Flâneries in Paris: Gaiety on the Boulevard Edgar Quinet

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Flâneries in Paris: Gaiety on the Boulevard Edgar Quinet
This is the 14th in a series of walking tours highlighting the sites and stories of diverse districts of Paris. At the top of the stairs of the Edgar Quinet metro station in the 14th arrondissement, I found a  bustling market, some cheerfully busy pavement cafés along the Boulevard Edgar Quinet and four enticing little side roads splaying out and beckoning to be explored. Over it all, at the near end of the Boulevard, loomed the Montparnasse Tower. The market was a delight. Down the center of the boulevard were two rows of stalls, several dozen in total, full of glorious produce from field and ocean. Had everyone in le quartier come shopping? It seemed so. One of the new-to-me cheeses was Sainte Maure-de-Tourain, a sausage-shaped goat’s cheese encased in a black rind. I asked the stall-holder whether you can eat the rind and his prompt “Ba, Oui, Madame,” delivered as he spread both hands out sideways in incredulity, made it very clear that only a foreigner would need to ask. The nearby fish counter spilled over with glistening offerings: pinky-silver squid, the splendidly named daurade royale (sea bream), scallops, huge pink prawns. One stall sold only olives, set out like samples on the green-to-black section of a paint chart. Daurade Royale at the market on Boulevard Edgar Quinet. Photo credit: Marian Jones The food market is open on two mornings a week – Wednesday and Saturday – and it would take months to work through the different take-away options. Wandering down the market, I was tempted by the salade de légumes grillés, a colorful mix of grilled peppers, aubergine and artichoke, but there was also Paëlla Royale, topped off with enormous prawns, and further down, an array of little dishes of hot food: blanquette de veau, boeuf bourguignon and a mushroom dish labelled champignons à la grecque. This is food paradise, I thought, but you can’t have lunch at 11 A.M. Onward! Fish at the Edgar Quinet market. Photo credit: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/ Flickr Rue d’Odessa looked enticing, its entrance flanked by two pretty cafés. On the left, orange flowers and fairy lights cascaded down from the balcony of the Café Odessa, where pretty brass pots on every table were filled with more flowers. Menu items were scribbled in gold all over the windows – digestifs, softs, spiritueux, cocktails premium, bières pression – and so were encouragements to pop in for tea-time or (Sundays only) brunch. The Café de la Place, just opposite, had also dressed to impress. Balcony cascades of foliage and little white flowers, green and cream striped awnings and table umbrellas, natty cane chairs with a dark green trim. I poked my head down Rue d’Odessa just far enough to note that the businesses there have a Breton flavor, the Hotel Celtic and a trio of crêperies with names like Le Petit Morbihan.
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Lead photo credit : Ail rose (pink garlic) at the Edgar Quinet market. Photo credit: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/ Flickr

More in 14th arrondissement, boulevard edgar quinet, cafe odessa, comedie italienne, edgar quinet, Flaneries, Flâneries in Paris, food markets, le dome, le petite montparnesse, le rouge et le blanc, market, Montparnasse, Rive Gauche, rue d'Odessa, rue delambre, rue du montparnasse, The Cafe de la place, wine stores

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Recently retired from teaching Modern Languages (French and German), Marian now has time to develop her interests in travel and European culture and history. She will be in Paris as often as she can, visiting places old and new, finding out their stories and writing it all up as soon as she gets home. Marian also runs the weekly podcast series, City Breaks, offering in-depth coverage of popular city break destinations, with lots of background history and cultural information. She has covered Paris in 22 episodes but looks forward to updating the series every now and then with some Paris Extra episodes.

Comments

  • Joan Smithline
    2023-02-17 05:39:32
    Joan Smithline
    Love this article! We have spent alot of time in the Montparnasse neighborhood during our visits to Paris over the years. Our one month apartment rental was on Edgar Quintet Blvd, right across from the cemetery! This read was a wonderful stroll down memory lane! Merci Beaucoup!

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