A few months ago we were out and about shopping in Paris when Mr. French realized that he was about to miss France’s last game in the annual Six Nation’s rugby tournament. We needed a pub, and quickly. The Auld Alliance, a Scottish pub and rugby bar, was mercifully close, but as we arrived, there were crowds and crowds of drunken adults wearing absurdly large green-framed glasses and even sillier green-furred party hats. How could we have forgotten? It was St. Patty’s Day!
The Auld Alliance is home to some serious rugby fans, so the Irish revelers had been given the boot to make room for the sports fan. Mr. French was visibly relieved. Inside it was a mad crush, with lots of enthusiastic fans stomping on my lovely blue boots. I like rugby, but I needed some air. Which is how I found myself alone, exploring the Village Saint-Paul on a Saturday.
The Village Saint-Paul, in the Marais, is a series of four connecting courtyards that run parallel to the rue Saint-Paul. It is charmingly removed from the local hustle and bustle but resolute in the center of it all, with large old trees and copious vines providing plenty of greenery and a collection of interesting little curio shops and antique stores.
While wandering through here last week, I came across the Galerie Basia Embiricos, where I found an impressive collection of photos by Life photographer David Douglas Duncan, featuring a friend on holidays at his beachside home. Sounds mundane, but the home was a castle, and the friend was Pablo Picasso.
I like to stop at Cassiopée and look at all the antique tableware, even if it is no longer part of my lifestyle. The flatware collection is particularly seductive. Farther along, I saw hat shops, antique-poster stores and a table with baskets of caféware that would make the perfect souvenirs for men at home.
Around the corner, the restaurant Montécao has a lovely green house for diners enjoying a light, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, making outdoor dining tempting on even the grayest of Parisian days. It’s the perfect place to rest after a day spent shopping in Paris.
17–19, rue Saint-Paul, in the 4th Arrondissement.
01 42 71 06 07.
Editor’s note: If you are planning a trip beyond Paris, Girls’ Guide can help. We have châteaux and romantic hotels throughout France that we’ve handpicked for you to stay in, and if you are a member, you’ll get 10 percent off!