Sunday Afternoon in the Marais …

We don’t get out of the apartment until 2:00 PM. It had been sunny earlier but the clouds are coming in. We have become accustomed to this weather. It will rain but not hard and not consistent, so we don’t take umbrellas.

We have decided to walk to the Marais (the 3rd and 4th arrondisement), where we had stayed two years before. We cross the Seine and walk down Rue du Rivoli and into the tiny streets off Rue de Temple, across Rue Rambuteau. It is Sunday and most of the shops are closed so the streets are relatively quiet.

We cut across Rue Vielle du Temple and then onto Rue des Rosiers, the “Jewish street” of Paris. We are in another world. The shops are all open and the streets and stores are packed with people. We know rue de Rosiers from a previous visit when we stayed in the apartment of a friend.  Our front window looked directly down the street. Here we can get strudel, challa, knishes, herring, smoked fishes.  You can that is, if you can squeeze inside. We pass the well-known Sasha Finkelstein’s and decided we’d come another day.


But there were long lines of young people in front of all the take-out windows of the falafel shops. And all of them kosher, (cacher in French). An affordable lunch of 5 euros.


As R points out – the Kosher Jews of Paris are selling food that in the U.S. is synonymous with the Arab Middle East.  The smell of the falafel tempts us, but the long lines are daunting. Another time.  We move on and end up in a small square – St Catherine – where we have eaten before. We wander through the square and come across a tiny café, Bar de Jarente, with a 15 Euro menu - two courses and they look good.


We go inside the small café passing through a covered outdoor area with tables and chairs and those willing to brave the temperature. We sit at a table next to the bar and order a bottle of wine. E will have the onion soup and entrecote and R will have the confit de canard and the nougat glacé for dessert.  We placed our order and are sipping our wine.

A man who appears to be the owner of the café brings back two dishes from the enclosed terrace sitting area saying that the customers said it wasn’t any good. He tastes it, the young woman working the bar tastes it, another waiter tastes it. They all agree that there is nothing wrong with the dish – a typical French salade, frizzé, sautéed gizzard (gizers), topped with a poached egg. As they are discussing it, a woman comes in to explain why the salad is not good. They do not argue they will make her something else.

After she leaves the owner looks at us R says in French, “La probleme n’est pas la cuisine, c’est la femme.” (What’s wrong is not the food, it is the woman.”  He replies laughing, “C’est toujours comme sa.” (It’s always the women.)

He brings the dish to our table and asks R if she would taste it. R finds nothing wrong with it and we all begin a conversation that takes us through the meal – which was delicious and certainly the least expensive one we have had so far. And we realize that it is 4:30 PM and we are still having lunch.

E takes a photo of our hosts:


We give them our blog address and tell them the whole world will read about them. The owner thanks us and explains that once they become famous even we will have to call in advance for a reservation.

We leave the restaurant and everyone insists on shaking our hands. We walk home, shop for chocolate (it comes in thin sheets, like tissue paper at this particular shop on rue de Rivoli)


and then shop at another store to buy some dishes and glasses.  This shop too was stocked with people as well as crockery. E just loved the woman with her dog and had to take a picture.


We walked a usual route home across the Ile de la Cité past Notre Dame and this time decided to go inside. A mass was in progress and incense and organ music filled the church. Built in the 12th century to Our Lady, the church is as beautiful and restrained as the Madeleine is bombastic. Sitting in the relatively narrow nave and looking up at the graceful gothic arches some 189 feet overhead, you are pulled from your seat upwards.


It was a solemn moment until we glanced to the side and saw a young couple across the aisle with their Louis Vuitton shopping bag.


                                           Pulled back to earth.

2 Responses to “Sunday Afternoon in the Marais …”

  1. I enjoy reading the details of your walks and of the food and the people you see and talk with. It is quite fun. And the photos are perfect addition.
    The chocolate is overwhelming.
    The color yellow on the Sasha finkelstein building is a blessing on such a cold grey day, no?
    What do you do with sheets of chocolate?
    Doggies yes, children no. am I right?
    I remember patrons coming into the restaurant with the dog, never the child.

    you have a very good thing going here. I look forward to tomorrow.

  2. I love the display of sunglasses at the sunday afternoon restaurant.

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