Some of you may remember a challenge my husband gave me when I visited Ireland last year. He asked me to take photos of cute cafes to print and put on the wall in our kitchen thereby combining three of my favorite things: food, photography, and travel. Well, the challenge was fun for me so I extended it to Paris thinking I would have no shortage of cafe scenes there. Here are a few unedited photos that have potential. Let me know what you think…
On my first trip to Paris in 2010 I had the pleasure of staying at The Hotel Esmerelda on the Left Bank across from the Notre Dame. Little did I know that it would literally be sleeping atop the famed Shakespeare & Company bookstore. I fell in love with this bookstore and couldn’t wait to take my friend Manuela there. She has been going to Paris for many years and had never visited so I knew she was in for a treat. I was initially reluctant only because I had heard that the bookstore, which reeks of charm and age, had opened an adjoining coffee shop. I hoped that S&Co. had not sold out in order to go all Starbuksy on us. My heart couldn’t take that. If it was that BAD I figured Parisians would have revolted and stormed the bookstore so I had high hopes. It would be a great respite from the rain so, I had to see the change for myself.
Well, people I am happy to report that the bookstore’s footprint has changed very little if any at all. And the ridiculously tiny coffee shop is equally as charming and full of lovely young staff brewing up the best cup of coffee I had in Paris. (And I drank a fair amount of Joe while I was there so I consider myself an authoritay.)
Please go there. Please buy a book as a souvenir and a cup of coffee while you overlook the Notre Dame and the bustling city. You will surely leave smarter than you came merely by immersing yourself in history and looking at all of the covers. Need a break because you have put too many miles on your feet? Relax in any number of small comfortable nooks and crack a book like Hemmingway in the same place people have done so on the Left Bank for almost 100 years! (Never mind a few location changes due to the war…)
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After visiting Pere Lachaise Cemetery we took the metro to Colonal Fabian to take a walk along the Canals eventually winding up at Republic. We had an amazing lunch at the Atmosphere Cafe and meandered up and over every bridge we encountered. This is a lovely part of Paris with lots of options for shopping and food and well worth a trip off the normal tourist path of Paris.
Submitting as part of Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge.
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to see the Paris Catacombs or not. On the one hand it seemed like a can’t miss opportunity. I mean who else buries 6 million people underground and makes it a tourist attraction? On the other hand, it’s kind of gross and sad. I left it up to my travel partner. If she was game then so was I. We took the train out there and saw the line to get in to the ossuaries was literally around the block. We left and meandered the lovely streets of La Butte-aix-Cailles instead thinking the line might die down later in the day. Turns out one needs to prepare to wait a long while if they want to stare at a bunch of dead people miles underground.
The catacombs were created to solve the problem of overcrowding in the cemeteries which had been closed due to health concerns. The bones of millions of people were transferred in to the abandoned quarries in 1786-1859 and only opened later in the 19th century as a tourist attraction. I still don’t know how I feel about taking money from people to go and visit a “cemetery” but I hope the money goes to the upkeep of the place.
I am grateful I was with my friend because it would have been pretty creepy to do on one’s own. After descending and ascending what felt like a million stairs we got our minds off of the fact we had just walked by and photographed human remains and ate dinner at one of the best Italian Restaurants I have ever attended @ Cafe Latarantella. All was right in the world once more after that dinner.
This post was inspired by Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge. Check out my last Odd Ball Challenge from Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.