Since our guests have begun to arrive and that will mean even less time for posting I thought I would focus this post on what might be useful information if you happen to come to this area of Paris.
First of all, the apartment at 74 Rue de Rennes is perfectly situated: Two bus lines stop just outside the door; the 95 takes you to the Louvre and ultimately up to Montmartre and the 96 heads over to the Ile de la Cite, Notre Dame, and points further north-east. Of course, they both link up to multiple lines which will take you anywhere. (The bus system in Paris is wonderfully easy to navigate.) Also just outside the door is the St. Sulpice Metro Station if you are more inclined to get somewhere quickly but in a much less scenic manner.
I prefer to walk most places and this area of St. Sulpice remains my favorite. Having experienced walking through the Latin Quarter, over to the Ile de la Cite, to the Louvre and Tuileries among other hot spots, I can say walking along the more quiet streets of St. Sulpice, particularly on the way to Luxembourg Garden, is my choice for just enjoying the streets of Paris. With the occasional small cafe, unique shops and fewer fast-paced Parisians it is a stroller’s paradise.
Of note, you can also walk to tennis at the Luxembourg Gardens from this location. There is an office near the courts where you put in your name to get a court (usually no wait, but plan on arriving near the top of the hour); €8 per hour. When it is busy they limit you to half an hour but this has only happened to us once (remember, we are here in November.)
Fashion and shopping is, of course, everywhere with many stores repeating their presence often and in close proximity (Zadig, Kenzo, Princess Tam Tam, Aubade) but if you need a belt, be sure and stop in at Losco. They have belts of every size, shape, color and skin; first you pick your belt and then you chose from hundreds of buckles, from the simple to the grandiose, and the lovely lady puts it all together while you wait. With a Parisian’s eye for fashion, her assistance is most helpful.
Another great discovery was the open market at the intersection of Boulevard Raspail and Rue de Rennes (200 meters from the flat); Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings with Sunday being the “Bio” day (organic produce.)
Finally, we attended a Chopin concert at Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, the oldest church in Paris. A small venue, it was delightful to be so close to the pianist and to hear the music flowing around the pillars and saturating the stone walls of the church. Although I learned of the concert via a flyer outside of Notre Dame, tickets and more information can be found on the Concert in Paris website.
PS: If you find yourself needing a great lunch spot while visiting Notre Dame, walk over to the Ile St. Louis and dine at the very French and very enjoyable Café St. Regis.
PPS: If you are wondering about Rosco's photo above, I took it because he is constantly called TinTin, particularly by the Asian tourists who clamor to have their picture taken with him (much to River's chagrin.)