I've long been a fan of Paris in the 20s and Montparnasse is where it's at. (Or was). Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Stein, Foujita, Kiki de Montparnasse, Many Ray - they all hung out here.

On my way I passed the Jardin Luxembourg. I took a picture of this lovely sign, The Puppet Theatre of Luxembourg - Fun small and big - performing arts. "Email" in this case, means enamel.

Then walking down Boulevard Saint-Michel I came upon an elaborate fountain in the Jardin Marco Polo. I could only capture a bit of it. Around the corner was the La Closerie Lilas where the black-jacketed waiters were busy seating patrons. Far too posh for me, this restaurant was once they haunt of Hemingway, Sartre, Rimbaud, Man Ray, Dali to name only a few.

Then onto 29 rue Campagne-Première, and the Hotel Istria where Picabia, Duchamp, Man Ray and Kiki, Satie and Rilke all once had quarters. Next door at number 31 is a fantasic example of Art Nouveau architecture. Once artists studios, this building was designed by architect Alexandre Bigot and ceramist André Arfvidson.

I found the watering-holes of the denizens of Montparnasse, Le Dome, La Rotonde, Le Select.

I found Kiki's house and the apartment where Foujita lived.

On my way to 27 Rue Fleurus, once Gertrude Stein's house, a middle-aged French woman caught up to me on the street thinking I was I friend of hers. I guess I fit in alright if I can be mistaken for an inhabitant.

From there I sat and rested on a bench in the Jardin Luxembourg, the chestnuts and their leaves crinkly and crunchy under foot. I made a full-circle taking almost 2 hours. And I haven't even checked into my room yet!


Ima Wizer said...

Oooooooooooo lala!

Kat Mortensen said...

I love the architectural photographs particularly. It must have been just so much food for the imagination (and palate)!


Hels said...

I am so glad the Parisians have marked 27 Rue Fleurus!!!!! It was indeed Gertrude Stein's house before and after WW1, but I was afraid that locals and tourists would have forgotten about her.

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

I've been looking forward to your posts about Paris, Hazel. How wonderful to go alone. I spent lots of time alone there even though I was staying with someone. I loved every minute of it...except for going to Versailles by myself...I would have loved to share that experience with someone.
Will return. Thanks!

Life, Laughter and Paris said...

All my fav spots. Great to see the photos. Wish I was there right now sitting at the Dome or Select doing some people watching!

debbie in toronto said...

too bad your hotel couldn't check you in anyway..ours did..we were lucky...anyway you are in my hood...our hotel was around the corner from Le Select...love Luxembourg gardens...we ended up there once a day

can't wait to see more

Mauro Morello said...

Nice post !

real modern architect said...

Makes me homesick, although I only lived there for 2 years!
So many neighborhoods to explore.