A Bookish Tour of Paris (Part 1)

Pain au chocolat for breakfast! YUM!

Ooh là là…

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was going to Paris for 4 days as  present for my 40th birthday (last year): I’m back now after having had the most fantastic time and wanted to share with you some of my trip as there are so many lovely bookish landmarks in Paris:

Mr Whisperer and I stayed in a gorgeous little Parisien appartment in Bastille right next to a patiserie where we got pain au chocolats and croissants each morning to go with our coffee overlooking  a little courtyard. Although we were only a couple of minutes walk from the metro we decided to spend our few days there cycling round Paris instead. Cycling is THE ONLY way to see Paris! You get to see all the bits you don’t travelling by metro and places that you would never have time to see all on foot. It was so easy to get around and we came across places we wouldn’t normally have this way. To top it all it was so much fun!

The first day we went on an organised cycle tour with Bike About Tours which took us to places more off the beaten track (rather than the big well known sites that we can all get to on our own). I can highly recommend this company if you go to Paris.

 

 

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

The first place we stopped on the tour was the Jewish memorial in Le Marais which I was really keen to see as I had read Sarah’s Key only last year. This is part of The Roundup and we stopped at a boys school where 400 Jewish children were forceably taken and sent to the camps.

Amber our tour guide next to the wall of names of those who had helped hide or save Jewish people in France in WW2

I really enjoyed Sarah’s Key (particulalry the historical part of the story) as I hadn’t heard of The Roundup before then. I also watched the film that came out at the end of last year which I can highly recommend too.

 

  Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

The next part of the tour took us to Victor Hugo’s house which is part of Places des Voges. It was once a royal residence and is now split into homes which hardly ever come onto the market (apart from one about 6 years ago for 25.5 million Euros!). We didn’t actually go into the house (although you can) but it was exciting for me to see the author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (neither of which I have read yet although both are on my radar).

Victor Hugo's house

 

  The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola

We then went on to an area of Paris called Les Halles which used to host the biggest and oldest market in Paris. The market is the setting for Zola’s book The Belly of Paris. It doesn’t exist in the same place anymore (in fact it is now just a busy junction with shops and fast food places) but what I did find interesting is the poison shop that still remains all these years later. The market was rife with the pitter-patter of tiny paws so there was a shop selling rat poison right next to the market which still has the stuffed bodies of rats from 1925 hanging in the window.

 

Cute!!

 

  Keep a lookout for the next stops on the bookish tour of Paris – coming soon 🙂

 

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11 thoughts on “A Bookish Tour of Paris (Part 1)

  1. You had a great time, how wonderful to see all those bookish places. Was Mr Whisperer enjoying it too? Well, it was <i?your birthday, I guess! Looking forward to the next post.

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  2. So jealous Boof!
    I’ve been to the Holocaust Memorial in the Marais, but I would like to visit more of the sites described in Sarah’s Key.
    The Place des Vosges was probably my favorite spot in all of Paris.

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  3. Loving this post! I’ve been fortunate to visit Paris twice before, but Tony and I will be visiting it on our upcoming RTW trip (because how could we not?!?) and I’m really looking forward to reading more of your tips on the must-see sites (especially with a bookish bent)! I don’t know why, but I had never considered cycling about in Paris prior to this post, so now that’s certainly on my list of things to do!

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