From Grand Powers, cross over the river past the Champs-Elysées and aim for the Left Bank that stretches along the south side. The Right Bank, with its grand boulevards, haute bourgeois’ designer stores and elegant symmetrical squares might perfectly suit the banks, businesses, foreign embassies and royal residences. But the other side tells an edgier, more bohemian story.
Start by exploring the Latin Quarter – the inspirational locations for absinthe-quaffing artists, jazz musicians, writers, scientists and students at the Sorbonne. This is where American novelists dined, Sartre debated with de Beauvoir, and Buffon planted revolutionary new ideas on natural history.
Ernest Hemingway fans can step into his literary shoes at his favourite watering hole, the Brasserie Lipp on Boulevard Saint-Germain. Since 1900, the city’s intellectuals and fashionistas have flocked to its mirrored walls, leather banquettes and ceramic tiles decorated with parrots and cranes. And it’s still an imagination-stirring place to read a book with a coffee or ice-cold beer.
Bibliophiles will also want to visit the world-famous Shakespeare & Co bookshop on the Rue de la Bûcherie. Inside, you’re greeted by a gloriously chaotic scene of books and rare publications in teetering piles. It’s easy to imagine writers from the past seeking refuge and like-minded company here.Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Durrell and Anaïs Nin even had a bedroom upstairs.