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Credit Doug Crawford In every sense, Paris is a perfect fit for me. I love to eat, I love to watch people, and I love to walk. On our last trip, researching The Paris Librarian, my wife and I averaged seven miles a day, our longest stroll was from the Eiffel Tower to Montmartre and back. And the thing is, it’s no struggle. Every step is a pleasure because Paris unfurls before you like a seductive woman, casually spilling a gaudy, touristy layer to reveal sleek, cream-stone buildings in more residential areas, before turning up the heat with her lithe, winding streets that lead you to the ultimate view of Paris at the Sacré Coeur. Credit Barbara Pasquet James And the reward for all that walking is the food. We ate at New Jawad one evening, on Avenue Rapp, finding for ourselves better Indian food than we’ve ever eaten in England or America. And the service was the opposite of that which my friend David would have expected: full of smiles and jokes, a free drink when I told them I was a writer, and one for my wife, too.
The secret garden of the Hotel de Sens, a medieval palace where a Queen once lived. The palace is now home to a library and art gallery - Bibliotheque Forney. it's undergoing renovation and reopens February 2017. You'll find it not far from Notre Dame, at 1 rue du Figuier WIN A COPY OF THE PARIS LIBRIARIAN BY MARK PRYOR - SEE PAGE 78 But the ultimate meal, and it was good enough for me to send my characters Hugo and Claudia there on a date, was at Il Vino on Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg. The best because the vegetarian meal they prepared for my wife was as good as, if not better, than my own fabulous four courses. And again, fun service with the waiter taking great delight in making us guess each of the different wines he served us with each course. Paris is more than food and the famous sights we all know about (and the wonder of them all being so close, so walkable!) The thing about Paris is that you can find havens of peace amid the pomp and glamor. Step one way and be in the mix, eyeing the stunning Louvre before walking five minutes to a place of peace and quiet like the Jardin de l’Hôtel de Sens, where you can sit on a park bench and watch the pigeons, and the clouds. Even places like the American Library in Paris can surprise. An unassuming frontage, yes, the usual rows of book shelves, of course, but did you know, the place has a secret door? Oh yes, and it’s to be found in the basement, a place that has its own delightfully eerie ambience. There is one secret magnet in Paris for me, though, the place my wife and I know to meet if phones are lost and rendez-vous missed. It’s a spot that gives us a choice of two cafés, a place where three beautiful streets come together, funneling tourists and locals past as you watch and sip coffee. I won’t tell you where exactly, except that it’s in the Sixth Arrondissment, I can’t because it’s mine. Ours. Well, maybe I will if you ask nicely. After all, Paris is love, and love is for sharing...
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