What We Love About Travel – Discovering the Less Obvious
Gradually they began gathering in the street, speaking words we did not know. Tables began to appear along the cobbled sidewalks. What had been a quiet, quaint “rue” during the day was coming alive with neighbors returning from their workday.
At the corner coffee shop/bar, people greet each other in a way familiar to the “Cheers” crowd.
We were on our way to the gelato shop a block over. In the short week we were there, it had become a favorite destination. There, they present their sculptured gelato cones as flowers that are as delicious as they look.
Passing the windows of tiny storefronts filled with specialties, we are taken with a particular window holding a collection of small, handcrafted figurines mostly lead, and hand painted. Inside the small shop named Au Plat D’e’tain, we find legions of toy soldiers from the many wars witnessed here. There are representations from the Napoleonic wars, including Napoleon on his horse, the Soldiers of American and French Revolutions and their opponents, World War I and II and many others, including some we had never heard of.
These items were priced to reflect craftmanship and artistry. It was difficult to leave without Napoleon, but we settled for a smaller version from the French Foreign Legion.
A quiet lady inside (who’s name we could not catch), shared the history of this little shop. We were amazed to find it was established in 1775, Au Plat D’e’tain is located at 16 Rue Guisarde, in the 6th Arrondissement.
Just around the corner was “home” during our stay in Paris, on Rue de Canettes (Street of the little ducklings). The street is first noted in the year of 1260, known at that time as Rue Saint-Soulpice. It has had several names since, including Rue Neuve-SaintSulpice in the 14th century, Rue Viracouble around 1540. It became Rue de Canettes in 1636.
We continue to be amazed by the age of the neighborhood. Something those of us raised in America’s Southwest have difficulty wrapping our minds around.
Rue de Canettes and Rue Guisarde intersect just north of the Church of Saint Sulpice and a short walk from Luxembourg Gardens. The shopping is eclectic and somewhat high end. There are plenty of cafes nearby, the coffee is strong, the gelato delicious, the pizza – well different.
If you are visiting Paris, it is a good place to take a peaceful walk along narrow streets shaded by the buildings of this historic neighborhood.
We are sometimes asked what we love about travel. Today’s entry: Discovering the less obvious.