The rue Lapin slinks like a pickpocket behind the back of the Théâtre Larache, joining the boulevard Denfert-Rocherau at the rue Saint-Anne. It is a narrow street, without distinction or interest apart from a medieval tower, now closed, from where the French navy claim the discovery of twenty-one planets.

Walk up the rue Lapin in summer and you might miss its other attraction: the statue of a man on horseback, cast in sea-storm bronze. The statue stands back from the road in a recess planted with four copper beeches. The head of its rider is lost in the trees. When the wind parts the leaves, he is revealed in a plumed hat. The hat is waxy with pigeon droppings, like one of the bottles used for candles in the bistro opposite.