Subject: Hotel Lutetia
Rebi, I'm assuming you're wanting specific advice about the area you will be in. We generally stay in an apartment when we're in Paris, but I've had several friends stay at the Lutetia. It is a very nice hotel and yes, there are lots of tourists there. American Airlines use it on some of their vacation plans. Plus, it's in one our very favorites parts of the Left Bank. As you walk out the door of the hotel and turn right on the Rue de Sevres, one of the first places you'll see a small branch of Maison du Chocolate - probably the best chocolate in the Paris. I was fortunate enough to meet Robt Linx - the owner and maestro of chocolate -about 20 years ago before he was discovered. Expensive but worth it. Across the street in the old Escada space, Furla has opened a great store. I don't know if you went to Furla when you were in Florence, but it's one of the best leather stores for purses, etc and incredibly good prices. Behind Furla just walk the several blocks such as rue des St.Peres, Grenelle, Dragon, Rennes, etc. - all the best left bank designers are right there. This entire area is just full of energy and creativity. If you come out the door of your hotel, and cross Blvd. Raspail turn left down rue de Sevres, you'll see a small park and Bon Marche - the only large dept store on the Left Bank. It's very nice, especially at Christmas with some of the best window displays, Bon Marche recently opened a wonderful new food dept. Another block up, behind the main store on the street level. Just the North of Bon Marche is the Paris location for Conran's - very modern London based retail operation. Back to your hotel's front door - maybe turn left this time - and left again on rue Cherche Midi - one of my favorite streets. Everyone says Paris never changing, but over the last 20 years rue Cherche Midi had changed so much. Poilane's is in this block - the most famous bakery in Paris - just get in line - there always is one. Many years ago, there was a picture taken of all the people standing in line in front of Poilane's and the Russians published it showing their people that even in Paris, people have to stand in line for their daily bread. Buy one of everything - just point to the item and they will get it for you. Don't forget the small walnut loaves, the little delicious apple tarts or the butter cookies. If it's not too busy and you want to try, ask if you can go downstairs to see the old oven - I spent an hour down there one day watching them make bread. Next door is Bottega Veneta - sadly about 10 years ago, they moved in an the sweetest little olive oil man retired. Robt. Clergie (my wife can spell this one, not me) is across the street - wonderful women's shoes, etc. That's just the one block radius around your hotel, let me know if you want to know what's in the two or three block radius. Enjoy the Lutetia, it's one of the most magnificent examples of Art Noveau styling (for hotels) in Paris. Bill Sutherland Montefollonico, Italy