The 7th Arrondissement is a place that everyone visits when they go to Paris. It’s the home of the Eiffel Tower, that amazing iconic structure that was built for a World’s Fair and become the symbol for this City of Light. The grounds around the Tower pulsate with tourists from all over the world along with peddlers and, I’m sure, pick pockets galore.
Not too far away is the Les Invalides and Muse’e d’Orsay. The newer Muse’e du Quai Branly, worth looking at if you have the time. I am fascinated with the way the plants grow up the wall.
But the neighborhood behind all the tourist blockbusters is what interests me. We rented a small apartment there because we wanted to experience real French living.Our landlord/manger said lots of families live in this neighborhood as well as very wealthy people who occupy some of the grand old buildings.
The center of life here is Rue Cler. According to many guidebooks, Rue Cler, a two block section of pedestrian street is chock-o-block with marvelous foodie destinations. And they are right. People shop daily here because refrigerators and kitchens are small, they like their food very fresh and shopping is part of the social fabric of French life.
I love food, especially when it is beautifully and appealingly presented. A friend once told me that the first taste is always visual and these shops provide a mouthwatering blast of good flavors. The cheese shops, the fish, the fruits, the bakery. Oh my. A feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
After making our own purchases we enjoy sitting at a café at the main corner, really the living room for the street. We watch the local folks make their way from shop to stall up and down the street, gathering food for dinner, mixing and mingling with friends and going about daily life. It’s a great way to get a feel for the French lifestyle.
The lady on a motor bike in high heels amazed me and I smiled when I saw the four little pooches making their way down the narrow street. Dogs are everywhere, sitting on laps at bars and peeking out of backpacks.
Families with children, old folks grasping their baguettes and young people looking for friends to chat with. It’s fun to see their get ups. And above it all, a resident waters his plants on the balcony above the bakery.
We will be back to see how they thrive.