Rue Daguerre – a hoppin’ Paris place

Rue Daguerre is always a hoppin’ place, but on Sundays it really comes to life. It’s a magnet for Parisians and tourists looking for a good lunch or really choice groceries – today we bought slices of an outstanding rolled veal roast, from a butcher who normally deals only in poultry. It was a good dinner.

Google.fr

Google.fr

Rue Daguerre is in the 14th arrondissement, south of the major attractions, one of the middle-class districts without a lot of tourist interest. It is only 630 meters long, and its anchor at the east end is the wide Avenue du Général Leclerc. A grateful France renamed it in 1948 in honor of the French general who led his armored division up the avenue seventy-one years ago during the fight for the Liberation of Paris (August 1944). Today there’s an interesting museum to his life above Gare Montparnasse.

View down Rue Daguerre

View down Rue Daguerre

Until the 1990s the first block of the rue, the most active part, was a covered shopping street. Today it’s a mostly pedestrian area with a half-dozen restaurants, a couple of vegetable vendors (primeurs, who only sell the prime stuff), a fancy honey shop, a little general store where you can find just about anything, two grocery stores and a wine merchant. Plus thousands of people.

It is part of Montparnasse. The west end of the rue is only a short walk from the Montparnasse railway station (Gare Montparnasse). Hemingway’s haunts aren’t far away, Simone de Beauvoir lived nearby, and Calder had a studio on one of the side streets. The apartment we rented this year has a view across Montparnasse cemetery, an oasis of green in city of stone. And there’s much more in the neighborhood.

Café Daguerre

One of the traditional go-to spots on the rue is Café Daguerre, which dominates the corner. It serves a great breakfast (either French or “English,” depending on whether you want an omelet; I had one, with ham). It seems to be open all the time, and there’s very little turnover among waiters. This is our fifth year to stay in the 14th and the faces seem to be pretty much the same.

Cafe Daguerre

Cafe Daguerre

Café Daguerre is where I learned to appreciate the “café gourmand,” a platter of small desserts with an expresso. It was developed a decade ago as a way to speed up lunch, but I view it as my chance to sample three or four different desserts at the same time.

Rue Daguerre was named after Louis Daguerre, who introduced the daguerreotype photograph in the early 1800s. He’s considered one of the fathers of modern photography and is one of the few luminaries whose names are engraved on the Eiffel Tower.

Transportation hub

The great square just above Rue Daguerre, Place Denfert-Rochereau (Google images), is one of the city’s major transportation hubs. It provides access to two metro lines, the RER B suburban train (which goes straight to Degaulle airport), and a half-dozen city buses.

It’s the entrance to the Catacombs, the ossuaries moved to the old quarries under the Left Bank when the Right Bank cemeteries burst their banks and threatened the city with disease and unpleasantness. (Most of Paris was built from stone quarried under the city, but that’s another story.)

Seventy feet under the square the bunker from which the Résistance fight for the Liberation 71 years ago was directed; it was built before the war as a precaution and the Germans seem not to have found out about it. My latest information is that it’s now used for temperature-controlled plant science.

Photo Gallery: Sunday morning on Rue Daguerre

Butcher wrapping our veal. No one had taken the pig's head

Butcher wrapping our veal. No one had taken the pig’s head

Cheese merchant

Cheese merchant

A primeur. Note the cooling spray on the vegetables, with water running down the mirror behind them

A primeur. Note the cooling spray on the vegetables, with water running down the mirror behind them

Café Daguerre

Café Daguerre

Another offering from the cheese merchant. This one is good, I guarantee it

Another offering from the cheese merchant. This one is good, I guarantee it

Butcher

The butcher who sold us the slices of roast veal

All photos except the map by John Pearce
Sun 06-28-15

 

If you’d like to receive my blog posts and occasional newsletters by email, please subscribe by leaving your email address below:

Fifteen Years of Paris Soirées Chez Patricia

1f4e6b25-1b94-4cdf-a41b-9a7e50b5b7ec_attachment

I’ve been a fan of Patricia Laplante-Collins’s Sunday night soirées for a half-dozen years, but have paid especially close attention since 2012, when she invited me to present my then-unpublished novel Treasure of Saint-Lazare. I made a lot of friends, some of whom wrote the reviews that were instrumental in getting my novel on the Kindle best-seller lists early the … Continue reading

400 Reasons To Rent Your Bike In Paris

PARIS is a great city for walkers. For me, its tree-shaded avenues and elegant stone buildings always turn an afternoon promenade into a pleasant interlude, particularly when I stop often for a shot of expresso or a glass of Bordeaux. But when walking just doesn’t cover enough ground and the bus covers too much, it’s time to turn to the bicycle — especially … Continue reading

Favorite French Open Tennis Under the Eiffel Tower

PARIS has a tradition of free public entertainment, including the French Open tennis tournament. For years, spectators could go to downtown Paris to watch on a large screen in the open courtyard of City Hall, but this year the screen moved to the large open lawn in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, on the Champs de Mars. On Wednesday I … Continue reading

Another Paris Travel Hit from David Downie

If you’re a fan of David Downie’s Paris books, as I am, you shouldn’t miss his new one. It’s entitled, romantically enough, A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light, and was published only a few days ago to general acclaim — even from some of the crankier reviewers. The best compliment I can pay the book is that its overall quality and level of … Continue reading

Bad News from Antarctica – the Ice Sheets Are Melting, and Fast (wonkish)

Antarctica small

Here’s about as chilling a lede* as you’ll see in an American newspaper these days: A hundred years from now, humans may remember 2014 as the year that we first learned that we may have irreversibly destabilized the great ice sheet of West Antarctica, and thus set in motion more than 10 feet of sea level rise. Ten Feet?  That would … Continue reading

Here’s why you should schedule your trip to Paris NOW! – the Euro

Euro notes Tue 03-17-15 small

Remember all the political talk about the debasement of the dollar? If you’ve been following exchange rates lately you’ll understand that debasement, like the looming inflation that was about to devour the American economy, has been sort of … weak. Like nonexistent. Wonkblog (Washington Post) posted an astute analysis of the Euro/Dollar situation and came to the same conclusion I … Continue reading

Book Marketing on a Shoestring

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 8.26.28 PM

No one could be happier than I that Doris-Maria Heilmann has published an author’s road map to sales success, “Book Marketing on a Shoestring.” Her advice for the marketing of my novel “Treasure of Saint-Lazare” helped it reach #39 on the all-Kindle best-seller list and in being chosen the best historical mystery of 2014 by the Readers’ Favorite book-review site. If … Continue reading

How The New York Times gets made every day

Popular Mechanics did a long and interesting story — especially fascinating for ex-journalists — about the nuts-and-bolts process of taking The New York Times from bits and bytes to finished product, one of the last profitable daily newspapers. Tatiana Repkova of Media Managers Club spotted this and included it in her weekly list of significant journalism stories. If international journalism … Continue reading

A Passion for Paris – on Valentine’s Day

Paris in Love

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the most romantic of cities than with the author and photographer Alison Harris, whose most recent book is Paris in Love, and her husband David Downie, author of the forthcoming A Passion for Paris and many other Paris books. The English-language service of France24 interviewed both of them recently for its Encore! … Continue reading