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There is a great choice of the very best fresh produce available along rue Cler.

Paris is famous for its many outdoor markets, and pretty much every arrondissement has at least one and there are supposedly around 80 such markets across the city.  These are almost always temporary set-ups that operate a couple of mornings a week, and taken down by lunchtime.  However, there are a couple of pedestrianised streets in Paris that are devoted to food, fresh produce and other treats, that trade every day, all day, as permanent markets.  Rue Cler in the 7th arrondissement is one of these very special streets.

A section of the delightful rue Cler

Rue Cler, in the 7th arrondissement, is the kind of street you hope to find when you are looking for a typically Parisian street brimming with cafes, boulangeries, patisseries, cheese shops and other speciality food shops.  As well, there are bookshops, flower shops and little, individual retailers selling a variety of things you didn’t know you wanted until you were tempted into one of these enticing little shops.  We first discovered rue Cler back in the mid ‘70s when we were staying in a tiny hotel just a street or two away.  We’ve made regular visits ever since, and always find it a most rewarding experience with very little change, and the essence of the street remains the same.

Jean Joseph Gustave Cler.

The street was named after a French brigadier general Jean Joseph Gustave Cler, who was killed at the Battle of Magenta in northern Italy.  This battle took place in June 1859 during the Italian campaign, which ended with a decisive Franco-Sardinian victory led by Napoleon lll against the Austrians.  The price of French aid to the Italians was the cession of Nice and Savoy, agreed between Cavour, on behalf of Victor Emmanuel ll, and Napoleon lll.  The Boulevard de Magenta in the 10th arrondissement in Paris was named for this victory.


Musee Rodin in rue de Varenne is just a short walk from rue Cler.

Today, the 7th arrondissement is associated with French nobility, lined with historic mansions, many now the homes of France’s business elite, government ministries and foreign embassies.  Rue Cler exudes the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie.  It’s within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides and such museums as Quai Branly, the Musée d’Orsay and a great favourite of ours, the beautiful Musée Rodin in rue de Varenne.

The Eiffel Tower can be glimpsed from the far end of rue Cler.

Given its location and proximity to some of the great sights of Paris such as these, it’s no surprise that visitors have discovered rue Cler, which runs right through the heart of the 7th arr.  However, rue Cler’s appeal isn’t as readily apparent as that of other famous Parisian shopping streets.  It doesn’t have the bustling activity and free spirit of Rue de Levis in the 17th arr., rue Montorgueil in the 2nd arr., the youthfulness and creative entrepreneurship of rue des Martyrs in the 9th arr. or the sheer scale of rue d’Aligre in the 12th arr., yet this market street has an identity no less distinct, marked by the exacting tastes of some of the oldest, most well-to-do residents in Paris.

Venture inside the speciality gourmet shops to discover their wares.

Although a number of shops do spill out into the street to display their produce or wares, rue Cler is best discovered slowly, by pushing open a few doors, tasting one delicacy after another, striking up a conversation with the shopkeepers.  The breadth and depth of the street’s delights becomes deliciously evident.

Lastre’s pate and boeuf en croute are house specialities.

Some decades ago, the ambience would have been quite different.  Before chic cafes and boutiques began to move into the street in recent years, rue Cler was totally given over to food.  Some locals still recall the numerous charrettes—produce carts—often owned by widowed wives of WWll soldiers granted a dispensation to sell their wares in the street, rent-free.  But as the numbers of these vendors diminished, it seems that the loss in quantity has been accompanied by a notable rise in quality vendors, earning the street its high reputation for gastronomic excellence.  Such renown is what has drawn a number of fine food stores to the street, such as Lastre, at no. 188 rue de Grenelle, one door from the corner of rue Cler.  This shop is known for its superb pâté-croute, which is a pâté cooked in a buttery pastry shell.  The owner and chef of this shop was named ‘champion du monde de pâté-croute’ in 2012.

Traiteur Jeusselin on rue Cler.

Two food shops stand out when looking at the origins of rue Cler’s reputation for excellence:  Davoli and Jeusselin.  Maison Jeusselin, at no. 37 is now run by the charcuterie’s 3rd generation owner.  The current owner, Bruno Jeusselin, has followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who founded the business in 1937.  Bruno has made ‘fait-maison’ (homemade) his trademark.  This business is said to be one of the last charcuteries to still prepare nearly everything they sell on the premises, from delicious hot dishes to their famous foie gras, and jambon blanc.  For upholding such exacting standards, in 2008 the gastronomic guidebook Gault & Millau named Maison Jeusselin ‘meilleur traiteur de Paris’—the best delicatessen in Paris.

Davoli’s wonderful display of hams and other charcuterie.

By coincidence, for over 50 years, across the street from “the best French deli” in Paris has stood the best Italian deli. in Paris.  When it opened in 1962 at no. 34, Davoli was already a name associated with the finest Italian charcuterie in Paris, the business having been founded in 1913 in their original location on rue de Passy.  Today, Stephane and Alexandre Davoli are the 4th generation owners, and their fabulous Franco-Italian goodies are a reflection of their family’s history.  Parma hams hang from the ceiling, while aged Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegars, olive oils and pastas are still imported from Emilia-Romagna in Italy.  But the servings of blanquette de veau, boeuf Bourguignon and steaming trays of sauerkraut, are all cooked on the premises to family recipes that are evidence of culinary exchanges and adoption of French traditions.  Their window displays usually feature both white truffles from Alba and black truffles from Burgundy.  The owners say that if a business is to survive on rue Cler, it must be focussed on quality.

The outstanding Cantin Fromagerie.

Another local business clearly follows this philosophy.  Cantin cheese shop at no. 12 rue du Champ de Mars, just around the corner from rue Cler, has been in this location for nearly 40 years.  The current owner’s father founded the French Cheese Merchants’ Guild, and the business has upheld the waning tradition of affinage—aging hundreds of cheeses to their aromatic peak in their own cellars.  We’ve heard it said that this cheese shop resembles a jewellery shop more than a fromagerie, so elegant are the displays.  The owner estimates that there are only 4 or 5 neighbourhoods in Paris that still have a cheesemonger who cellars their own cheeses, and she says it’s only natural that rue Cler is one of them.  Cantin has also been appointed a supplier of cheese to the Élysée Palace.

Another of the fabulous fromageries along rue Cler.

Along rue Cler you will see a number of other very enticing fromageries offering the most extraordinary variety of cheeses, many of which you may never have seen before.

There are a couple of excellent wine shops along rue Cler.

A good wine is the perfect accompaniment to a selection of these beautiful cheeses, and rue Cler has a number of speciality wine shops.  One of the best is Les Grandes Caves at no. 55 that stocks wines from the most illustrious names, such as Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Didier Dagueneau from the Loire or the Rhône’s Jean-Louis Chave, as well as avant-garde stars like Château Bellevue, a biodynamic Grand Cru Saint-Émilion, and Roses de Jeanne, among Champagne’s smallest, most uncompromising estates.  Typically, most French would visit the wine shop last, having first chosen what they’ll take home for lunch or dinner.

Epicerie Fine Rive Gauche has an enormous range of the finest herbs and spices.

Just around the corner from rue Cler at no. 8 rue du Champ de Mars is Épicerie Fine Rive Gauche, it’s a relative newcomer to the neighbourhood, having opened in 1999.  Many Parisians declare it to be the finest gourmet grocer in the city, and has been recognised as such by the Guide des Gourmands.  From their canned sardines in lobster oil, to their piquillo pepper foie gras and the cep and smoked-tea mustard, this shop only stocks the finest quality from the best sources.  Owned and operated by Pascal Mièvre and his wife Nathalie, they operate their épicerie with an obsession with quality, and, as Pascal says, a sense of obligation to their suppliers, since it’s to the store’s benefit that these small producers of the finest quality goods need encouragement to stay viable.  When they found a pepper grower, they committed to 8 varieties, and from an exceptional olive oil producer they’ve ordered 20 varieties of oils, and 30 different mustards from a small, high quality producer.  They also stock over 40 flavours of the superb Berthillon ice cream.

Au Bon Jardinier always has a great selection of top quality produce.

One of the largest greengrocers on rue Cler is Au Bon Jardinier at no. 34, next-door to Davoli (they share the same building number). The competition among the fruit and vegetable merchants means a guarantee of the very best quality and competitive prices.  They also have 2 other shops in the street, both opposite each other on the corner of rue Cler and rue de Grenelle.

Les Floralies on rue Cler.

At no. 32 is a beautiful flower shop, Les Floralies, that you just want to go in and buy armfuls of beautiful blooms and lots of small, potted flowering plants.  A visual and fragrant delight.  Across the street is a small shop, Mon Petit Poulet, that sells fresh poultry, or roasted on a rotisserie, perfect for a takeaway picnic, and they also have a couple of tables where you can enjoy a tasty lunch.

Rue Cler has numerous excellent boulangeries and patisseries to choose from.

It goes without saying that rue Cler has a number of patisseries and boulangeries, too many to list here.  Their quality would be guaranteed, given their location, and as with other food streets in Paris that seem to have a number of similar businesses, each one has specialities that the others don’t.  The aromas of freshly baked bread is always alluring, and it’s hard to walk past them without popping in for a little something.

Famille Mary honey shop, rue Cler.

For lovers of honey, head to no. 35 rue Cler, where you will find a fabulous speciality shop, Famille Mary.  They stock an enormous range of local honeys, as well as honey from all over France.  They are so friendly and helpful, you’ll be on a sugar high by the time you have sampled everything they offer you.  You’ll see unusual blends of honeys with such things as chocolate, lavender, rosemary, rum, organic chestnut, or acacia, as well as honey by-products such as royal jelly, propolis and pollens, as well as a range of organic cosmetics.

Some of the confections at Martine Lambert Glaces et Sorbets.

At no. 39 is the only Paris outlet of Normandy’s famous glacier, Martine Lambert, who has been named “la Reine des Glaces”.  Who could resist a tasty treat from the Queen of Ice-Creams?  They also have astounding sorbets, made from just perfectly-ripe fruit and sugar, and divine cakes.  It goes without saying that everything is made from prime ingredients and without preservatives.

A La Mere de Famille is well-known for its chocolates and other sweet treats.

For a sweet tooth, there’s a couple of celebrated chocolate shops in rue Cler such as Chocolatier Pralus at no. 44.  You could also conduct your own survey of handmade chocolate shops from the numerous other chocolatiers in the street, including a more recent arrival, Le Chocolat, one of famous chef Alain Ducasse’s enterprises, at no. 55.  Nevertheless, locals are very loyal to those long-standing businesses, such as A la Mere de Famille, at no. 35, which is the oldest chocolatier in Paris, established in 1761.  This business and others like it, has a history of catering to the culinary needs of locals, and providing them with special treats such as hand-made chocolates, and it would take a great deal to persuade them to realign their shopping preferences.

L’Eclair is one of the popular cafe-bars along the street.

After the visual delights and inhaling the wonderful smells emitting from many of the food shops, it’s time to search out a café or local bistro to rest awhile with a coffee, delicious lunch, or soothing glass of wine to round off your experience of rue Cler.

Cafe du Marche is a very popular cafe on rue Cler.

There are so many places to eat, including a very pleasant easy-going brasserie, Café du Marché at no. 38., on the corner of rue du Champ du Mars, or just around the corner from rue Cler at no. 186 rue de Grenelle is the highly regarded bistro, Café Roussillon, with good food at modest prices.

Statue of Vauban in the garden at metro station La Tour Maubourg.

The section of rue Cler that you want to aim for is between rue de Grenelle and Ave. de la Motte-Picquet.  The nearest metro is École Militaire, (Line 10) just a few minutes’ walk from Ave. de la Motte-Picquet to rue Cler.  Otherwise, for a lovely introduction to the neighbourhood, and the way we like to do it, is take the metro to La Tour-Maubourg (Line 8) with its garden and trickling fountain overlooked by a statue of Vauban, Louis XlV’s military engineer and Marshal of France, past the Invalides, and it’s just a short walk down rue de Grenelle to reach rue Cler.  It’s at this end that the lively Sunday market takes place.

A stroll along rue Cler will offer many different dining and relaxing options.

As you can tell, rue Cler is an absolute delight for a few hours, yet it doesn’t merely offer food; it offers a culinary experience that lingers in your memory.  Enjoy, and Bon Appétit!

Strolling along rue Cler.




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