A to Cray-Z 2017 –
All about the week that I nearly drove my husband crazy. In Paris.
Last October, my husband and I spent a month in France. Nine of those days we spent in Paris. We sought out a street in Paris for every letter of the alphabet, and we set foot in every arrondissement de Paris. This is not for the faint of heart. Or anyone who fears lots of walking. Or stairs. Or trop de baguettes. Or le Métro.
Ça veut dire — Do not try this at home, folks.
Alors, mes chers lecteurs…have you been to Paris? Have you walked on this street? Does this street make you dream or think of a story? Tell me in the comments!
French verb for this street: universaliser
Les traductions peuvent universaliser les pensées d’un auteur pour tout le monde.
U is for Rue d’Ulm
Rue : Rue d’Ulm
Arrondissement : 5e
C’est où ? (where is this?)
What was it like for us?
We found this street on the day we strolled around the Latin Quarter. It also happened to be “book day” for us. I convinced my adoring husband that we should spend one of our Paris days mostly looking at books. So we visited the bouquinistes along the Seine, where I found a lovely seller of cookbooks, and bought a very tiny one for 2€. And then we found another bouquiniste who had a really nice book that we (we meaning she and I) thought my husband could work on reading in French. It is part of a series of regular books “made simple” for kids and for FLE students. He hasn’t read it yet. I still have high hopes that he will! Then we made our way to the famous Shakespeare & Co. , a shop that specializes in English-language books and quaintness. It has a fascinating history!
After we left Shakespeare & Co. , we walked past a curious little square which contained the oldest tree in Paris, lovingly restored to life and carefully preserved. The placard says it was planted in 1602! It also happens to be an “Arbre Remarquable de France“, (Remarkable tree of France) bien sûr…
Then we made our way to the Latin Quarter, home to the famous Sorbonne University and a ton of students. That evidently means that there are also a lot of comic book stores, because we found (and checked out) quite a few of them. We found Rue d’Ulm as we walked our way around the outside of the Panthéon, someplace we did not do a tour of, but one that would certainly be interesting.
After this, we found yet another site made famous in the now cult-classic French language course vidéos for “French in Action”. If you’re a fan, you’ll recognize this place as the hotel where Robert was living in Paris, the Home Latin. You can still rent a room here, but I did not go in and ask them if they were familiar with the videos!
All this walking made us hungry, so I consulted one of my favorite food blogs, Clotilde Dusoulier’s Chocolate and Zucchini. If you haven’t done so, I’d recommend checking out her site. She also does custom tours of Paris, and I would definitely like to schedule one of those some day! In her guide, I found the best ramen I have ever eaten! She has this awesome map thingy on her site with all her faves. Ippudo was everything she promised it would be and then some. Now, I’ve never been to Japan, so I really can’t compare any ramen I’ve eaten with the “real” thing, but I would hope that this would be close to authentic. The best part is, Ippudo has a restaurant in NYC too, and I am thinking of flying there just to eat ramen.
What’s in a name?
The Ulm Campaign refers to a masterful strategic maneuver by Napoleon Bonaparte which resulted in the capture of Austrian General Mack’s army of 23000 on October 20, 1805 at the Bavarian city of Ulm. It was an important battle in the War of the Third Coalition…Now, I am no history expert, especially military history, so I have only a vague idea of this time period and relied on Google to tell me why they had named this street as they did. Since the Panthéon is the final resting place of many French heroes, I guess they named one of the adjacent streets for a famous battle won by the French. Sure, makes sense to me!
This kind of information remains to me as that bit of high school history class where I wrote something like this in my notebook: “During this time it seems that everyone was always at war with France. I guess they were trying to invade everything.” This was probably right underneath a doodle that may have been a bird, or may have been a heart with angel wings. Nobody knows.
Bonus : Square d’Urfé, 16e
Just a nice little residential area in the 16e, bordering a great trail through the immense Bois de Boulogne. I liked the entrance to the street, flanked by two giant posts with these concrete sphere thingys. It would be a super quiet place to live, but I did not notice a ton of boulangeries around there, so it’s not on my list of dream places to live.
According to the Dictionnaire, Honoré d’Urfé (1567-1635) was a French poet/author who wrote L’Astrée, a love story between two shepherds, Céladon and Astrée. I actually had to look this up. As it turns out, despite my ignorance of the story it’s quite famous! There was even a film, and maybe that’s how I will finally experience it — the story itself is immense, comprised of over 5000 pages. That’s got to be a heckuva love story!
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