Time-traveling in Paris — to a tiny hotel in a 17th Century building

Lobby of Hotel Verneuil in Paris
Lobby of Hotel Verneuil in Paris

DAY 3 – Paris — We’ve moved from the heart of fashionable Paris to the St. Germaine neighborhood on the Left Bank and feel like we’ve time traveled, checking in to the tiny Hotel Verneuil, a 26-room hotel that is housed in a 17th century building—totally fitted for 21st century travelers.  Even the elevator and lobby stairs are lined with chocolate leather.  I expect Madeline to run down the stairs any moment.

I learn that the neighborhood is famous for writers including actor James Baldwin who lived here from 1948-49, writing the beginnings of Go Tell it on a Mountain.  Nearby is the Café de Flore les Deux Magos and the Brasserie Lipp where Hemmingway and Camus hung out.

Shopping and dining at night in St. Germaine district of Paris
Shopping and dining at night in St. Germaine district of Paris

I want to go in to every shop!

We have dinner at a tiny bistro on an even tinier street the hotel recommended—Chez Allard—that was picture perfect with white tablecloths and soft lights.  We sip French white wine and have an impossibly good pate followed by frogs’ legs — we’re in Paris after all — that taste like tiny delectable morsels of fried chicken with lemon and garlic.  Our cousins have roast chicken and the tiny roasted potatoes are superb. Is the food so good… or is it that we’re in Paris in one of the most famous neighborhoods in the world where people spill out of the cafes.  This after all is where Hemmingway and Fitzgerald hung out.  Will I get inspired?

Kitchen of Chez Allard in Paris
Kitchen of Chez Allard in Paris

We finish with profiteroles — tiny pastries filled with ice cream and smothered in chocolate sauce.  Yum!

The next night, while our cousins go off to find a church concert, we go to “Latlas” a small bar brasserie on the rue de Buci near the Odeon metro stop, where we drink lovely wine out of a ceramic pitcher and make a dinner of oysters, bread and a fantastic salad nicoise.  Why is it in Paris that the food all is arranged in such a way that it’s too pretty to heat.

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