Once you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe and the Louvre. Had a candy coloured tea of macarons at Laduree and marvelled at the delicious delicacies in Fauchon. Wander off the beaten track a little, to just south of Pigalle, where bourgeois meets bohemian. Rue Des Martyrs is a bustling narrow street, much of which is in deep shadow with flashes of sun to warm and illuminate the cafes and restaurants along the way. Anchored by Notre Dame De Lorette, the road slopes steadily up to Sacre Coeur, which peeks out at the top, its white domes basking in the sunshine.
Plan to spend time here, tasting as you go. Sit in a cafe and watch the locals go by, because this is a village in the centre of Paris. Whilst the Marais has surrendered to the tourists, this area is still very local but with a definite foodie character.
This is a paradise of patisseries, Sebastien Gaudard, who trained under Hermes and was the top pastry chef at Fauchon has opened this very up market traditional patisserie and glace (ice cream) store. Beautifully arranged, each perfectly finished plump offering displayed as preciously as jewels.
Then meander up to the corner and indulge in a Tarte Aux Fines, deep orange spiked apricots in flaky pastry, or Mont Blanc hazlenut meringue, topped with plump raspberries and physalis.
Stroll up to Les Papilles Gourmandes to have a taste of the south west. Smoky hand cut country ham, traditional salty salamis, suspended by strings, fragrant with fennel seeds or spicy with green peppercorns. A couple of slices of each, perfect for an evening aperitif.
The tang of cheese drags you to the other side of the shop where an array of hard and soft cheeses tempt the senses. Cow, sheep and goat each with it’s distinct flavour and aroma. ample stacks of ash dusted goat cheese, Selle-Sur-Cher sit beside large pats of Palet Blanc, made using unpasteurised milk. This is an opportunity to indulge, but in moderation, that’s the French way.
Halfway up the hill is Au Fond Du Jardin with a wonderful hint of summer, the sweet fragrance of berries with the woody aroma of morels.
A scarlet fronted shop piled with produce, succulent and perfect in form and colour. Bouquets of green artichokes tinged with purple, strawberries fat and juicy, Luxurious stout white asparagus and mossy morels.
Almost next door is a wonderful fish shop, L’Escale Marine, fragrant with the smell of the sea, sweet with the promise that usually only comes from buying fish on the quay. The tang of ozone that tells you the basket of scallops will be fresh and tasty.
The pink blush of langoustine, piled in a box, grey shrimp, so undervalued in Britain, and tiny pink shrimp nestling in their separate baskets.
Each so full of flavour and tempting for a picnic later, down by the seine. Just add rich olive oil Mayonnaise and a crusty loaf.
Finally a floral bouquet from Le P’tit Zinc bar á fleurs, flowers in France are always expensive but oh so pretty. Generous blooms in pretty bunches, wooden wine boxes overflowing with ivy, pinks and roses. Zinc tubs of miniature roses, each a tempting gem to carry home.
There is so much to see and try in Rue Des Martyrs, even if, you just window shop. Enjoy people watching in a variety of cafes and take in the wonderful aromas of the fabulously fresh produce. Stepping off the beaten track is amply rewarded.