I don’t need anything special in Paris. I could be completely happy doing nothing more than walking around, drinking coffee, and reading the newspaper. I don’t mind the perpetually grey skies. They enhance the atmosphere created by the narrow cobblestone streets, the tin roofs and red chimneys of the Haussman era apartment buildings, corner cafes with their sidewalk seating and the murky, contained mirrored waters of the Canal St. Martin. There’s more photos on flickr.
I want to give a huge shout out to the restaurant Le Berber, located at 62 Rue Crozatier in the 12eme arrondissement. It can be surprisingly challenging to find North African restaurants with vegetarian options and sometimes those that have them are often really expensive and not very good. Not so with this one! Not only are they reasonably priced, but they made us vegetarian tagine, even though it was not on the menu and the mixture of piping hot vegetables, dried fruits and spices in the tagine let me know that it was as fresh as could be.
I’ve been reading a book about travel writing and one thing that the author stresses that is important for travel writers is to be open to the unexpected and be willing to investigate. I felt this advice boded well for me when, thinking I would write some cute piece on “romantic Paris,” I tried to go to the Musee de la Vie Romantique, but it was closed during the installation of their new exhibition. However, I found something even better on the Rue Chaptal, near the museum. There was a small impasse coming off the street and I noticed the sign said “Bibliotheque.” Noting there was a garden, I decided to go in, because I love the gardens and courtyards in Paris hidden behind outer, street facing walls. I was not disappointed in the least. This, comfortable, renovated library with futuristic looking chairs, computers and newspapers available for browsing is snugly located in an 18th century hotel particular. They’ve kept the details like the fireplace, frescoed ceiling and moldings intact, and reading Le Monde in such a salon-like setting felt like a truly unique Paris experiences.