As I mentioned on previous posts, I stayed in the 6th arrondissement in Paris during this trip. Paris is divided into 20 small districts called “arrondissement” and each neighborhood has its share of charms. Understanding the layout of Paris can be a little tricky at first since the numbers spiral out from the center of the city outward, as opposed to in a grid-like fashion in, say, Manhattan. It took me a while to figure out why the 6th arrondissement is right above the 14th, etc., but once you figure out the general blueprint, navigating through the city is very simple. And the metro system in the city is simply amazing. You can get around anywhere by using the metro (subway) and a train system called RER. Think of RER (there are a total of five lines, A, B, C, D, and E) as main arteries and metro lines as small veins running through your body.
When I visited Paris five years ago, I stayed in the 10th arrondissement because the hotels were relatively less expensive than other posh neighborhoods but it turned out that there was nothing really happening in the area. I ended up “commuting” to St. Germain, a more fashion-savvy area full of exciting shops and legendary cafes in the 6th Arrondissement daily, and I promised myself then that the next time I visit Paris, I will make this place my home away from home. I think of the St. Germain neighborhood as something like Robertson Blvd. in Los Angeles, that is full of modern and artsy boutiques, as well as high-end brands.
As you can tell, I am a huge fan of this area and consider this to be the best neighborhood to stay in, even though the hotels can be little pricey. If you are a fan of Ina Garten, aka Barefoot Contessa, like me, you can find many shops that she introduced in her cookbook, Barefoot in Paris, as well as the Food Network special on Paris here. In fact, her Paris apartment is located on the border of the 6th and 7th arrondissements, on Boulevard Raspail, only a few blocks from the hotel Maya and I stayed called Odeon St. Germain. Some of Ina’s favorite stores, such as Poilane, Gerard Mulot, Bethelemy cheese shop, Café de Flore and Pierre Herme, are a mere blocks away.
I was particularly thankful that Gerard Mulot, a pastry and deli shop loved by the locals and the tourists alike, was right across the street from the hotel.
Maya and I frequented this lovely shop almost daily, sampling from staples like Pain de Chocolate (chocolate croissant) and Croque Monsier (hot ham and cheese sandwich), and fancier offerings like Salmon and Avocado Mousse and several different types of quiche in buttery dough. And the macarons here, as you can imagine, are absolutely to die for.
There is a reason why, in the city where you can find wonderful pastry shops virtually in every corner, this place is considered the best in Paris. It’s a pretty impressive reputation, where even the not-so-good shops are probably ten times better than the best ones in the states!
76 Rue de Seine, 6th arrondissement, and other locations
Metro: Odeon or Mabillon
Thank you, Maya, for taking some wonderful pictures used here!