Didem Doğan

Paris walks: From St Germain des Pres to Le Marais

A fresh breeze coming from the river as I step outside Rue de Seine in the neighbourhood of St Germain des Pres. It’s a mild December morning and we are having a somehow belated winter with the colours of autumn leaves all around. This neighbourhood has a literary heritage with all the famous characters hanging out at the cafés lined on the boulevard just across this street, today the bookstores are still packed with people and it’s hardly to see people looking at the screen of their mobile phones, which is one of the reasons I like it here. The breeze calls me to the direction of the river, I pass the art galleries, little book shops, and reach the river side. At this part of the old city you have several choices of bridges to cross the river, one of them stands right across me: Le Pont des Arts, a touristically famous one with thousands of love locks on it. While I cross the bridge I look at the right and see the river widening and becoming two small islands in the middle, Ile de la Cité and Ile St Louis, a wonderful morning light is reflecting on them. I find myself at the other side and walk along the river, this time river being on my right side, than decide to go to one of those islands, I choose the small one, Ile St Louis, this area of the city is so well conserved that it makes you feel like you’re moving inside an open air museum. I reach a little square at the south edge of the island, it says ‘Place de Louis Aragon’- isn’t he the owner of the verses ‘there’s no happy love’- , I watch down the river side, a family is feeding birds. Passing again to the river side via Pont de la Tournelle walking towards the neighbourhood of St Michelle, I go inside the wonderful bookstore Shakespeare and Company. Looking at the Notre Dame Cathedral this little bookshop is packed with books, mostly in English, thus very popular among tourists. Going back to Ile St Louis I pass to the northern side of the river this time walking up till the bohemian neighbourhood of Le Marais, where the beautiful Place des Vosges is located. The neighbourhood itself hosts to many famous spots, the Picasso Museum, Visitor Hugo’s House, the synagogues due to its Jewish population and I promise to come back to fully enjoy its streets.