by Isabella Sharipova-Williams, published the 16th May 2024

Calling all writers, stationery lovers, artists, crafters, bookworms, introverts, and nostalgics – this post is for you!

Morning

We begin the day correctly by getting a hot chocolate from Charles Chocolatier (15 Rue de Montorgueil, 75001 Paris) and a kougelhopf from Enlightenment Era Stohrer (51 rue de Montorgueil, 75001 Paris).

These vittles should be born and safely eaten in the Jardin du Nelson Mandela, overlooking the Church of Saint-Eustache, the markets, and various and sundry Paris bistros, or in the gorgeous Square de la Tour Saint-Jacques, a small park containing a the remaining tower of a Gothic church, or equally the Jardin Anne Frank, if you’re feeling like Mary Lennox or Dickon Sowerby.

Your next stop is L’Ecritoire, down the clandestine Passage Molière, number 26, just off the Rue Saint-Martin, in the 3rd arrondissement.

This is a tiny shop, a family-owned business, est. 1975, where they sell all a manner of quills, pens, inks, sealing waxes, and almost every kind of seal (they have no spoons, though, but if you are looking for one, you can find this in the enchanting Mélodies Graphiques, 10 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, Paris 75004, or the specialist stamp merchant, L’atelier tampons Paris, hidden away at 10 Rue de l’Arrivée, 75015 Paris). L’Ecritoire also boasts a charming collection of cards, stickers, and bookmarks. A souvenir, although not cheap, is one of their delicate, handmade, laser-cut, pop-up cards, showing beautiful scenes of Paris.

Across from the stationers, you can find la Maison de la Poésie, a venue for all things poetic created on the site of an old theatre, and opposite that you can find two bookshops, one dedicated to poetry, from memory, and another to general literature.

If you go further, to the end of the passage, you can find the delightful paper shop of MISAKI IINUMA. I get all of my wrapping paper here. You can get gilded and patterned pages or rolls, or pieces of textured hemp paper, lacy and elegant when finished with a bright satin ribbon or a metallic washi tape. They also stock paper-covered notebooks, pen holders, and boxes, and you can buy sets of offcuts for découpage. To tie it all up, you have the traditional mizuhiki, knots places upon packages and envelopes as a finishing touch.

Lunchtime 

Wonder past the celebrated Centre de Pompidou, turn off onto the Rue Saint-Merri, and walk beside the Fontaine Stravinsky, turn off to your left of the Rue du Cloître Saint-Merri, then onto the Rue des Juges Consuls, out onto Rue de la Verrerie. There, to your right, past a mosaic of a Daft Punk album cover, is La Petite Epicerie, a grocery store of arts and crafts necessities. To your left, you have Lucky Records and Vintage by Ramin. There are quite a lot of vintage stores in the vicinity, and although I know this is a post for the demographic amongst whom many a keen thrifter may be found, vintage shops and fleamarkets are another article for another day. Continue, towards the Seine, down the Rue du Renard, onto the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, onto the Pont Notre-Dame to Rue de la Cité , over the Petit Pont – Cardinal Lustiger. You are now in the Latin Quarter.

Disappear in search of a perfect lunch. If you are feeling very fancy, and want to dine where other famous philosophers, writers, and revolutionaries have in days of old, saunter over to the Café Procope (13 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, 75006 Paris). I, personally, recommend finishing the meal with a hot chocolate. Nearer, there’s a lovely vegan and vegetarian restaurant called Le Grenier de Notre Dame, on 18 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris. If you are looking for something cheaper, you can get a very nice crêpe on the Rue de la Harpe or Rue de la Huchette, or a formule de midi (lunch deal) for less than 20€ in one of the little bistrots there. If you are opting for a crêpe or sandwich, carry it back to the gorgeous, rose-trellised Square Réné Viviani.

After lunch, you may want to check out Shakespeare and Company (who also have a nice café), on 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, or seek the friendly and understated, eccentric and wonderful, Abbey Bookshop, on 29 Rue de la Parcheminerie, very near the imposing Church of Saint-Sévérin.

Altenatively, perhaps you’d prefer to mosey into Cybèle (65 bis Rue Galande) or Les Amies Rouges (10 Rue Domat), both galleries, but the latter also being a French bookshop. Or Charbonnel, for art supplies, on 13 Quai de Montebello. There are lots of bookshops, galleries, and stationers in the neighbourhood – you can follow a trail of them to the quiet oasis (if maybe you really should get some work done, or want to desperately start this new book you’ve bought), Café Nuage, 14 Rue de Carmes.

For 6€/h, you can have all the barista-made coffee and tea you can drink, help yourself to their excellent collection of snacks, make use of their great WiFi connection, and stake your claim to space at a table, or else curl up on an armchair. They also offer very reasonable rates for the day (starting from 24€), or you can become a member! The atmosphere is calm and eclectic, and I love it.

Alternatively, maybe you want to hit one of the museums. You could thoroughly get lost in the Louvre – I don’t think it’s possible to see everything in one day. Alternatively, if you want to go somewhere more off the beaten track, I would suggest the Musée Jacquemart-André (158 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris), or the Musée de Cluny (28 Rue de Sommerard, 75005 Paris), which is closer.

Alternatively, wonder on the banks of the Seine, and check out the stalls that line them. You can find some lovely bookstalls, one in particular near the Pont Saint-Michel, which stocks some books dating to the 17th Century.

If you are an antique book fiend, your address is 3 Rue Benjamin Franklin, 75116 Paris, for Anne Lamort Livres Anciens. This also isn’t far from the Maison de Balzac (47 Rue Raynouard, 75016 Paris).

Twilight

If you have found yourself in the 16th arrondissement, my personal recommendation is to see if you can see a play at the Théâtre le Ranelagh (5 Rue des Vignes), and then have dinner at Café à la Fontaine (12 Rue Boulainvilliers).

Alternatively, head back to the 1st arrondissement. A nice memory of mine was dining at the Bistrot Victoires (6 Rue de la Vrillière) with a university friend, and then heading over to the Théâtre du Palais-Royale (38 Rue de Montpensier). You could make it your mission to witness a great work at the Comedie Française or the Opéra Garnier. Another unique place serving a post-theatre menu is Brasserie Mollard (115 Rue Saint-Lazare, 75008 Paris). If I am perfectly honest, however, the oysters are the star of the menu there (and it is rather expensive). The décor is spectacular, though.

Or go on further, to the 10th arrondissement, to the favourite haunt of monstre sacré Edith Piaf, the Bouillon Julien (16 Rue du Faubourg de Saint-Denis). There are a variety of theatres in the 10th that you can choose from, including Le Splendid (48 Rue du Faubourg du Saint-Martin).

My personal, terribly biased, suggestion is the theatre, but if you are looking for something more quiet, wondering the quais of the Seine, or the Canal Saint-Martin, true flâneur style, maybe sitting down and sketching, catching the glitter of the Eiffel Tower from the Pont de l’Alma, as the sun has set, maybe drink in hand at a bistrot with a terrace if the weather is warm, or window-shopping in the lovely Galerie Vivienne, are also perfect ways to finish the evening.

Night

Head back to your fabulous artist’s hideaway, chic attic, or sumptuous appartment, provided to you by yours truly,

Holidays Europe Rentals.