After the Valentino show in the Tuileries’ Espace Ephemere yesterday, I decided to walk back to my hotel, the Legend, in the 6th, half way between St Germain & Montparnasse.
I know the route like the back of my hand: it’s a lovely 30 minute or so stroll on a blowsy autumnal day under bright blue skies, taking in the gravelly tree-lined avenues of the Tuileries, a little detour past Colette and Goyard on the Rue Saint Honore, the courtyard of the Louvre, the Silver Birch grove on the Right Bank, then the pedestrian-only Pont des Arts over the Seine.
Then it’s a quick nip due south down Rue Bonaparte, past the Beaux-Arts (& Laduree), emerging at the church of St Germain de Pres, (resisting the lure of a quick grand noir at Flore or the Deux Magots), and then a crab-like sideways angle through the boutiques around St Sulpice with a spot of leche-vitrine en route, eventually ending up back on Rue de Rennes, where my hotel, the Legend, is situated.
The view to the left as I walked to the Pont des Arts,
and the view to the right: The silver birches on the Right Bank, between the Louvre and the Seine.
The Pont des Arts (& Ile de la Cite behind it) from the Right Bank:
The Lanvin window at Laduree on Rue Bonaparte:
Shakespeare & Co is all very well, and should certainly be ticked off once, but there are so many other wonderful bookshops full of treasure on the Left Bank that it’s an utter waste to only go there. If you just wander around, you’ll find glorious bookshops from the antiquarian to the merely second-hand, with a sprinkling of print dealers, and even a venerable autograph shop on Rue Bonaparte, with facsimiles in the window of the handwriting of French kings long dead.
Of course I couldn’t walk by Laduree without popping in. This Divin left the shop with me, and was supper. (With that kind of sugar overload nothing else was necessary.) It’s a kind of cross between the classic Ladurée macaron and a meringue. Lurking behind that ring of nougatine cream is a jellied raspberry disc. It is heaven in every bite. Well, nibble really, as I was trying to make it last, as opposed to simply inhaling.
Then I went out for drinks at Le Trait d’Union on Rue de Rennes with lovely Laurent, tech entrepreneur extraordinaire, and my room mate from New York, who moved back to Paris about the same time that I came back to London. (It was meant to be: his gym is next door to my hotel. I love coincidences like this.) And then: an early night, so I could walk back to the Louvre for Vuitton first thing this morning — I like to arrive early so I can watch the circus.