Rue Mouffetard is the remnant of an ancient Roman
road. The buildings have been rebuilt several times since
then. Some buildings date from the 12th century,
and many have distinct histories. In a sense, this street
represents the history of Paris. The Mouffetard market fills
the lower half of the street every morning, and people come
to do their daily shopping. Its vitality is reminiscent
of a scene from the Middle Ages. After the market
closes, restaurants open up, offering a wide variety of
ethnic as well as traditional French food at cafes
Every day except Monday, the rue Mouffetard hosts perhaps
the most famous street market in all of Paris and historians
have traced the origins of this market to 1350 A.D., and possibly
earlier. Unlike most street markets in Paris, with temporary
stalls and goods brought in, the area's permanent shops
place their goods on the pedestrian street and have a
great stake in preserving the character of the area.
WHAT TO FIND HERE
Like most shops in Paris, those on the rue Mouffetard typically
close at noon Sunday and stay closed until 10 am on Tuesday.
The street market is at its busiest on Sunday mornings between
10 am and noon and historians say that it resembles the
market of medieval age, although in modern day the
focus is mostly on food. Fresh fruit and vegetables bursting
with flavor abound. Fromageries and crémeries display hundreds
of different kinds of cheese, all purer than any of the
pasteurized kinds found in supermarkets. One could spend
a lifetime trying all the foods displayed on a busy market
day on the rue Mouffetard. You can find fresh vegetables,
meat, cheese, seafood, confectioneries and other delicacies.
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WHAT TO CHECK OUT
Almost all of the buildings along the rue Mouffetard date
from the 17th century and the city of Paris has gone to
great pains to preserve this section of town. It is rare
to see a place in any other city where one can enjoy some
truly great architecture and shopping at once! If you want
to impress chocolate lovers back home, stop by Jeff de
Bruges at no 112 for beautifully wrapped gifts. If you
want distinctively Parisian non-chocolate gifts, check out
Occitane (no 130), just across from a wonderful cheese
shop at no. 131. The bas relief above the
door at no. 122 - à la Bonne Source (At the Good Spring)
dates from a 1592 A.D. wine shop. There is no shortage
of wine shops today and several offer serious wine tasting
and a selection that will amaze Americans and tourists.
For a truly special gift, try the shoe shop at no. 64. It
dates from 1890 and still sells wooden shoes worn by
farmers and other peasant footware that will probably
disappear before too much longer. In 1938 a hidden treasure
of three thousand gold pieces was found inside the
walls of a building at no. 53 (now a Comfort Inn) by some
construction workers. eventually traced to a nobleman who
had disappeared in 1757. The amount was finally divided
among the construction workers and the nobleman's living
descendents in 1952. Near the top of the hill of rue
Mouffetard, take a quick jog to the left along rue
du Pot de Fer (or "Iron Pot Street" as your grandmother
back in Peoria might say) and check out the amazing variety
of restaurants with tables spread out into the walking street
including the first Taiwanese teahouse in Europe,
la Maison de trois thés at no. 5 where any true tea
connoisseur visiting Paris will eventually rest his feet.
NEAR AND AROUND
The rue Mouffetard ends in the beautiful Place de la
Contrescarpe, With its beautiful fountain and its typically
Parisian cafés and bars open till the wee hours of the morning,
it has now become a great hangout for people watching. The crowd here is younger and hipper,
than that at the lower end, and restaurants are also fairly cheaper.
Turning away from the rue Mouffetard and continuing uphill one reaches the stately
in a few minutes and the Jardin
du Luxembourg in a few minutes stroll. It's a lovely
walk on a late summer evening and if you are a jogger you
will fall in love with the jogging paths inside the idyllic Luxembourg Gardens.
A favorite Hemingway story has to do with him catching
and roasting pigeons from the park; nevertheless, there
is no clear record or confirmation of his story by other
(please verify with the Paris
rue Mouffetard 75005 Paris
Traditional market: Sundays: 7 a.m.- 12.30 p.m.
Cafes and bars open: Winter - Summer: 7 a.m.-3.30 a.m.
Metro (line 7): Place Monge-Jardins des Plantes or Censier-Daubenton
Bus (line 47): Place Monge
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