My friend Frank the Francophile, an irreverent Irishman, keeps me supplied with travel stories about France I might have missed (and usually have). He has a master's degree in French, and takes great pleasure in correcting me. He enjoys it so much, I am sure he was a Parisian shopkeeper in a past life.
Anyway, Frank pointed me to a copy of this story, which compares the right and left banks of Paris. Thank goodness this is not something we have to choose between. I mean, even if you were lucky enough to live in Paris, you could live on one bank and hang out on another.
Each visitor to Paris finds his or her own city; Paris, after all, is a highly individualized experience. But I am curious are you right bank or left bank?
On our first visit, we took a liking to the area sandwiched between Avenue Rapp and Avenue de la Bourdonnais, literally at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Eventually, we rented a small flat there and enjoyed the daily round first hand, not merely as flaneurs. We even made friends with the lovely lady at Magda Traiteur. I feel very comfortable here.
I am quite enamored with the neighborhood near St. Sulpice, and would like to rent a flat there some day. I was not enchanted with Montparnasse, and found more smokers there than any other area in Paris. Really.
I like the warren of streets in the Latin Quartier, just north of the Pantheon. Something draws me there. My husband likes Tolbiac, and I would like to spend some time in the 14th someday.
I love the Left Bank.
But, oh, my passion for the grittiness of Rue St. Antoine (and Rue de Rivoli, for that matter) is well documented here. I found beauty at the Jardin des Halles, perhaps sensing the spirits of the vendors of the old marketplace. My husband likes the raw energy of Rue de la Roquette; I have to agree. Last fall, we spent a fair amount of time - just off the plane and without our bearings - wandering around the area just north of the Bastille. I really like that quartier, too.
We visit Village St. Paul again and again and we especially love the staff at The Red Wheelbarrow bookshop. We enjoy our fellow customers, too.
A few years ago, our Paris shuttle driver took us on streets we'd never visited just north of the Champs Elysees. It felt elegant to me.
We once made brief foray into Auteuil, which I once read was the part of Paris most like Provence. Must try that out soon.
I love the Right Bank.
Did I mention the islands?
What about you? Come lurkers and Francophiles and tell me what part of Paris - which bank or which island - resonates with you?