About 30 years ago, Bute Street, a modern road of business units joining the old Victorian ways of Harrington and Old Brompton, was already a busy shopping centre.
Professionals, mostly French such as Jacques Rosselli QC, would come on Saturdays to get meat at Arthur's - the best butcher in London - and their salmon at the fish shop opposite before flying off to Paris for the weekend en famille.
High taxes, rates and a lack of a new clientele forced many shops to close. The street became the dullest in the district.
Then Madame Galidzine opened up the first French bookshop of South Kensington on the premises of the Polish delicatessen. Stefan the owner was a real character, talking non-stop and taking ages to serve you, but delivered your groceries to the top of the liftless old houses.
The first bookshop was a turning point. Suddenly, the street became a student's haunt with tables and chairs outside. One Saturday, to my surprise there was a long queue at one of the book shops of people wanting to meet Juliette Binoche.
More elegant still was a cocktail party celebrating sculptures in the small, beautifullyarranged other bookshop.
The latest novelty is the new fishmonger on the site of Arthur's - we wish them well. Astreet market from 10am-1pm on Saturdays completes this lovely picture of a busy charming street.
May the newcomers wash thoroughly their pavements to keep its style.
Long live Bute Street. Marie Karpinska Harrington Road South Kensington