5 years ago I wrote about enjoying the Rue Saint-Dominque, one of our favorite walking streets in Paris. I believe that it has always been underrated with most tourists preferring to hang out just blocks away on Rue Cler for what is often a very ‘faux french’ experience. Rue Saint Dominique is much more reflective of the character of the 7th (for a little history you can Wiki here) and frankly its more fun and the food is much much better.
We recreated that walk on a recent afternoon. In doing so we found that a lot has changed. First things first, if you need it here is a link to a map of this great street.
Starting at Invalides (i.e. in the direction of the 6th away from the Eiffel Tower) you begin the walk west. The view should look about like this, and be careful the traffic is one-way coming at you.
A luxurious way to start this walk is to stop for lunch at the sublime David Toutain. Who enjoys a walk on an empty stomach? Turn right at Rue Surcouf and it will be on your right a few doors up at number 29. We ate there several months and loved it, please read more about our lunch in our blog. But to tease you here is one of the courses. If you are planning ahead be sure to get a reservation well in advance.
Your next stop is Gateuax Thomieux located the middle of the next block on your left at 58. It’s part of the Thomiuex group that operate an upscale brasserie and hotel further up the block. The pastries were beautiful and we enjoyed several later that evening including a kooglehopf that my Austrian grandma would be proud of.
One of the hidden joys of this street are the number of narrow pedestrian only streets and alleys that branch of like these:
Walk them in either direction for a glimpse of life in the 7th as it as been for years full of small shops and tradespeople.
The side streets that branch off of Rue Saint Dominique are full of great restaurants from the Basque meat temple Chez L’Ami Jean at 27 Rue Malar to the modern Basque interpretations of Chef Sebatian Grave at Pottoka at 4 Due De L’Exposition as well as the hunting lodge ambiance of La Billebaurd (at 29). The area is also home to many other notable restaurant. We love Catherine Reed’s combination cooking school and intimate kitchen at 11 Rue Amelie. If you have time to take one of her cooking classes do it.
Another newcomer to the block is a branch of the Lille bakery Aux Merveilluex De Fred (94) with their too light to be imagined meringues.
While stores and restaurants will come and go and despite the very upscale being the upscale shopping destination that it will always be, the street retains a small town village like flavor.
Oh, and that chocolatier, Lemoine (74) is a branch of a famous shop in Bordeaux. Stop in for their famous Canele, created by the wife of King Louis XII.
And yes don’t worry, there is plenty of high-end fashion.
We stopped at Cafe Constant (139) for lunch. Seated upstairs squeezed in with a crowd of local business people, Japanese tourists and families, we felt right at home. The food was solid, wonderfully unspectacular and completely satisfying.
We finished the last few blocks and looked out at the Eiffel Tower before walking home across the Champs De Mars to the Yellow Flat. It was a perfectly understated Paris afternoon.