homesubscribe to newsletterpinterestfacebooktwitterrssinstagram
Parisian livingrestaurant reviewstravelartseventsshoppingour Paris apartmentsfood
link to HiP blog home page
link to HiP blog home page
search
Paris apartments
About HiP
contactcontact
vacation rentals
special offers
ParisLondon
ProvenceTuscany
Paris vacation rentals
pinterestfacebooktwitterrssinstagram

Paris’ Favorite Left Bank Bookshop Opens Shakespeare & Company Café

HiP Paris Blog, Shakespeare & Company Café neighbors the famous bookstore of the same name.

Welcome to the newly opened Shakespeare & Company Café, located next-door to the famed bookstore that carries the same name. It’s the perfect place to grab a latte on the go, rendezvous with your Editor to discuss a new writing project, settle in for a few hours to people-watch, or – as is only fitting – escape into a book from one of the shelves (the selection ranges from Whitman to Twilight).

HiP Paris Blog, Shakespeare & Company Café is George Whitman's vision finally made reality.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Coffee, Food | 5 Comments »

Strolling Through Paris, Part II: A Tour of Central Paris’ Historic Towers

HiP Paris Blog, Isabel Miller-Bottome, SeineThe Seine

The most famous tower in Paris is certainly the Eiffel Tower. Beautiful as it may be, the masses of visitors in the summer are overwhelming. Luckily, the city is dotted with an array of intriguing towers, showcased in this little stroll traversing the historic core of Paris.

HiP Paris Blog, Isabel Miller-Bottome, VacheRue Montorgueil

Start with the Tour Jean-sans-Peur. Finished in 1411, it’s the last remaining structure of the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, which extended over the neighboring streets. At 21 meters (69 ft) high, it’s also the tallest medieval civic structure in Paris. You can gaze up at any time of day or climb to the top during the summer, Wed-Sun from 1:30pm – 6pm.

HiP Paris Blog, Isabel Miller-Bottome, Rue MontorgeuilRue Montorgueil

Leaving the tower, make your way to lively rue Montorgueil, lined with excellent food shops and cafes. If the weather is nice, opt for some frozen yogurt at the new branch of Chacun Ses Gouts. Here you can make your own frozen yogurt “sundaes,” composed of weekly changing flavors and toppings of fresh fruit, nuts, candy, and more. Devour yours around the corner, lounging in the newly revamped Les Halles Gardens. Here you can also take in the unfinished towers of the Saint Eustache, one of the largest churches in the city.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 1 Comment »

Memorial: George Whitman, Founder of Paris’ Shakespeare & Company

What can I add to this week’s hundreds of tributes to the legendary proprietor of Paris’s Shakespeare and Company bookshop, George Whitman, including one by the writer, Jeanette Winterson?

Why was she impelled to remember him in print? Because, like so many others, she had stayed at Shakespeare and Company. George Whitman started a tradition of hosting writers, most famously members of the Beat generation, and the bookshop’s ‘Tumbleweed Hotel’ is still a place where literary dreamers can exchange a few hours’ work in the shop for a bed on a bench amongst the books of George’s personal open library on the first floor.

When I came to Shakespeare and Company a couple of years ago, it was a while before I actually met George. Already in his mid-90s, he spent his days in the apartment on the top floor.

He still owned the shop downstairs, now run expertly by his daughter Sylvia and her team, its ‘Tumbleweed Hotel’ principles intact.

When they arrive, Tumbleweeds are required to write a brief biography for the shop’s records. Employed by the shop to create stair murals, I decided I would do this later. Anyway I was here to draw, not write. I wasn’t a Tumbleweed.

Was I?

The next time I stayed I didn’t write it either, but I did spend my time writing. I’d do it on the next visit.

Or the next…

The last time I visited the shop in October 2011 , Paris was cold. George had just suffered a stroke and was in hospital, ‘recovering well’. The writers’ room, with its tiny electric radiator, was warm. Under my window, tourists snapped continually; Tumbleweeds lunched at the little round table by the door; drunks gathered at the fountain; a busker turned up and performed Shakespeare’s most famous speeches in rotation. Later on, the drummers took over outside the cathedral.

I stopped writing to eat at the café across the road. The man at the next table was telling his teenage daughter – her first trip to Paris – about how he’d been to one of George’s famous Sunday teas and heard the bookseller relate how he had set off to walk from North to South America but had been forced to turn back in the impassible Central American jungle. He was like a child, the man said. It was like he didn’t understand why he just couldn’t go as far as he wanted to go.

But after opening Le Mistral in 1951, which became Shakespeare and Company in 1964, the traveler largely stayed put in Paris, dying peacefully last Wednesday in his apartment above the shop, two days after his 98th birthday.

I walked back from the café to the bookshop and got back to work.

I wrote. Notre Dame chimed ‘Three Blind Mice’ on the hour: the light went.

I thought about space: Kilometer Zero in front of Notre Dame; Place René Viviani  next to the shop where the 2010 Shakespeare and Company Literary Festival was held – a free event into which the public could wander. That was the last time I had seen George downstairs; wearing an extravagant paisley jacket, he was carried in triumph through the shop on a sofa held shoulder-high by Tumbleweeds. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

Christmas in the City of Lights: Seeking Out Paris’ Holiday Cheer

Mic Mac

When I popped home to the UK in November, London was already in full festive swing with Christmas trees, festive songs and neon lights galore. Sent back with a Cadbury’s chocolate advent calendar adorned with an oversized Santa, I was ready to start the Christmas season with a bang.

Making Magique

Yet once back home across the pond, I realized Paris hadn’t joined in on the fun yet. I was ready to start in on my advent calendar and temperatures were plunging, but where were all those tell tale signs that our favorite mid-winter festival was fast approaching?

This set me thinking. What exactly is a Parisian Christmas? What happens in the cold windy days leading up to the big event? I set out on a mission to discover the seasonal delights that France’s most romantic city had to offer.

Little Brown Pen

Shopping

Although the Christmas shopping frenzy begins relatively late in Paris (thankfully, shops only step into gear at the end of November), once it gets going, it really gets going. Stores go all out with light shows and designer-crafted window displays – always tasteful, bien sur. First stop? Paris’s iconic department stores. Whilst London has toy-filled Hamleys and elegant Harrods, Paris showcases its trademark sophistication with Les Galleries Lafayette and the neighbouring Printemps, where Karl Lagerfeld’s touch marks this year’s displays: think Chanel-clad rock ‘n’ roll dolls strumming their electric guitars and 20m Christmas trees. Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, Shopping, Travel | 5 Comments »

Paris in the Winter: The City of Light Shines

Above: Christmas window at Galleries Lafayette, Paris (JournaldesVitrines); Below: Christmas windows Galeries Lafayette (JournaldesVitrines); Eiffel Tower (Colodio)

Whoever said “all that glitters is not gold” can’t have visited Paris in December. I mean, why would anyone recoil at the prospect of ordinary, everyday sights being transformed into such delicious, enchanting illusions? From a damp black pavement glowing red, then amber, then green to the Eiffel Tower fizzing in a blaze of sparks, Paris in winter is pure magic.

But this light show is nothing new.  The French capital has been flickering on and off for centuries.  Its history stretches all the way back to the 1600s when a public decree ordered for lights to burn in the windows of all houses that faced onto the streets of Paris.  Ta-da, and so the City of Light was born…

La Grande Roue at the Place de la Concorde, ParisLa Grande Roue at the Place de la Concorde, Paris (Feuillu)

These days, over 100 streets are lit up from late November to late January to accompany Paris’ permanently illuminated monuments. Fancy basking in the city’s reflected glory? Follow my lead and wrap up warm for a bracing evening stroll along the Champs-Elysées.  The mile-long route from place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe glistens under a canopy of bright white fairy lights.  Everywhere you look, there’s a sprinkling of fairy dust and Christmas cheer.  Only the proverbial Scrooge would turn down a helping of roasted chestnuts or a spin on the twinkly Tuileries Ferris Wheel.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, Parisian Living | 8 Comments »

Paris’ Hidden Gems: Secret Movie Locations

Hotel du Nord - Lisa WeathersbeeLisa Weatherbee – Hotel Du Nord

NOT the Eiffel Tower. We’ve seen it so many times! From the Lumière Brothers’ 1897 Panorama to Merchant Ivory’s 2003 Le Divorce. You can also forget Sacré-Coeur (Amelie, 2001) and Notre Dame (all the Hunchback movies). But there are hidden romantic movie locations all over Paris waiting to be discovered…

L’Hôtel Du Nord  – Hôtel Du Nord – Michel Carné (1938).

Now this one’s complicated so listen carefully. When Michel Carné made his classic movie of doomed love and dreams of escape in 1938, the decrepit Hôtel Du Nord on the Canal Saint Martin had already closed. So set designer Alexandre Trauner reconstructed the building and a whole stretch of the canal (complete with bridges) on a soundstage outside Paris. The real-life hotel was saved from demolition by its newfound on-screen fame and is now a restaurant of the same name, capitalizing on the movie’s retro glamour. It’s well worth a stop for its boho setting as well as its manouche (gypsy jazz à la Django Reinhardt) nights every Thursday. Sadly the hotel does not actually rent out rooms.

Hotel Du Nord - Lisa WeathersbeeLisa Weatherbee – Hotel Du Nord

La Place de FurstembergL’Appartment – Giles Memouni (1996)

I’m finding it difficult to track down the ‘little Place near the Luxembourg gardens’ where the lovers in L’Appartment, Giles Memouni’s 1996 little-known but impossibly romantic and twisty Hitchcockian thriller, meet, or fail to, but I think it’s the Place de Furstemberg in Saint Germain. Additional romance factor – Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci, the Brangelina of French film, met on set. While you’re there, you can also visit 19th century painter Delacroix’s house and studio, now a museum, in the corner of the Place. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Tours and Classes | 6 Comments »

Totally Seine in Paris – Getting Around by Boat

As sunny days gain hold in Paris, an excellent, and somewhat secret, transportation alternative shines through. Linda Donahue, HiP Paris friend and founder of Parisien Salon, details a sun-and-scenery-filled metro substitute: Paris by boat!

View of the Seine - Erica BermanPhotos Erica Berman

A few years ago, during one of Paris’ notorious strikes, the metro and the buses were shut down for nearly a week. After a few days of going à pied, I realized I needed to figure out some alternative transportation to get across the city to the Marais. That’s when, after years of getting around Paris, I discovered the Batobus. It was a revelation.

Batobus Paris is a hop on, hop off shuttle service on the river, offering eight stops along both the left and right banks: Tour Eiffel, Musee d’Orsay, St-Germain-des-Pres, Notre Dame, Jardin des Plantes, Hôtel de Ville, Louvre and Champs-Elysees. You can buy a one-, two- or five-day pass that lets you get on and off the bus as many times during operating hours as you’d like. There are no guided commentaries offered, but it’s as good a way to sightsee as any other. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 1 Comment »

A Paris Collage by Evan Robertson

Having lived in Paris, our friend Nichole and her husband Evan have serious skills when it comes to capturing the aesthetic details that make this city so gorgeous. For Christmas this year, Evan gave Nichole an illustration he had done of the main Rose Window at Notre Dame. One illustration led to others (in other colors), and Evan put together this awesome color-themed collage by integrating the illustrations with photos that he and Nichole have taken in Paris. We’re in love!






Photos by Evan Robertson

Written by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Posted in Arts, Events | 5 Comments »

Something for Everyone on Christmas Day in Paris

Ornaments
Ornaments at Christmas market. Photo: hotels-paris-rive-gauche.com

Text by Emma Haberman

With just a few more chocolates left in the advent calendar, it’s time to finalize those Christmas Day plans. If you’re not at home, there’s no better or more magical place to be on December 25th than the City of Light. Though national museums and many stores are closed, there are plenty of ways to take in the city and still celebrate the holiday season in style. A few suggestions for a very HiP Christmas: Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, Parisian Living | 3 Comments »

Exploring Paris’ Art & Architecture with Context Tours

a-gargoyle-on-notre-dame-catherdral-in-paris1Gargoyle on Notre Dame – www.photosfan.com

While Paris is the perfect city for aimless ambling, there is a time and a place for directed exploration. Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of taking Context Tours’ “Art and Architecture of Gothic Paris” walk. While Context always keeps their tour groups small (usually 6 people max.), I was fortunate enough to have the tour all to myself, and—as is typical of Context tours— the docent was happy to customize the experience to my specific areas of interest. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Tours and Classes | 2 Comments »