In all my pre-trip reading, I kept coming across a street named 'Rue Cler' that had a reputation for being the perfect picnic compiling location. It's a classic "French street" full of bakeries, restaurants, flower shops, and more. We purposely picked a hotel that was in walking distance since gathering food here for a picnic quickly became a must-do in my book.
Our first stop was for my favorite food, cheese. Also know as fromage. Specialty stores line both sides of the street. Bread only. Cheese only. Fruits. Gelato. You get the idea.
Now this was my first attempt at speaking French ever. Since I had no idea what any of the signs said, or what I wanted I knew this was going to be a toughie. The older lady who tried to help us didn't speak English, but motioned for a young whipper-snapper to help us. When I threw out "Parle vous Englais?" I got the typical response - that he could speak "a little bit". Except their version of a bit is a far cry from mine. I would call him fluent. But still, be prepared for a choppy conversation. He recommended softer Brie-like cheeses, but I'm not a fan. So he quickly named a harder cheese option, which I don't couldn't understand or comprehend the name. Just know it was good. There was no way I was dragging on this conversation to get more options - I figured it was a good way to try something new.
In our family, we have a saying, that "women love their cheese". Let's don't forget that my Pop Pop ate as much (or more) than the rest of us. So this was a heavenly sight.
Our next stop was the Boulangerie, or bread store. Did you know that the price of a baguette is still regulated by the French government? Well it is and the people will never go hungry again. Is it a bad sign if most of my French history knowledge was formed from Les Mis?
We didn't go into this butcher, but I just love the look of the storefront. See the rotisseries outside the front door? By late afternoon, these are out in full force all over town in preparation for workers on their way home to pick up dinner. We stopped at a similar shop and picked up Pork ribs. They tasted better than they look - this picture certainly doesn't do them justice. The selections are incredible
By this point, I've drooled over all these treats and we came across this gelato stand. And they had pear sorbet. Or was it gelato? I don't know other than it was ridiculously awesome. So much so I had to go back the next day for more. It's not cheap - around 5 euros for this baby scoop. But oh was it worth every penny. Or euro. Whatever.
We stopped at one of the two fresh fruit/veggie markets to grab some raspberries. Everything was super fresh & only what was in season was available. If only there was something as wonderful at home to frequent year round. We love perusing local grocery stores in the US, usually looking for new varieties of Root Beer, since the husband is an afficionado. So we peeked into the store at the end of Rue Cler & grabbed some juice and a few cookies. But our best find? Pesto flavored Lays.
We may have eaten that whole bag then & there. And have gone back for two more to take home. I don't even like potato chips. But these? Off the charts. There are other random options, like Rotisserie chicken, that we tried while at Disneyland. But that was just weird. I stand by the fact that pesto is good on anything. Including potatoes. And totally worth getting your luggage ransacked at US customs.
There are so many options along Rue Cler, you're picnic could take a totally different look to it. But I would highly recommend filling your basket (or backpack) here. Shop with the local, where it feels less-touristy than everywhere else you will go. And will give you a great taste of Paris. Bon appetit!
We're coming close to the finale of our series so don't forget to post any questions you might have if you are planning a trip, no matter how big or small!