Rue Cler, in Paris 7th Arrondissement, is Famous as a Market Street:
Rue Cler is a street in the 7th arrondissement that begins in the north at rue Saint-Dominique and ends in the south at Avenue de la Motte Picquet. For the many visitors who come in search of rue Cler, the interesting part of this street is the 230-metre pedestrian mall that stretches between rue de Grenelle and Avenue de la Motte Picquet. This section of the iconic rue Cler is a lined with cafés and restaurants and shops selling the finest wines, cheeses, olive oil and more.
A Trip Down Memory Lane in rue Cler
When we were first brought to rue Cler by our expat Parisian friends many years ago, the cheese shops left an indelible impression on me, as did the busy sidewalk cafés and restaurants full of stylishly-dressed locals enjoying their weekend lunch out. So, we made a trip here to see if the area had changed.
We started our stroll of rue Cler from the southern end of the street where eateries like the Café Central at no. 40 rue Cler and the Café du Marche next door were doing a busy trade. La Fromagerie at 31 rue Cler had every French cheese under the sun. I quickly held this shop in high esteem when I found that they had truffle cheese.
Another shop that was packed with goodies was Davoli the delicatessen. Although I don’t eat meat, I did appreciate the nice displays of various cured meats and they looked of good quality. Across the street is Wine Nicholas where you can get advice on choosing your French wine.
For people living in the area, Rue Cler also has fruit and vegetable shops, bread shops, butchers and a poissonnerie. Along the 230-metre pedestrian mall you can buy almost anything that you would need for a picnic or preparing food at home.
The Changing Face of rue Cler
Rick Steves raves about rue Cler and so we came with the expectation of finding more American tourists here. Tony and I had a little competition going that the first one to spot a tourist with Rick Steves’ guidebook would collect $10 from the other. In fact we did better than that … the first person that we spoke to in rue Cler was a lady who said that she was on a Rick Steves tour. There was certainly a larger number of American tourists in the area and the younger clientele in the cafés were more casually dressed than the ‘tres chic’ French diners that I remembered of years ago.
Ironically, since Rick Steves’ recommendation that rue Cler is one of his favourite spots to experience the Parisian lifestyle, the small food street is now also full of Americans following his guidebook trail.
Although Rue Cler is still a thriving market street full of French shopkeepers and their delicious food offerings, it has become rather touristy. If you’re in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower, it’s worthwhile making a little detour to take a stroll here. Otherwise, there are other market streets like this in Paris – rue Montorgueil in the 1st arrondissement and rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissement are a couple that come to mind.
Trivia: Although rue Cler has a reputation as a market street and food destination, the street was actually named after the distinguished French Brigadier Jean Joseph Gustave Cler, who died in 1859 at the Battle of Magenta.