Bonjour everyone. My hubby Adolfo and I had an amazing 8 day trip to Europe. We have been back 5 days already and I am still getting adjusted to the time difference, and whoooo weeee.. did we wear ourselves out, walking around the city for 14 hours per day, with stops for some amazing meals, and a bit of shopping. Some people had told me before we went that Paris has changed, and not for the better, so I should be prepared. I had not been back to Paris since 2006 when Adolfo & I went to Europe for the World Cup (Soccer).
I have to say, I was blown away at how clean and elegant Paris was. It seemed even better than before. I don’t know what people are talking about, but the place was so damn magical! I have been to Paris about 8 times now, and there is always something new to discover. I thought I would share a few of the highlights!
Adolfo and I at The Jardin Luxembourg.
I finally got to go to the amazing bookstore Shakespeare & Company
Shakespeare and Company is the name of two independent bookstores on Paris’s Left Bank. The first was opened by Sylvia Beach on 19 November 1919 at 8 rue Dupuytren, before moving to larger premises at 12 rue de l’Odéon in the 6th arrondissement in 1922. During the 1920s, it was a gathering place for writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford. It closed in 1940 during the German occupation of Paris and never re-opened.
The second is situated at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, in the 5th arrondissement. Opened in 1951 by George Whitman, it was originally named “Le Mistral” but renamed to “Shakespeare and Company” in 1964 in tribute to Sylvia Beach’s bookstore. Today, it serves both as a regular bookstore, a second-hand books store and as a reading library, specializing in English-language literature.
I wanted to go ever since I read the wonderful memoir by Jeremy Mercer called, Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs.
I also finally strolled down La Rue Mouffetard
There is a great article about this delightful street on Bonjour Paris. Here is an excerpt below:
Originally, rue Mouffetard was quite long and extended along what is now Avenue des Gobelins to Place d’Italie. The name of the section was changed in 1869 from Saint-Médard Square to Place d’Italie. Today’s rue Mouffetardgently slopes up from Saint-Médard Square to Place Contrescarpe, which is another popular people-watching spot. From Place Contrescarpe, rue Mouffetard turns intorue Descartes. Continuing up rue Descartes, it is a short, pleasant walk to the Panthéon, and from the Panthéon it is a five-minute walk to the Jardin du Luxembourg.
In addition to the diversity of its shops, you will see street performers who add music and entertainment to this atmosphere of conviviality. Sunday afternoons are particularly lively as locals and visitors dance and sing in front of the Chapel of Saint-Médard in Saint-Médard Square, with its lovely adjoining park. From here the narrow cobblestone street of rue Mouffetard snakes its way uphill. The road has been in use for approximately 2000 years and it still has buildings dating from the 12th century.
I had a delicious crêpe there made by this lovely man!
Yes, I ate the whole thing!
Visiting my favorite church in Montemarte, Sacré-Cœur is always a treat.
We had an amazing meal at La Rotonde. It was like we stepped into a time machine, or Woody Allen’s film, Midnight In Paris.The service was incredible and the food to die for at a reasonable price. Here is a great description from one of my favorite blogs on Paris, Bonjour Paris
Located at 105, Boulevard du Montparnasse, La Rotonde
was opened in 1911 by Victor Libion.
Libion’s cafe is renowned as having been a meeting spot for artists and writers during the interwar period. There were other popular cafes in the Montparnasse quartier—La Coupole and Libion’s Le Dôme—but La Rotonde was particularly endearing. It was a time of great poverty and many of these artistic men and women barely had a roof over their heads let alone money for food. Libion would allow these (literally) starving artists to sit in his café for hours with a ten-centime cup of coffee. He would turn a blind eye if the ends of the baguettes were stealthily removed. More importantly, if they did not have the money to pay for food he would hold the artist’s work as collateral and then graciously return the art when they were able to pay their bill. As result, La Rotonde became a showplace for all of the great impressionist painters. The paintings on its walls are now copies, but you will find a good mix of art from its former patrons adorning the walls.
The biggest highlight though was seeing my dear long time friend of 30 years, Nathalie. Nathalie and I worked at a restaurant together in West Hollywood, Californa called Cafe Figaro in the early 80’s. She moved back to France only about two years after we became fast friends. I was heartbroken. But we have remained in touch and also met up over the years in various places such as Lille, Rome, Northern Ca. and New York.
Adolfo spent the day at the French Open (tennis) with friends so I had the luxury of spending the whole day with her. We roamed the streets of Paris for 5 glorious hours together and had a lovely Italian lunch with wine and much girl talk.