Friday, October 17, 2008

Oct 17, Part 8 - Paris: Quai St-Michel

Place St-Michel, Paris After crossing the Ile de la Cite, we arrived back on the Left Bank at Place St-Michel. We were enjoying the cool, sunny weather so much, it seemed that a stroll along the quai was just the thing. There's Notre Dame Cathedral in the background, a stunning view from any angle. Sorry the picture is a little crooked.

Place St-Michel, Paris Here's Place St-Michel on the right, filled with traffic as always. We're headed along the quai to the left.

Notre Dame, Paris Beautiful . . .

Quai St-Michel, Paris, Street Vendors with Stalls The stalls along the river were all open today, so we did some browsing. It's fun to see what they have, although I'm surprised there are any old books and prints left to sell after all these years of hawking them. Some are old and some are reprints. It's usually very easy to find a vendor with tastes similar to mine. Some are not, but many are.

Gilbert Jeune, Paris On the side of the street away from the river is one of the entrances to Gilbert Jeune, one of, if not THE landmark bookstore in Paris, or at least on the Left Bank. It was founded right here on the Quai St-Michel in 1886 (the same year as my home town of Corona, California was founded, for what that's worth). The store takes up many separate lots in this area, and has numerous entrances on various streets. If you ever want to be surrounded by the feel of information and learning potential, or you just love books and esoteric subjects (besides the regular ones) or want to feel like an intellectual par excellence, just open the door and wander the aisles and levels of this establishment!

Rue due Chat Qui Peche, Paris (Street of the Fishing Cat) Moving along, we passed the narrowest street in Paris (about 1.8 metres wide), the block-long (very short block) Rue du Chat Qui Peche, "Street of the Fishing Cat." It appears in all the guidebooks now, I expect. It's famous for that niche in the fact-list of Paris. The street dates from 1540, and was named for the picture on a shop sign. The poster is for the Hotel Les Argonautes, in which I've stayed three times. It's a funky, small hotel (rooms, tubs, showers, halls, everything very small), but the location is outstanding, the hotel is charming, and the price has been extremely affordable. My only complaint has been that the noise in the lower and outer rooms keeps up most of the night with the Greek restaurants across the street smashing plates and shouting like barkers for a carnival, and the dance music very loud in the restaurant below. It's sometimes not possible to change rooms. If you are getting a single room, you can have one in the middle above the first floor, which I found very quiet. The two times I stayed in double rooms, the noise was hard to sleep through. I don't know if you can get a quiet room on the river side of the hotel, but the one we had on the Rue de la Huchette side was very noisy. Still, I love the place.

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