A walk along the rue du Cherche-Midi will reveal some of the finest 18th-century domestic buildings in the city. Tall structures display a classic line of elaborately carved facade, arched windows and Juliet-style balconies. A statue of a centaur by the French sculptor Cesar stands at one end. This street is home to many Parisians, and is also the location for several fine specialist shops that have replaced the antiques merchants for which the street was once famous.
The renowned Poilane bakery is at No 8, where all kinds of cakes, bread, biscuits and pastries make for a lavish, and extremely tempting, window display. The bakery is just a few doors away from the Musee Hebert, a museum dedicated to the work of painter Ernest Hebert, and housed in a former 18th-century hotel, the Hotel de Montmorency, at No 85. A fashionable portraitist, Hebert was the official painter of the Second Empire and went on to become a director of the Academy of France in Rome. In his honor, the museum displays notable examples of his work.
Located in one of the more picturesque streets, rue Vavin, and within a reasonable walk from the Tour Montparnasse in one direction and the Jardin du Luxembourg in the other, this property stands out from its neighbouring classic 18th-century properties because of its unusually decorated front facade. It has a series of stepped balconies adorned with blue and white ceramic tiles, not dissimilar to those found on some Dutch houses. The building is known as the “Sporting House with Steps.”