2 Days in Paris by Guest Blogger, Allie

When I heard that the English bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, used to offer free accommodation to writers, I decided to adapt their idea for this blog.  Warning to future visitors, in exchange for a bed and some of the best croissants you’ll ever eat, I may ask you to write a post about your experiences in Paris.
My first "guest" blogger is Allie, an American friend currently living in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Thanks, Allie! 
Walking around Paris last week, the first week of April, with the wisteria in bloom and busy cafes, I thought to myself: I am coming back here every April.

The benefits of visiting Paris in early spring: There aren’t very many tourists (the real crowds come in the summer), it is warm enough to walk around all day in light clothing but crisp enough you never work up a sweat, and everyone is in a really good mood.

Drawbacks: none.

As it often happens, the best parts were a little unplanned. I went to the Louvre, but remember much more about getting horribly lost an hour later, around the Gare Montparnasse. Then I looked up from my map and noticed there are a lot of adorable street crêperies around the Gare, especially on the Boulevard du Montparnasse, specializing in crêpes from Brittany (the Breton specialty is buckwheat galettes).  Some of the crêperies have good lunchtime deals around 10 euros for an enormous savory galette, a sweet crêpe, and a bowl of cider.  The atmosphere was great as the restaurants were packed with Parisians enjoying their lunch hour.  I recommend La Crêperie de Quimper.

“And there by the Seine was a bookshop, not the same,
but similar to those I had known..."
Then there were the bookshops. I spent a lot of time browsing in the great antique book stores (they’re everywhere!) but the bohemian used & new shop, Shakespeare & Company, is a must-see for English-speaking book lovers. People popped in and out constantly: a girl came in, practiced the piano upstairs, then left abruptly, while a young man napped on a couch.  A band was setting up on the ground floor for a 6 pm performance, but already lots of people had gathered.  When you buy books, they even stamp it with a cute insignia (if you ask). I am glad I wasn’t staying too close by, because I would have probably spent my entire 2-day trip inside!

This movie was being advertised
 Movies to get you in the mood for a Parisian trip:

2 Days in Paris - This romantic comedy explores some of the   French/American love-hate relationship, as embodied by the couple.

Before Sunset. Shakespeare & Co. even has a cameo in this winsome romance, which is a sequel to its Viennese sister, Before Sunrise. They are two of my favorite movies.

Frantic - My parents definitely regret leaving this Roman Polanski thriller in our VCR when I was five, but it certainly left an indelible impression on me. The Parisian Statue of Liberty has a major role, there's a chase scene/confrontation on the Seine, and Emmanuelle Seigner plays the ultimate cool French girl.  


  1. Allie,

    Thanks again for being my first "guest" blogger. You're welcome to come back to Paris anytime, perhaps in April 2012...or before.

    On Saturday night, Stéphane and I saw "Mon Pere est Femme de Menage", the movie that was so heavily advertised during your visit. It's a heartwarming story about a father and son's relationship with a somewhat confusing ending.

  2. Thanks again for your amazing hospitality! I am so happy that I got to tour the city with you, and I will just have to live vicariously through your blog until my next visit. I will have to check out "Mon Pere est Femme de Menage" when it gets on DVD - sounds intriguing. I think confusing endings are quintessentially French! :)

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