09 June 2007

Paris: Rue du Cherche Midi

I did not want to visit Rue du Cherche Midi in the rain.

Any street with a name that implies a yearning for the sunny south requires a visit when the sun is shining. Alas, it was rarely shining when we visited Paris.

So it was a cloudless day (and one of our last in Paris) when we strolled down this narrow street, which is quieter than I imagined. It was mid-afternoon and the market on nearby Boulevard Raspail had just closed.

I wanted to buy a loaf of the famous Poilane bread, but since it was nearly our last day in Paris, my French frugality gene got the better of me and I decided to wait until our next visit. We already had a fresh baguette waiting in our tiny kitchen and more shopping to do, so it seemed prudent.

But I did take a few photographs. I was enchanted with the boutiques along Cherche Midi; the clothing in the windows really spoke to me (and now I understand why the French use the term “faire du leche vitrine,” which means to lick the windows, for the process we call window shopping).

“I have to go lick the windows,” I told my husband when he sauntered on and I wanted to linger.

Pretty things in windows (which always include food in Paris) are the stuff of dreams. We cannot always afford them. But they give us something to yearn for.

Sometimes a taste (or a lick) offers more long-term satisfaction than a whole meal.

Note: I've heard several explanations for the charming name of this equally charming street. The one I like best is "seeking the mid-day sun." It is my understanding the street got its name from a sundial on a building there.

11 comments:

Mary said...

The city of Paris website (in French) confirms that this street got it's name from a sundial that used to be on one of the buildings (I tried to put in a link, but blogger won't let me). Sorry you didn't get to taste the Poilâne bread. I especially like it with one of those French salads where you have cheese and charcuterie cut up on top of the lettuce. Now I'm getting hungry. I'm off to scrounge up some lunch.

mary
www.ceresandbacchus.com

katiez said...

That bread looks fantastic! I don't know how you could resist... But then we should always leave something for the next trip

Mimi said...

Resisting was difficult. But I wanted to bring a bottle of Calvados home and I still had some gifts to buy.

Mary, bread and salad is one of my favorite Saturdya lunch meals - when I lived in Madison, I'd buy both salad fixings and sourdough bread at the Dane Couty Farm Market and then go home and make lunch.

Katie, next time it will be one of my first stops. We think next time might be in fall or winter of 2008, so I will have a while to wait.

Lydia said...

I confess that ever since I saw the episode of Barefoot Contessa where she goes to Poilane, I've wanted to go there. Next time....

Mimi said...

Oh, Lydia, I wish I had seen that one - I love her! I did see Joan Cusack's piece on Poilane about six months ago.

ParisBreakfasts said...

Rain or shine, this is a wonderful street and loaded with great window grazing.

Mimi said...

Carol, next time I go back I will bring more money!!!

Terri said...

I love strolling this street. If I'm not mistaken, it's the one with loads of shoe stores. (My downfall)

Mimi said...

The whole neighborhood is loaded with shoe stores! We saw a ton of them on Rennes, a few blocks away down Raspail. I intend to shop here next time!

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