Eating, Walking and Frenchifying It in the Street
EATING ON THE STREET AND IN THE ‘TEMPLE’
It was the second time the Carreau du Temple opened its doors and the adjacent streets to a street food fair, but no doubt, it will not be its last. This year’s theme: “La Corée — Le Culture de la Cuisine de rue à Paris.”
Lined up along rues Eugène Spuller and Perrée were food trucks of many varieties and along rue du Petit Thouars was the “Marché Coréen” — one stand after another serving up Korean cooking. Inside the 19th-century iron market building were drink bars, dessert bars, specialty food stands (including two-toque chef Pierre Sang’s), picnic tables and benches and a band playing live music.
Saturday, At about 12 noon the Carreau du Temple was 85% filled to the brim. By 1 p.m., it was barely maneuverable. Call the “quartier” hopping! And everyone was having a blast tasting all sorts of goodies that came right out of a truck.
We went straight for the jugular — before the line got too long, we scored one of each of Pierre Sang’s offerings: “Bouchée Oberkampf” and “Bouchée Gambey.” At that hour, getting a seat at a picnic bench was tough, but not impossible.
After fighting the crowds for a “Triple B Bo-Bun” by Nathalie Nguyen’s “Le Camion BOL” (Nathalie is adorable and her Bo-Bun is ‘delish’), we went for a serious American-style pancake feast — one stack of three cakes with bacon, syrup and a sunny-side up egg on top (my number one Sunday breakfast favorite), and another stack soaked in chocolate syrup with whipped cream and little chocolate nuggets sprinkled on top. (Oy vay — there went the diet!)
Vying for a seat at a table became increasingly more difficult as the crowds thickened. Actually, if it weren’t for the baby prams, the Carreau might have seemed a lot less crowded, but the families were out in full force towing their kids and babies and all of their equipment. (Is it my imagination or have prams increased in size these days?)
District three Mayor Pierre Aidenbaum was outside the Mairie de 3ème handing out cloth bags imprinted with a caricature drawing of building filled with brochures about what’s going on in the district. He’s a big reason all these wonderful events take place in our little corner of Paris — it’s one of the most active city halls of all 20 arrondissements.
IT WAS A NO CAR DAY DAY
It’s not true that there were NO cars on the streets of Paris during “No Car Day.” The taxis and buses were still rolling along and an occasional motorbike, which wasn’t supposed to be there. Still, it was a different city. The noise level reduced to one-tenth (wild guess), the people on bikes and skates increased five times (wild guess) and it was a delight and pleasure to cross any street, and walk down the middle of them in many cases, even though there were hoards of people.
To see rue de Rivoli, boulevard Saint-Michel and the quays along the river virtually ‘vehicleless,’ was indeed a strange phenomenon. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the day was DROP DEAD GORGEOUS — blue, sunny skies, cool breezes and perfect in every way. Every Parisian and then some were on the streets taking advantage of this special occasion.
Paris continues to pedestrianize streets to reduce the traffic and therefore the pollution and make it a more livable city. In just about every case, the merchants along these routes have rebelled against the idea and in just about every case, their businesses thrived better than ever and property values went up. Rue des Rosiers is a perfect example of this. So, for those of you thinking about investment in Paris, think pedestrian!
In addition, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo announced this past June that seven major squares in Paris will be redesigned to be more pedestrian-friendly, including Place de la Bastille, Place d’Italie, Place de la Nation, Place du Panthéon, Place de la Madeleine, Place Gambetta and Place des Fêtes. The plans aren’t ‘set in stone’ but €30 million is being set aside for the regentrification and rerouting of road traffic.
The improvement to Place de la République is a perfect example of how this can improve these heavily trafficked areas — now cleaner, more welcoming — a place where people congregate and enjoy city life without the hubbub, noise and fumes of motorized vehicles.
Four districts are scheduled for “semi-pedestrianization” by 2020, too. Ms. Hidalgo wants to ban diesel cars from central Paris and only allow buses, taxis, residents’ cars, delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles from entering districts one, two, three and four. That means my part of Le Marais will benefit from the plan. You will find no objection from me!
FIND THE BEST OF FRANCE IN N.Y.
Imagine Times Square as French!? Lucky New York Francophiles reveled in the third Best of France festival festival held in and around Times Square and Broadway in New York City this past weekend on September 26th and 27th. France24.com called it a “den of French clichés” as dozens of French artists, entrepreneurs and restaurateurs moved in and took over what is normally the heart of the Big Apple.
Three whole blocks were devoted to the fair, featuring dozens of tents and stands, a mini “pétanque (French boules) court” and a cornucopia of other very French fare, such as baguettes, Basque cakes and military aircraft. Even the Moulin Rouge dancers came to perform for the first timein the States. The largest U.S. and French flags were unfurled and the French national anthem (La Marseillaise) was sung. Following that was the unraveling of the largest “marinière” in the world (the iconic “Made in France” striped knitted sport sweater), 22’ long by 44’ wide.
I almost wished I had been there, but I have no complaints being right here in the City of Light where a festival like that is every day of the week and where cars were the exception, not the norm.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. Italian book publisher Damiani will be publishing Erica Simone’s “Nue York: Self-Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen,” alongside famous photographers and contemporary artists such as David LaChapelle, Mary Ellen Mark, Mario Testino, JR, Terry Richardson, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Man Ray, etc. The approximate publishing date will be around Christmas time. A recent Pubslush campaign helped significantly with the costs associated with the publishing, however, Simone is lacking a small amount to complete the project. It is still possible to pre-order a limited edition signed and kissed copy for $95 through BigCartel (which is being offered from now until the book comes out), as well as some other goodies like postcards and prints! Your support here will be a big help and greatly cherished. Also see Erica’s photo gallery.
P.P.S. Volunteer for SOS Help, the confidential English listening line! Drop in to one of the recruitment sessions at 7pm on Sept. 29, Oct. 8, or Oct. 14 at the American Church, 65 quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris. For full details and training, please visit SOS Help Line today!