Saturday, February 16, 2013

Into a Paris Quartier

In less than a month, I shall be returning to Paris. As I enjoy doing a little research ahead of time, I am currently reading the nonfiction book Into a Paris Quartier by Diane Johnson. Ms Johnson, who lives in
the 6th arrondissement, is also a novelist. She wrote Le Divorce  which became a mildly entertaining movie about the extramarital affairs of the French. Le Divorce received a very poor reception when it was released in 2003 but the cast includes Leslie Caron who, in my opinion, is the perfect French woman.  Think Gigi, An American in Paris, and Chocolat. Good movies for a grey February weekend.

Ms. Johnson outlines the history of her neighbourhood from the days of La Reine Margot who was the first royal resident of the Left Bank. Alexandre Dumas wrote a historical novel, La Reine Margot, in 1854.  It has been translated as Marguerite de Valois and has also been made into a movie three times.  I enjoyed the 1994 version starring Isabelle Adjani and Daniel Auteuil. Queens Marie de Médici, who built the Luxembourg  Palace with its famous gardens, and Anne of Austria, who built Val de Grâce on the Rue St. Jacques, were later residents of the 6th arrondissement
Statue of Marie de Médici 
One of the two apartments that I shall be renting this trip is on the Rue Cherche-Midi, a very long street inhabited by more affluent Parisians. I shall be living at  Number 6 Rue Cherche-Midi, two doors down from the Poilâne bakery at Number 8.  This area is definitely upscale from my last year's rental and I wonder whether it will be as friendly. The sixth arrondissement is convenient to shopping, the Colleges of the University of Paris and to lots of restaurants. The Bon Marché is close to my new apartment.  If you haven't visited La Grande Epicérie de Paris, you must. Last year, my friend Janet and I took a gourmet walking tour of the 6th.  The tour, which started on the Rue Buci, provided us with samples and info about the food shops of the area.



A delicious salad from a restaurant in the 6th
Into a Paris Quartier is providing me with the historical background to my new neighbourhood but I can hardly wait to start my own explorations.

A light movie for a grey February afternoon might be Forget Paris (1995) with Billy Crystal and Debra Winger.

2 comments:

  1. Oh, two blocks from La Grande Épicerie...I'm swooning with envy!!! The 6th is my favorite -eme. I loved Le Divorce and have now added "Into a Paris Quartier" to my reading list. Have a wonderful visit!!

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  2. We were in the 6th last year, but our tiny rental was so far from upscale as to be laughable. The year before we rented what sounds like a few blocks from where you are, in the 7th, just two blocks from the Musée Maillol (a favourite of mine). Can't wait to follow your travels. Meanwhile, I can do some vicarious wandering Into a Paris Quartier. . . thanks!

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