A perfect morning in Paris

September 28, 2013

Get up early and enjoy the best part of the day; 
as Paris awakes take a walk to the nearest Boulangerie to pick up breakfast.

Tuck into a heavenly croissant, and the fruit that you couldn't resist picking up from the greengrocers with his inviting stalls of fresh, colourful, and temptingly scented fruit.
Time to get ready, hop on the metro, and get yourself into the centre of Paris. Get off at the stop Hotel de Ville to enable a little stroll on the way to Notre Dame de Paris. You will pass the majestic Palais de Justice on the way.

Next stop, Shakespeare & Company: An Anglophone bookshop opened in 1951 by George Whitman who originally named it Le Mistral. After Sylvia Beach's death he renamed his shop to Shakespeare & Company as a tribute to her and the bookshop she had opened in 1919. Sylvia Beach's bookshop had been an important centre for the the literary world- particularly for writers and artists of the Lost Generation, ( the generation that came of age during World War I.) Many Modernist thinkers gathered here such as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein. Famously, Beach published Joyce's book Ulysses in 1922, which had been banned elsewhere. Whitman's store was the perfect place to continue Beach's legacy since he had the same principles that a bookshop should be for lending, borrowing, reading, writing, and sharing ideas- not just a means to earn a living. Both Beach and Whitman believed in the importance of keeping writers and readers 'on the same creative continuum. 'Writers are not reduced to small-time semi-celebrities, and readers are not patronised as consumers.'

Wander around the bookshop trying to take everything in: from the towering piles of books comprised of an eclectic mix of genres, your fellow book lover tourists from all areas of the globe, to the unique imprints that Whitman has left all around. On your way upstairs, don't miss the wonderful quote above the doorway. Upstairs you will find the children's collection. In Sylvia Beach's memorial library you're invited to stay and read, and you can certainly feel that you are absorbing some literary heritage from the walls, and through the pages of books in this old bookshop that continues to progress and hold its own place in the modern literary world whilst maintaining its unique identity.

Once you have finally torn yourself away, it's time to go for an aimless(ish) wander. Shakespeare & Company is far from the only bookshop around, and not even the only Anglophone of them. The Latin Quarter is an area in which it is easy to lose yourself in amongst the small side streets dotted with independent shops and restaurants.

Having wandered around the latin quarter, it's time for a change of scene. Nearby is le Pont de l'Archevêché. It would be a challenge to try to prevent yourself from smiling as you see all of the besotted couples, old and young and from around the world, attach their lockets to the bridge.

If you continue following this road you will end up at le Musee D'Orsay, (presuming you don't get distracted by too many of the sites on the way.) The building is an impressive old train station and warmly invites you in to see the impressionist and post-impresionist art collection.

If you were tempted to enter, it could be any time of the day that you exit- and almost definitely past lunchtime. So that is the end of your morning wandering around Paris, and the last of my posts on the city. I think it is fairly evident that I had a wonderful time and I have so many places to explore further and areas that I didn't get anywhere near seeing even after a week of staying in Paris.

My previous posts document the other areas of Paris that I explored: 

1 comment:

  1. Oh this post has made me long to go back to Paris, if only to visit Shakespeare & Company which I never got a chance to go visit! Being able to go to the bakery first thing in the morning is one of my favourite things about being in France :) The Musee D'Orsay is simply breathtaking, the art collection stuns me everytime!