Parisian Living

Saint Germain’s Best Kept Secrets: Living On The Rue du Bac

by Maggie Battista

Last Spring, Maggie was lucky to spend some time in Haven in Paris’ gorgeous Rue du Bac 2-bedroom. A relative newcomer to Paris, she made the most of her expat status by seeking out the hidden gems her wonderful neighborhood had to offer. She shares a few of her favorites with us here…

Saint Germain Paris Woman Bike Rue du BacOne & Only Paris Photography

I adopted the Saint Germain neighborhood up and down Rue du Bac as my home away from home earlier this year. Eventually, to my delight, the neighborhood started to adopt me in return! After seeing my smile amidst the sea of scowls over and over again in the long lines in their shops, the local merchants actually started to smile back, even if it was ever so slightly.

Each vanishing grimace assured me it was okay to start feeling at home. And I did, quickly. As an American girl in Paris, I knew the quickest way to appear even remotely French would be to build up my arsenal of Parisian necessities, all within the few blocks around my apartment. To that end, I hereby share what I think every aspiring local Parisian woman needs:

Saint Germain Paul Louis Courier Rue Du Bac ApartmentPaul Louis Courier Apartment, near the Rue du Bac (One & Only Paris Photography), Erica Berman

A favorite restaurant: La Laiterie Sainte-Clotilde (64 Rue de Bellechasse 75007) was located just a few blocks from my flat and filled with wonderful owners (an older Mom-type and a young hipster) who put out effortless, chic food with a warm welcome. A gal-friend and I stumbled across this gem and it’s really worth the little walk.

A favorite cheese shop: Barthélemy (51 Rue de Grenelle 75007) always had everything I needed for my end of meal cheese plates. I later discovered that another good friend, who grew up in Saint Germain, believes it’s the best cheese shop in all of Paris. Perhaps that’s debatable, but I enjoyed every cheese adventure I embarked on in this tiny boutique.

A favorite butcher: Guilhien Jean-Bernard (82 Rue du Bac 75007) roasts the most succulent farm-raised chickens — perfect after a long day walking around Paris when I just didn’t feel like cooking. Though we had trouble communicating since my French was, well, non-existent, the owner and his family were always super sweet and never minded resorting to sign language to help me get my dinner.

Cafe Saint GermainErica Berman

A favorite wine shop: There are a thousand great affordable wine shops across Paris and I was sad to have one of the most expensive ones, started by one of the world’s most famous chefs, right near my flat. But La Cave de Joël Robuchon (3 Rue Paul-Louis Courier 75007) actually turned out to be a girl’s best friend. The sommeliers would talk through every meal with me and advise me of amazing wines, all within my price range. My husband became a big fan, and we became fast friends with the sommeliers, speaking of holiday plans, fabulous recipes and great tasting reds.

A favorite pastry shop: I’m fairly traditional when it comes to sweets, favoring an old-fashioned millefeuille above elaborate concoctions like sculptural éclairs bound in fancy chocolate wrappers. But when I wanted to impress my local friends, I’d slip into La Patisserie des Rêves (93 Rue du Bac 75007) for a very pretty dessert. The grand, perfectly symmetrical pastries are all featured under glass spotlights and handled with white glove style care.

Saint Germain Rue du Bac Chapon ChocolatesChapon Chocolates on the Rue du Bac (EverJean), View from the Bac Penthouse (Maggie Battista)

A favorite flat: Due to a glorious turn of events, I lived in the Bac Penthouse with Terrace for almost six weeks. Next time, I’m setting my sights even higher, as I’ve fallen for this gorgeous 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom property on a quiet side street called Paul Louis Courier. I can totally see myself cooking up a feast in that kitchen, or slicing up a roast chicken from my favorite rotisserie.

And, as any French girl would, I also had a few tricks up my fashionable sleeve!

  • Skip making dessert for your next dinner party. Just pick up a pint or two of homemade chocolate mousse at Chocolat Chapon (69 Rue du Bac 75007).
  • I do shop for little bits of things throughout the week, like a true French girl. But when I’m hosting a cocktail party, I like to go for nicer items from Le Bon Marché (24 Rue de Sèvres 75007). If it’s a larger event, did you know that the local Monoprix (50 Rue de Rennes 75006) delivers?

Have you stayed in the neighborhood around Rue du Bac? Do you have any suggestions or surprises on your must-visit list? I’m heading back soon and this American girl is always happy to receive advice on how to feel more like a local. Merci, in advance!

Written by Maggie Battista for the Hip Paris Blog. For our amazing rentals in Paris, Provence & Tuscany check out our website Haven in Paris.

Written By

Maggie Battista

Passionate about fine dining and old-fashioned hospitality, Maggie is focused on finding hidden, authentic food gems and is absolutely in love with the creamy, salty butter sold all over Paris. She also runs an online magazine and market called Eat Boutique, where she discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. Maggie’s based in Boston, with frequent trips to Paris, Brooklyn, Maine, and northern California. View Maggie Battista's Website

15 comments on “Saint Germain’s Best Kept Secrets: Living On The Rue du Bac

HI thanks for the recommmandations … i found a shop Les 3 Marches de Catherine B who is specialized in Chanel and Hermès vintage ! amaizing shop !
Erica

What’s so amazing is that I know all of these haunts staying at 78 Rue de Bac. And you are so right about the shopkeepers coming around eventually. The guy at Hartwood finally waved to me after me waving everytime I went to Monprix to grab some necessities. As a guy I think that it is a bit harder to break the Parisian tough exterior but they come around eventually. I think uncharacteristically warm weather may have something to with it. I bid adieu to this great city next week but your post has come the closest to describing what’s it’s like to live on this wonderful block. Also, made my way over to the ten and met Amnaye from Thanx God. He was wonderful and there are some Incredible finds there. There is also another good Frip (sp?) on the same side of the street with some very good finds.

What a fabulous place!

Linda, I adore Deyrolles. Loved wandering through that store…

Lily, I met Meg for drinks just after one of her fabulous walks down Rue du Bac. But I’d love to go on that walk sometime… 🙂

Stacey, Beaux Arts is another lovely road. Enjoy your trip and all that fabulous cheese!

Thanks for the comments, ladies! — Maggie

Hello.
We are in Paris visiting from NJ, staying at an apt on Rue des Beaux Arts. I was looking for a good cheese shop via google and found your wonderful blog!
Thank you for the suggestions!
We are headed to Barthelemy right now!!!!!
Stacey

Nice tips Maggie! Some of these shops are featured in our Baguette to Bistro culinary food walk, you’ll have to try it when you come back 🙂 http://ow.ly/2DSCp

Did you find Deyrolles? It’s been rebuilt after a fire. It’s full of exotique stuffed animals.

Candice at NotesFromABroad

I can almost remember what good chocolate tastes like ~
My husband lived on rue du Bac years and years ago, we always stayed on rue Jacob when we visited if staying in a hotel, on rue de Grenelle when renting an apartment.
I really need to go back soon, it has been over 4 years !
See what happens, move to another continent and you lose track of how long it has been since you were in Paris !
Everything has changed since we were there, I just know it !!

Belle de ville, isn’t that Bac Penthouse just gorgeous? I still dream of my early evening wine on that terrace…

Justine, do you have a favorite Rue du Bac spot? I’m always looking for new ones… I’m also staying on Rue Servandoni this Fall, so any advice there would be appreciated too.

Thanks everyone! — Maggie

Love rue du Bac!

What a wonderful left bank flat.

OMG, that chocolate mousse made my evening on so many occasions, Erica! -Maggie

I can’t wait to go and try that chocolate mousse from Chocolat Chapon! And le patisserie des reves is next on the list. So much food in Paris, and not enough time!

Ah, the pictures alone have made my day! I love this.

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