When I first moved to Paris I found a studio on Rue Mouffetard in the Latin Quarter of the 5th Arrondisement. I arrived from New York by way of Asia with two large suitcases and an Osprey hiking pack early in the morning before the sun rose. Rue Mouffetard is the ancient roman road through Paris and as you might imagine it is quite narrow. Most of the time it’s pedestrian only, but cars are allowed to deliver goods in the morning and fortunately at that hour my taxi could stop right at my door. In my first hour in Paris, I heard the sounds of the fish market and other shops setting up on this quaint little street below me and I was in love. This was Paris.
And when I fell in love with a Parisian, Rue Mouffetard became our home. He grew up in the west of Paris and I, a New Yorker, got to introduce him to this beautiful street.
There is a great market at the foot of the street and shops with only the best products from all over France dotting the way. We would put together our lunch on Sundays going from shop to shop. The italian trateur Androuet (134 Rue Mouffetard) for handmade pastas and incredible anti-pastis, the bakery for a baguette, roquette from the market, a bottle from one of the wine shops, and the cheese shop for his favorites.
My apartment was a walk up studio where the wooden stairs always smelled of roses. The room had exposed wooden beams and large French windows letting in tons of light. The bathroom was of marble, the kitchen small and the furnishings tasteful with a large mirror. There was always something fun going on down below, be it school children walking by hand in hand, a group giving out free massages or the daily mix of Parisians and tourists. The restaurant cafe Tournibride next door became our favorite haunt and the waiter would always give us a knowing smile. The men there spoke of being regulars for twenty years.
As you walk up the street towards the Pantheon, the small shops and specialty markets make way to more touristy bars and restaurants due to the number of hostels nearby.
When you visit Rue Mouffetard, do check out…
– Famous crepes at Au P’tit Grec (66 Rue Mouffetard)
– Thick hot chocolate at Le Saint-Medard (53 Rue Censier) or Le Verre a Pied (118 bis Rue Mouffetard) for coffee during the day, wine and jazz in the evening
– Organic bread at Pain au Naturel at the intersection of Rue Pascal and Rue Mouffetard or pastries at Pascal Gosnet (119 Rue Mouffetard)
– The tart shop: Le Maison des Tartes (67 Rue Mouffetard)
– The fish market at #109 with its langoustine and other delights
– The small cinema L’Epee de Bois (100 Rue Mouffetard)
– One of Paris’ oldest bars, Le Vieux Chêne (69 Rue Mouffetard), with low tavern-like ceilings and the meeting point for a revolutionary circle in 1848.
A remnant of the colonial era, The Happy Negro facade at 14 Rue Mouffetard:
The church next to the market:
So do explore the Left Bank when in Paris and spend a day to discover this fantastic street!