i really enjoyed my time in the left bank(rive gauche in french) that it deserves another post! the left bank was traditionally an area that cultivated a whole community of artists such as picasso, rimbaud, hemingway, matisse, etc. this area south of the seine also houses the university of paris or what is fondly called sorbonne which again, deserves a separate post – sentimental as my grandfather lived in paris and studied at the sorbonne during the 1920s.
what i liked the most about left bank is that it appears to be the more laid back part of paris. even its most famous shopping area, st germain, has a certain chill atmosphere about it.
this whole area is anchored by historic paris department store – le bon marche
it is also regarded as the first department store in the world. the building itself is a piece of art since part of its structure was designed by gustave eiffel.
inside is a treasure trove of merchandise worthy of delusional retail therapy. perfectly picked pieces from celine to lanvin to vanessa bruno to cacharel. even the beauty section on the ground floor was like a candy store filled with high-end, mainstream and french perfumes and cosmetics.
even the home section was a haven for total drool-worthy pieces that makes me wish i’d start renovating our house.
right across the street is bon marche’s gourmet supermarket the la grande epicerie. it is a food lovers’ dream!
think new york’s dean and deluca meets HK’s city super times 100. if only i’ve been to eataly, i would probably compare grande epicerie to that too. but alas. anyway.
wall to wall gourmet and artisanal food and condiments. my friend L and I bought a ton of cheese, dried meats, canned foie gras, truffle oil. i even got a few sticks of butter and some fleur de sal.
i would have brought home some bread too if it weren’t so ridiculous to have a luggage full of food. hahahaha.
the patisserie in the grande epicerie was also pretty amazing.
of course i had to taste the macarons! YUM.
if you’re looking for a less hectic shopping area where you can actually stroll and hang out, st germain is for you. most of the cool stores are here anyway.
lastly, this lovely bistro was really good. i just randomly picked it as it was the most full during the lunch hour and i got a table just by the edge of the outside section. ordered a house red and roast beef salad and as i soon as i got my wine, ina garten -yes, the barefoot contessa– and her husband jeffrey took the table beside me. i was screaming in my head! my mom and i are huge fans. i overheard their conversation that they just got to paris and went straight here, one of their favorite bistros in the city. they also ordered the roast beef salad. i texted my mom and was tweeting about it. i felt a little shy to whip out my camera but i did talk to her after my meal.
me: hi ina, sorry to bother you and your husband but my mother and i are huge fans!
ina: aww that’s so sweet. you’re in paris for a vacation too?
me: yup, for a couple of weeks
ina: great! are you from connecticut?
me: *puzzled look*
nyek, siguro it’s my pseudo northeast accent. kekekeke.