English (De L’Eglise Saint Germain–Des-Pres) Church
If you are popping out to Paris to check out the fashion, street-life and see some nice culture while on the left bank, you could do worse than visit the St Germain area of Paris. It’s a really nice easy-going cool place with lots of culture, a great chance to see the left bank and walk those Hemingway streets. You can see some good things within just 10 minutes upon arriving. Go see the monument to Apollinaire that Picasso had put up for his memory in the yard of the English (De L’Eglise Saint Germain–Des-Pres) Church.
Get off the metro at St Germain, and right there on the platform is a display case of many famous writers work including Sartre, Cocteau, Hugo, Proust and Apollinaire. Come out of the metro and right outside is the English church. Walk down the side of the church and there is the monument to Apolliniare. – see, done in 10 minutes. Just to confuse things, the monument is of Picasso’s lover Dora Maar, due in some part to his fall out over his design(s) for the Apollinaire piece with the local council.
Check out Apollinaire’s work especially his calligrammes, which are letters and words displayed as images recognizable pictures such as a vase of flowers and a horse. A couple of interesting things about the poet include him being attributed to coining the term surrealism, and after fighting for the French in the first world war died on the last day.
Shakespeare and Company
Right by the Church is a wonderful bookshop called the Librairie La Hune, cool, neat and stuffed with beautiful simple white backed books- and lovely staff.
Go do the Shakespeare and Company mentioned in Hemingway’s A Movable Feast’. It is the total opposite of Librairie La Hune, colourful, busy and noisy. You may have to search for a copy of A Movable Feast as they are not always on the display tables, but they will stamp it with a great Shakespeare and Co seal stamp inside, and have it wrapped it up sweetly by a cheery American girl.
Bridge of locks
The shop is opposite the bridge with the locks, where there are thousands of little (and some not so little) padlocks attached to every part of the mesh handrail running across the Seine. Head towards the Luxembourg Gardens (good outside coffee stand – and loo!) and after get lost in the shops, lots of independent fashion, and even the more well known stores seem fresh and new – see next blog...