Monday, September 28, 2009

12 Days in Paris: Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe

We started our third day in Paris with a long walk along the Left Bank of the Seine. We strolled past the bouquinistas, second hand bookstalls that have been along the Seine for over a century. We checked out their wares, but found nothing exceptional at a good price, but it was fun. After wandering some of the streets of the Left Bank and having a quick lunch, we walked over to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The lines were too long to venture a trip inside so we opted for a couple of limonades on the Ile Saint-Louis. The timing was perfect, as a wonderful gent pulled up a chair and started playing romantic melodies on his accordion!

Before heading out to Paris, a friend loaned us her copy of Pia Jan Bijkerk’s book Paris: Made by Hand. This book is a good start to finding interesting shops and ateliers that are not otherwise obvious in Paris. We found that where there was one shop of interest, there were often a few others close by. This was definitely true of the Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe. The first block of this small street, just on the right bank across the bridge from Ile de Saint-Louis, is filled with design boutiques, many of which favor paper and stationery.

Melodies Graphiques (10, rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 4e, Metro: St. Paul) is a shop filled with Italian paper, pens, books and stationery. The owner, Monsieur Detugny, is a calligrapher and we spent several minutes watching him do his craft. The wall behind his work desk is filled with envelopes, cards and letters featuring intricate lettering, watercolor paintings and beautiful handwriting. He called it his fan wall, as these are all from customers and friends. Across the room, on the top of the shelf, is a nice collection of vintage inkbottles.

A few doors down is a small custom printing and paper shop that had this intricate die cut card of the Eiffel Tower. The line included a number of other 3-dimensional images, including the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and the Grand Palais.

In between is this colorful collection of hats, gloves and hand made jewelry. The shop, Mi Amor (10, rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 4e, Metro: St. Paul), has a sister shop, Sic Amor, just a few doors up the street.

We found that Paris is loaded with old paper, ranging from Napoleonic letters and documents, to wonderful old books, and magazines and prints from the past 150 years. We found these examples of Art Deco era books at a shop around the corner from our hotel.

TIP:

Many of these small shops keep rather irregular hours. Some close for lunch (often a few hours), others are only open in the afternoon, and many are closed a few days during the week. If you have a particular shop in mind, it is best to check ahead on hours of operation. We missed a few that were closed when we stopped by.

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