Paris Walk: Rue du Cherche-Midi
The rue du Cherche-Midi is a very long street that runs from the carrefour de la Croix Rouge in the heart of St. Germain to just past the Boulevard Montparnasse, ending at the place Camille Claudel. If you are on the Boulevard St Germain (the longest boulevard in Paris) you can take the rue du Dragon, the rue de Rennes, or the rue du Four to get to Cherche-Midi. Cherche-Midi, which traces the route of an old Roman road, is in one of Paris’ most sought after residential neighborhoods, with elegant 18th and 19th century homes, and is an area that remains the traditional home for the haute bourgeoisie and aristocracy.
As you start your stroll down Cherche-Midi you will quickly come upon the neighborhood baker, Poilane (#6, Cherche-Midi) who is internationally known. Parisians and tourists line up for a warm “tarte aux pommes” (apple tart) or some delicious breads. There are many elegant clothing, shoe and home design shops on this part of the street, attracting many stylish French men and women.
The rue Raspail is site of a large, upscale market on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday (Sunday is an organic market); Metro: Sevres/Babylone. Across Raspail the shops change - fewer boutiques with hip clothing, and more flower shops, tea and coffee shops, cafes, high end consignment (Chercheminippes), house wares, vegetable markets. Although this is an expensive neighborhood, you can get excellent but reasonably priced meals at Midi-Vin (# 83) Le Petit Verdot (#75) La Marlotte (#55) or just off Cherche-Midi at L'Epi Dupin (# 11 rue Dupin). And if you want to stay in this area, there are many small but stylish hotels.
Take one of the side streets off Cherche-Midi (e.g. Dupin, l’Abbe Gregoire) to get to one of Paris's great department store, the Bon Marché (24 rue de Sevres) and its gourmet store next door, La Grande Epicerie. You can have a casual meal at the Grande Epicerie, or get some of the best take-out in Paris. You will also find a great Paris cheese shop at 62, rue de Sevres, the Fromagerie Quatrehomme.