Sandra Gulland is the author
of "The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B." She was recently
in Europe researching her next novel and promises JW a report on
Josephine's favored health spa still in existence in France. Sandra
is a cosmos, it's a carnival, it's a never-sleeping, never-ending
comedy. I spent hours just watching the street activities from my
window. It's a city devoted to pleasure: cafes and restaurants everywhere.
For me, it's the perfect city
to travel in alone. The nights are open to a woman in Paris: I found
I could walk and also ride the metro at night without feeling in
the least bit uncomfortable (in large part because the streets I
walked on were always bustling with activity). I came to love the
metro, that world underground: each station so unique, buskers everywhere,
filling the tunnels and trains with wonderful music (Once a jazz
band even got on a train and began playing).
My Best Hotel!
In Paris I love to stay at:
Hotel des 3 Colleges
16, rue Cujas
Tel: 1 43 54 67 30
Fax: 011 33 1 46 34 02 99
women can expect a tiny perfect room and private bath,
bright, fresh and nicely designed, including a desk.
Singles are 370 ff (approximately $100 Cdn./$65 US )without
a breakfast, but it can be ordered separately. The neighborhood
is great: a student district (around the corner from
the Sorbonne), a short walk to Luxembourg Gardens (lovely
for breakfast on a sunny morning), a block from rue
St. Michael. It's a good 5 minute walk to the metro
(but in Paris, who cares?).
Some Eating Spots Are More
Fun Than Others!
always shocked when I tell them I eat ethnic food in Paris,
but the fact is, Paris is a truly international city, and
the ethnic food is not only wonderful but cheap. My favorites,
both French and otherwise, are within walking distance of
the Hotel des 3 Colleges:
The Chinese restaurant
on rue Cujas next to the hotel, toward rue St. Michael (sorry
I don't know the name) has wonderful food. It's cheap (under
$15 for a tasty and filling 3-course meal), has a nice atmosphere
and is well-lit (for book reading if you're alone).
And the French cafe
right near it is great for a splurge: very tasty French
fare, intellectual Sorbonne clientele, chic and well-lit,
the perfect atmosphere for writing poetry over lunch.
Nipoyake (21, rue
Monsieur le Prince): good Japanese fare, always bustling,
fast service and noisy, but in a lively way.
Polidor (41 rue Monsieur le Prince): Seating is at big tables
with others, friendly, great atmosphere, (They claim James
Joyce ate here), cheerful, but over-priced, I felt, for
fairly medium French fare. Nevertheless, I invariably go
there and enjoy myself.
Au Petite Ramoneur
(74, rue St. Denis at rue des Pecheurs). Located in the
heart of Les Halles-- this spot is a long walk from the
hotel (but worth it). It's filled with tourists (interesting
ones) and Paris regulars. Expect four courses plus wine
(help yourself!) Only 58 ff. Both the decor and service
charmingly basic and lotsa' fun!
I Can't Resist Bookstores!
and Company (37, rue de la Bucherie) is down by the Seine.
Expect used books, an eccentric atmosphere bursting with
fabulous, mind-expanding "reads." Proprietor, George Whitman
is straight out of Dickens, his customers straight out of
The Abbey Bookshop
(29, rue de la Parcheminerie), the Canadian bookstore in
Paris, is not far from Shakespeare and Company. You'll find
a wonderful selection of new and used books in both French
and English. Canadian books are featured, but other countries
are represented as well. They frequently host author readings,
so check their schedule.
in Paris! At outdoor cafes, French men don't just simply
sit. They've perfected their elegant slouch and pretense
of casual indifference as they check-out the female passers-by.
Evelyn Hannon, Editor, Journeywoman Online