I am not generally a big city fan. However, every preference has it’s counterpoint, and for me, the balance shifts with one word: Paris. There are a selection of cities around the world that call to me, but Paris holds a never-ending fascination.
One main facet of this draw, is the fact that Paris is made up of a series of neighborhoods, intimate streets lined with gourmet delicacies and delicious finds. All of the delights of France come to life in the form of bakeries, chocolate shops, butcher shops, and freshly picked produce. And the cheese! Oh my goodness, the cheese!
image via Flickr by avrene
My favorite street in Paris is rue Cler. Cafes and patisseries compete for business, while boutique hotels nestle among the realities of a working class neighborhood in the form of laundry services and a busy post office. The whole world on one street.
Here is my take on the best of rue Cler.
Transfer to your hotel while admiring the magnificent Eiffel Tower, easily visible along the way. My favorite hotel on the rue Cler is the Grand Hotel Leveque. This charming, boutique hotel sits directly in the center of the action, offering up a marvelous location. Explore Paris, shop and eat along rue Cler, and then walk mere steps to your delightful accommodations. Offering up continental breakfast, free newspapers in French and English, and Wi-Fi, the rooms are comfortably designed, but the real draw is location. Situated just blocks from the Eiffel Tower, and near public transportation, it simply doesn’t get any better.
With a multitude of exciting restaurants, one will never go hungry on the Rue Cler. Although the popular Cafe du Marche is a favorite for many, I prefer the low key ambiance of the Brasserie Aux PTT. Very French. Very delicious. You just can’t go wrong here.
image via Flickr by christopher_brown
Regardless of your tastes, you will be well fed. From Asian restaurants to crepes, to Italian cuisine, this bustling street offers it all.
Now, HERE is where I lose all self-control. My biggest challenge in browsing the shops along rue Cler is that I simply want to BUY IT ALL. Boucheries – Roger Billebault offers the freshest, high quality meats around. In addition to the typical meats found in American butcher stores, the French frequently consume such items such as rabbit, making for a fun browsing experience. Of course, this only makes me long for a kitchen in which to create my own masterpiece!
image via Flickr by jlastras
Now it begins in earnest. My very favorite Parisian day always includes a picnic overlooking the cities magnificent beauty. No such day would be complete without a pause at Halles Bosquet, one of the largest produce markets, offering up an enormous selection of the best quality fruits and vegetables. Prices are competitive, and they frequently offer daily specials up front.
When picnic shopping, there is no better choice than Davoli-La Maison du Jambon. This Italian delicatessen offers up the finest homemade specialties including meats, cheeses, pastas, and side dishes such as roasted peppers.
Wine is an everyday necessity in France, and NYSA- Vins et Spiritueux requires consideration. Their mission statement, built on the idea that wine snobbery should be a thing of the past, is absolutely one I can get behind!
A proper Parisian picnic wouldn’t be complete without bread. Ronde des Pains – Boulangerie & Patisserie. Baguette, flute, rolls? Just choose the perfect bread to go with your perfect cheese selection that you will happily pick up at Fromagerie! The lines can stretch around the block, so plan accordingly, and then relish selecting perfectly ripe cheeses and churned butter, while enjoying the vast knowledge of a professional cheese merchant. A true French requirement.
It doesn’t end there. No French meal would be complete without dessert. Wonderful, rich, and deliciously French. For chocolate head to A La Mere de Famille – Chocolate & Sweet Shop. One of the oldest chocolate shops in Paris, all shapes and sizes will tempt you. Perhaps amazingly light whipped cream is on your mind; dripping with fresh fruit, or wrapped in puff pastry? Maison de la Chantilly will change your life. Lastly, if cookies are your preference, don’t forget to check out La Fabrique- Cookies Paris, selling all sorts of soft and gooey cookies.
image vie Flickr by Moyan_Brenn
To end your gourmand tour of rue Cler, a stop for fresh flowers at Au Nom de la Rose to brighten your day.
This happy jaunt through one single neighborhood in Paris is perfectly indicative of just how enthralling this, most romantic, city still can be. The City of Lights continues to shine bright.