This Bustling Street Full Of Shops And Eateries Is One Of Rick Steves' Favorites In France

You've heard of the iconic, trendsetting charcuterie board that's revolutionized the concept of international snacking. While throwing a dash of that and a pinch of this onto a wooden cutting board has become the American version of a lazy night in, a street in Paris is the ultimate charcuterie board brought to life. According to European travel guru Rick Steves, Rue Cler is the place to be when sourcing your kitchen staples. Brimming with boulangeries, fromageries, and specialty food shops, Rue Cler is arguably the most aesthetic street in Paris. Much like a Saturday morning farmer's market, Rue Cler is a Parisian local outdoor grocery market and a must-see in the city — picture supermarket aisles replaced by flower carts and small cottage-like shops with the windows flung open to welcome a fresh spring breeze. Together, this curated montage resembles what a typical Parisian weekly grocery run can look like.

Rather than putting all their eggs in one basket (literally), Parisians prefer to shop by specialty, selecting in-harvest veggies from the produce shop before sourcing their daily supply of cylinder-shaped cheese from the next-door fromagerie. Many French household amenities, such as refrigerators, aren't the oversized coolers Americans are used to. Instead, locals in Paris shop daily, emptying the remnants of their fridges before restocking with a fresh supply of goods. More importantly, market runs are about more than just food — they're a chance to socialize with friends and family and keep tabs on the latest scoop in the neighborhood. 

A vibrant montage of garden goods

Located in the 7th arrondissement, this bustling market street is open daily, with the exception of Mondays. A popular outing for Sunday brunch, sourcing a fresh bag of greens, refreshing flower vases, and more, you can find just about everything on the picturesque street of Rue Cler. Parisian restaurants, gourmet food stores, adorable ice cream parlors, and wine shops comprise the majority of Rue Cler, stretching from La Motte Picquet to Rue de Grenelle. According to Steves, the rhythm of Rue Cler is a finely tuned ritual. Locals slowly make their way from shop to shop, gathering a fruitful harvest of essentials, a concept he coined "picnic shopping."

The local produce shops are one of Steves' favorites, freshly stocked with a shining seasonal supply of green, orange, and yellow delicacies. Rue Cler boasts two separate grocery stores, Franprix and Leader Price, on the west and east sides of the street. With high standards for food, it's not uncommon to see locals sniffing out the freshest finds in the produce sections of Rue Cler. According to Steves, Parisians cycle their food with the seasons and often don't purchase items sourced outside France, sticking instead to locally sourced items from inside the nation — listing the country of origin for each item displayed is mandatory. Flanked by pâtisseries, cozy book shops, floral stalls, and brasseries, produce stalls are just the beginning of a well-spent day on Rue Cler.

Designing a Pinterest-worthy charcuterie board

It would be all too easy to spend hours upon hours getting lost in the wonder of each market stall's divine spread of goodies. If you only have one day in Paris, there are a few spots that should never be missed. As an essential part of Parisian culture, a day without cheese is practically unheard of. Filled with every size, color, and mold of cheese imaginable, the fromagerie is a must-not-miss on Rue Cler, and this indulgent cheese shop also sells a delicious spread of butter, yogurt, and farm-fresh eggs. A fresh baguette naturally goes hand in hand with a serving of Brie or Beaufort, so don't forget to pick one up.

The only thing missing from this elevated picnic spread is some protein-rich deli meat from the charcuterie. According to Steves, it's common for local Parisians to rely on ready-to-use deli goods rather than uncooked meats, given the small size of their kitchens. All the market shopping is bound to make you tired and desperately need a place to rest your feet. Cafe du Marché is a gorgeous corner cafe and an excellent place to watch the world pass by the window. Known for its seafood, it's always worth taking a look at the specials on the hand-scrawled menu.