07 October 2013

Rue Montorgueil, Paris

The other day I mentioned in my post about cooking a French boiled dinner, a potée, that I learned a lot about traditional French cooking and regional products from a woman who operated a charcuterie on the rue Montorgueil, quartier des Halles, in Paris. That was more than 30 years ago, when I lived in that particular neighborhood for three years.

That little charcuterie (Terroir d'Auvergne) is still there (on the far right in the photo), but it wasn't open the day I walked through the old neighborhood back in July. The Chinese take-away is "new" but the boulangerie Collet may well have been there in the early 1980s.

There are fewer food shops and many more cafés and restaurants in the neighborhood these days. Montorgueil is still a shopping street, however, and nowadays car traffic is restricted to local residents and delivery vans. I think the scene above is actually in the part of the street that's called la rue des Petits-Carreaux.

One place that is still there is called Le Palais des Fruits, a produce stand. I'm not sure why a market specializing in fruit would have a big fake asparagus as its most remarkable street sign.

The little apartment I lived in was on the 6th floor (U.S.) or cinquième étage of the building — spiral staircase, no elevator — that now features a tapas bar at street level, rue Saint-Sauveur. If you knew me back then, maybe you remember the place. The tapas bar then was just a neighborhood watering hole with a working -class clientele. I don't think I ever even had a drink or coffee in there.


  1. "I'm not sure why a market specializing in fruit would have a big fake asparagus as its most remarkable street sign."

    It could well be / become the most photographed shop? A smart move by whoever spotted that....
    or had it made?

    Wotever... it is ghastly!

  2. Tim: You're so right! LOL

  3. I remember my family being able to send us letters in that first month, addressed to "chez Broadhurst, ... rue Saint Sauveur" :) I remember a dinner there, once, too. Wasn't the wc in the hall? I remember thinking how amazing for you to have an apartment right there in Paris!

  4. Yes, Judy, the WC was on the landing outside the front door of the apartment -- the only door. And people in the other apartments shared the WC. The first time I saw that apartment at Xmas 1978, I was... what's the right word?... stunned... horrified... queasy. But it turned out to be a nice place. No central heat, though. I had already lived for a school year in Rouen (1972-73) where I shared a toilet on a landing with other tenants. That's what Paris and other big cities in France were like back then, and maybe still are for many people.

  5. Six floors up, what a trek! Great exercise though.

  6. Hi Evelyn, at the time, at age 31 or 32, the stairs didn't bother me much. I ran up and down several times a day. Living there was a little like living at the top of a lighthouse (but no panoramic view).

  7. Seeing your photos of regular Paris streets that were taken just a couple of months ago is just like I'm there walking down the street and taking the photo myself! How much fun is that at 8:30 a.m. just before I leave for french class?

    It gets me in the mood for Paris!
    Merci, Ken!

    Oh, and I couldn't agree more about that large asparagus! Atrocious.

  8. De rien, Mary. A mes yeux, la fausse botte d'asperges de la rue Montorgueil était saisissante, sans autre jugement.

  9. Bonjour, Ken. Heureusement que la grande botte d'asperges soit là...sinon, le grand escargot doré qui habite à 38, rue Montorgueil crèvera de faim.


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