Walking Paris remains the best way to see it. At least in bite size pieces This walk focuses on one of coolest streets in Paris, the Rue St. Dominique. The walk will take about 45 minutes not counting stops for food, coffee or beer. It will be tough not to so leave extra time. You can combine it with a visit to the pedestrian friendly shopping street Rue Cler for a wonderful afternoon in the 7th.
The 7th district has some of the most expensive real estate in Paris and when you do this walk you will understand why. Home to so many upscale restaurants, beautiful residential buildings, museums and parks, it is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Paris to live in and to walk in.The walk starts from the Eiffel Tower. Facing toward Ecole Militaire looking out at the Champ De Mars park start walking away from the Seine river. Make your second left turn and head out from the park. You are walking on Avenue Joseph Bouvard. You will take to Avenue de la Bourdonnais and cross it to the start of Rue De Dominique.
You will see a beautiful corner cafe called Le Dome directly in front of you. It calls you like a siren to sit and have a coffee and maybe an early snack. Resist the urge. It is a tourist trap.
As you begin the walk you will notice something immediately, the street is full of food. Bakeries, coffee shops, wine stores, all laid out beautifully in polished storefronts. It is a feast for the eyes.
Starting out on your right is the empire of the well-known chef Christian Constant. He has three restaurants on one block on the right side of the street, ranging from informal (Cafe Constant and Les Cocottes) to the more formal Les Violin. All get very good reviews and Les Cocottes is loads of fun, an informal hip dining room focused on dishes served in small cast iron pots called Cocottes. As I have reviewed most of the restaurants in the 7th (click here for the reviews) I won’t go into too much detail about them.
Next up is the very traditional Les Fontaine De Mars and the fountain itself which it is named for. While Michelle Obama may have eaten there the food is not what it was. It still looks great.
Take a moment and explore the side street at Rue De L’exposition where the exceptional bistro La Billebaude is found. And this is a note to carry on, don’t hesitate to branch off for a block towards Rue De L’Universite or Rue De Grenelle and then return. The side streets that radiate from RSD are just as interesting.
Feeling hungry? Fantastic bakeries await you, Le Moulin De La Vierge at 64 (you will want to look at the stunning woodwork but remember this is a bakery and they are Parisians moving product)
And Patisserie Jean Maillot at 103.
What a pain au chocolat.
If that isn’t enough dough there is La Boulagerie at 85.
After this burst of activity continue on past Avenue Bosquet. At the corner on your left is the American University of Paris. Net up on your right is the aforementioned Rue Cler. Worth a visit if you have time, just turn right. If you are feeling thirsty then be sure to stop at Le Rouissilon on the corner of Rue De Grenelle for a local feel.
Return to RSD and continue on, stop and visit the Church of Saint Pierre De Gros Cailou.
I haven’t written enough about the stores believe me there are plenty. From shoes, to designer clothes to pharmacies. Always more pharmacies in France. And some of them sell unusual things like mirrors.
Soon you will reach Rue Malar with the so classic Cafe Malar on the corner and just up the block the infamous basque restaurant L’Ami Jean.
Here the side streets are elegant, full of small stores and unusual shops, take the time to walk up to Rue De L’Universitie and then back down to RSD. This is a shoe repair store and like many in Paris they have a style that exists nowhere else.
If you look carefully there is a small passage running from Rue L’Universite to RSD called Passage Commun. It has a working wood mill and a feeling of how this neighborhood was a long time ago.
And if you are in need of caffeine, there is the new Le Seven’s coffee at 58. Next up is the Rue Sucrouf with, yes, another great group of places to eat. It is overwhelming here, choose from La Poule Au Pot at the corner of Rue De L’Universite or two other quality bistros, La Petite Bordelaise and Au Petit Tonneau in the middle of the block.
All good things do end and you are heading to the end of your walk at Boulevard De La Tour Maubourg. At 18 (on the corner of Rue L’Universite) you will find a branch of the famous caviar house Petrossian should you be feeling the need for luxury.
Look back up the block. You should see the Eiffel Tower in the distance. In this neighborhood it is always there.
What to do now? You can continue on straight to Les Invalides or a visit to the Musee D’Orsay. Or turn around and reverse your trip. You can head back down Rue De L’Universite or Blvd. Grenelle towards Rue Cler. Any way you choose, this is a great neighborhood walk in this great city. And if you aren’t hungry by now….
Should you want to finish this excursion by metro, continue to Les Invalides, turn left and you will find the metro station Invalides at the bank of the Seine at the Quai D’Orsay.
And here is a list of the stores and restaurants reviewed, all located on RSD unless otherwise mentioned.
Moulin de la Vierge 64
Jean Millet 103
Le Cocottes Christian Constant 135
Cafe Christian Constant 139
Les Violin D’Ingres 135
Le Fointaine De Mars 129
La Billebaud 29 Rue Exposition
L’Ami Jean 27 Rue Malar
Le Poule Au Pot 121 Rue Universite
Le Petit Bordelais 22 Rue Surcouf
Au Petit Tonneau 20 Rue Surcouf
Petrossian. 18 Blvd. de la Tour Maubourg
Le Rousillion 186 Rue Grenelle