The rue de Vaugirard is not as romanticized as some other streets in the 6th and 7th so it’s always nice to see a glowing write up in an article that is really more of a review of a hotel at 4, rue de Vaugirard, the Hotel Fontaines.
Rue de Vaugirard is the longest street in Paris. It spans the 6th and 15th arrondissements, a mostly one-way passage dating from Roman times, paved in the 15th century and well maintained by the city since it also is home to the French Senate. Rue de Vaugirard is a delightful walking route that leads from the Latin Quarter to the edge of Paris at the Porte de Versailles. I spent my time on the south end of the street closest to the hotel. The first day I nibbled delicacies (a tough choice to make among three famed local pâtisseries: l’Atelier Pierre Hermé, the Japanese patissier Sadaharu Aoki and Des gâteaux et du pain, so I sampled something from each) and cruised past the former residences of American writers who lived on this street: at #42, William Faulkner; at #58. Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald; at #33, Hemingway’s hangout, the American Club.
I was tempted by numerous three-course lunch specials and nearly settled for an 8E plat at the Brasserie du Luxembourg at nearby Rue Monsieur le Prince. Instead, I opted for a conservative 4-Euro goat cheese baguette from a corner bakery and lunched at the Luxembourg Gardens, for me the heart of the city. It was sunny but windy. It took little prodding to set the rented toy boats on course in the bassin du jardin, also known as the Luco. Unfortunately, the Musée de Luxembourg is closed this year due to renovations, and Le Sénat is open only on Saturday. I consoled myself with an espresso at the historically chic Cafe Tournon across from the Senate. Nearby, still on rue de Vaugirard, I spotted what appeared to be an age-tinted lithograph of porcelain dolls and ancient doll carriages. It was in fact the window of the Musée de la Poupée, a doll museum which also repairs these priceless antiques from someone’s childhood. I felt nostalgic for treasures like these, which have since been supplanted by “Grand Larceny,” the video game that encourages felony crime.
Many of these sites are part of our daily experience when we’re home in Paris, though I’m going to have to check out my history of American writers. I was unaware that Faulkner and Zelda, and Scott lived within doors of our building.