The Rue Mouffetard, which Parisians call “La Mouffe” has been written about and immortalized in poems and songs. It is afterall one of the oldest streets in Paris, with homes dating back to the Middle Ages, but for me it’s a great little street to hang out in for a good part of a day or evening.
Not only does it have a terrific street market, there are plenty of little shops to browse around in. Some are filled with items so kitsch that you just have to buy something for the fun of it, or for that person who has everything and you just don’t know what to give them when their birthday rolls around! Yeah, they’ll thank you for it, or else they’ll re-gift it and it’ll make the rounds and maybe even come back to you, so be careful!
It’s a street full of animation and vivid colors where both the locals from the quartier and the tourists mingle; where merchands peddle their wares from their stalls or the doorways of their shops and restaurants, and where amicable bartering goes on. It’s a place where the noise and the smells remind you of the old Paris, like in the days when Les Halles was still the biggest marketplace in the center of the city.
I like to start at the bottom and work my way up to the Place de la Contrescarpe where there are plenty of cafés, bistros, and pubs to choose from, but it doesn’t mean you can’t stop along the way for a quick drink and a friendly chat with the owner or bartender; or to stop at one of the restaurants for lunch or dinner.
Once you reach the Place de la Contrescarpe you can relax on the terrace with the little fountain in the center of it all and escape the hustle and bustle of the rest of Paris. Here you can watch Parisians in their daily lives as they walk their dogs, or carry their shopping bags full of fresh produce, or with a bottle of wine and a baguette in their arm and you may just tell yourself, “Hey, I’m not in Kansas anymore!”
Photo Credits: Flickr