We had nothing in particular on the list for the day - maybe just a maendering walk around the 5th and 6th arrondissements of the left bank of the Seine. Although definitely touristy by the Seine, the back streets and lanes can hold some surprises. We've stayed in the area on a few previous occasions and feel very comfortable there. We even return to the same cafes just to see if the same waiters are there. There is one little cafe in the Sorbonne we had breakfast at in 2006 and he was still there last year.
Named after a hermit, Severin lived on the banks of the Seine during the early 5th century. On his passing he was buried on the site where the current church is today. Previously though a small church was built over the tomb of Severin - the old church was burnt down to the ground and by the early to the mid 1500s the church we see today evolved.
The gargoyles, flying buttresses and the beautiful and colourful lead light stained glass windows are at a size where they can be appreciated better than some of the more grand cathedrals of France.
It was in fact Shakespeare and Co that I wanted to visit - a bookshop that sits on the left bank of the Seine and looks across to Notre Dame. Shakespeare and Co originated in 1919, foundered by Sylvia Beach, an American lady who opened this English language bookshop in Paris. It had two previous incarnations in other locations on the Left Bank leading up to the war. Sylvia Beach closed the doors during the German Occupation in 1940, never to reopen.
Sitting at the counter was George Whitman's daughter who ran the shop. Whitman gave her the name Sylvia Beach Whitman. I bought the book, she gave me my change and I tucked under my arm and we returned to our apartment where I opened the first few pages to discover the word of Sylvia Beach.
We were now half way through our two weeks in Paris which I mentioned in an earlier post was to celebrate my 60th year. There was still so much more to see yet the time seemed to be flying by.