This morning, when I reached the turn-around point on my morning walk, I decided to come home on Boulevard St-Germain rather than returning along the quais. The boulevard is one of the arterial roads created by Baron Haussmann during his reconstruction of Paris. In its present form, it dates only to the 1870’s, although portions of it are quite ancient. It runs from the Seine, right at the point where the National Assembly sits on the Left Bank looking across the river to Place de la Concorde, in a gentle arc through the seventh and sixth and then the fifth arrondissements, ending once more at the river where the Institute of the Arab World is located.
As I walk along the boulevard in the 6th, I see ahead of me, across the street, the garish round neon sign of Brasserie Lipp. Soon I come to two famous cafés: Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots. All three are literary landmarks in Paris, and in fact each of them sponsors a literary prize. But Les Deux Magots is far and away the most famous, because it was here that Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, and Bertolt Brecht hung out.
Here it is at 6:45 a.m.