I picked our Paris apartment by happenstance. Visitors had left positive reviews on homeaway.com. It was a good bit less pricy than comparable places in the Marais or the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, and it had ample space for our grand-daughter Devon, Kathy and I though it’s just a one bedroom.
But now that we’ve been here, a block from the St. Placide Metro stop on Rue de Vaugirard, for five days, I don’t believe I’d look anywhere else when we return to Paris (and this is our favorite city). First off, the two Metro stops within a block can get you pretty much anywhere in tourist Paris within 30 minutes. Secondly, our apartment is just two long blocks from Au Bon Marché, Paris’ oldest department store, which includes an incredibly cool supermarket with everything from special sections for foie gras to fromage, and just about everything in between.
What’s more, the neighborhood is both lively and not loud, a good combination for travel. And the streets nearby, especially, Rue du Cherche Midi, are filled with small restaurants, bistros and wine bars. You’ll find everything you might want here — small specialty kids, clothing and jewelry stores; plenty of boulangeries and wine stores, even a specialty store just for different types of rum. And if you prefer a hotel to an apartment, there are several small three-star hotels scattered around the neighborhood.
This area doesn’t have the cachet of some Paris neighborhoods. But I suspect that, were we not here with Devon, we’d find enough variety in the restaurants within a few blocks to eat out every night for a week in great neighborhood settings. These are small, intimate places, filled with 30- and 40-something locals, not tourists.
I don’t know just what this neighborhood is called. But it’s just five blocks from the rambling, family-friendly Luxembourg Gardens and right on the cusp of Saint-Germain-des-Pres and Montparnasse. It looks to be gentrifying pretty quickly from what we see around us so check it out soon — before prices go up.