Eating Rue Cler.

Rue Cler. 7e

Rue Cler is invariably recommended to tourists visiting the 7th as a street that you must visit.  It is routinely described as cute or quaint for good reason.  It is.  This is a lively pedestrian only shopping street, closed to cars and full of restaurants, cafes and very traditional looking Parisian shops that have preserved their character.  A great mix.

But when it comes to the subject of food, eating on Rue Cler is a bit, well, schizophrenic.  In a sense the food reflects the nature of the visitors to the street. While the local stores which serve the residents are very good, the restaurants which cater to the tourists are mediocre to poor serving unimaginative food.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t stop and have a coffee and watch the crowds go by.  It is just a reality.

The stores that populate Rue Cler are typical of the mix you would expect to find, featuring bakeries, fish shops, butchers, etc.  It has everything you want during your visit if you are staying in a flat or apartment.

One place where Rue Cler really stands out is cheese, featuring two very very good cheese shops.  The first is La Fromagerie.  The second is Marie Anne Cantin, whose van is pictured below.  Both are well-known, but Marie Anne Cantin holds the famous gourmet designation as an affineur (yes they are located on a side street just off Rue Cler to be accurate).

We also enjoy the bakery at the corner of Rue Cler and Rue De Grenelle  for their amazing assortment of if you need to eat something good on the run to-go baked goods.  Just look at all that Quiche.

So are there exceptions to the restaurant rule?  Here is one.  Le Petit Cler.  It certainly fits the cute designation, doesn’t it?

We wandered into Le Petit Cler late on afternoon hoping that despite its classic front that they might still be open after 3.  They were and the lunch that followed was simple and good.   We each had a salad and I settled on a safe choice, a chevre chaud or warmed goat cheese salad, a go to when in doubt. After a few glasses of a very dry saumur (13 euro for a 500 ml pichet) it arrived and I was very surprised.  Like the restaurant it was gorgeous and good and worth the 12 euro.

Innovate presentation, a wonderful slightly sweet balsamic reduction and enough to eat without being heavy or traditional.  Good service too.

Another option is Cafe Rousillon. We also stumbled onto Cafe Rousillon one morning while searching for a croissant in the middle of a long walk.  

It was by far the most French establishment we found on Rue Cler.  At 10 in the morning it was full of residents and people who worked in the neighborhood having a coffee or red wine before starting the day reading the newspaper and wishing they were still able to smoke at the cafe.  No one was speaking English and even our average to poor French got replies in French.  Nothing fancy here.

That was just how it was.  Unpretentious.  Not cute.  Something refreshing in this area which is often inundated with English speakers.

Later in the week when coming home from a late dinner when we hit it again for a beer around midnight.  The place was alive. The draft beers were large, cold and  5 euro, not 10.  A reality check away from vacation.  A place to go when you are tired of being a tourist and want to be ignored.  Finally you are just another guy having a beer in a French Bar that is not trying to hustle you by giving you the wrong change (sorry Monsieur, was that a 20?) like Le Zinc on Ave La Motte Piquet will.  But that is another story.

How to get to Rue Cler from the Yellow Flat.  Leaving the apartment walk north to Avenue La Motte Piquet.  Turn left, cross Suffren and past the Ecole Militaire which should be on your right.  When you come to the Place Ecole Militaire be careful that you continue on  Avenue La Motte Piquet and there are many choices.  You will reach Rue Cler and turn left to begin your walk.

Ecole Militaire

Marie Cantin. 12 Rue De Champ De Mars.  http://www.cantin.fr  01 45 50 43 94

Le Petit Cler.  29 Rue Cler.  01 45 50 17 50

Been to Rue Cler and want to add a good experience to this list?  Please comment.

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