Yesterday I only had one class, after which I met up with a Stanford friend who was visiting Paris with his family for an afternoon of shopping and strolling. Well, I did most of the shopping, but he was a good sport about it.
At my roommate’s suggestion, we started at Montparnasse-Bienvenue and headed toward Saint Germain on Rue de Rennes, making a brief detour at the Jardin du Luxembourg. Rue de Rennes and its many side streets are full of cool, trendy boutiques - perhaps almost too much so. I caught my first real glimpse of French hipsters, and I’d say they’re probably more intimidating (more hip?) than American hipsters.
Rue de Rennes is also notable because it ends at Boulevard Saint-Germain, where the famous Café de Flore and Les Deux Magot (old haunts of philosophers, intellectuals and writers) sit side by side. Originally I thought it would be a nice way to end the evening - eating at a restaurant that Ernest Hemingway used to frequent - but a glance at the pricey menu suggested otherwise.
We continued wandering the neighborhood looking for more affordable fare when, just around the corner, we stumbled upon the popular Le Relais de L’Entrecôte. Judging by the high concentration of English-speakers it’s a big draw for tourists, although I’m not exactly sure why. What it offers is a fixed-price set menu consisting of salad as appetizer, followed by the main dish: steak (drenched in the secret house sauce) and french fries. Not to mention you get a refill on the latter.
We agreed that the food (although tasty!) wasn’t quite worth the long wait to get seated but, all things considered, it was a good end to a good day.