Sunday, August 23, 2009
Our friends Paul and Lucy have an apartment in the 12th arrondissement on the rue de Charenton, not far from the Gare de Lyon. The 12th is a part of Paris I wasn't familiar with, a pie wedge in the southeast corner of the city that begins at the Opéra Bastille, cuts east through la Place de la Nation to the city's edge at the Boulevard Périphérique, then south through the Bois de Vincennes to the Seine, which forms its southern border.
While the 12th is not a "touristy" part of Paris -- I've seen it described elsewhere as "working class" and "residential," and that seems about right -- Deb and I fell in love with our little quartier, thanks to the Marché d'Aligre, a wonderful outdoor market anchored by one of the last covered markets in Paris, the Marché Beauvau.
On our first morning in Paris, while I navigated the complexities of our shower (whose confident Space Age appearance belied its nervous tendency to leak a small but significant stream of water out under the bathroom door in a furtive meander toward the apparently lower territory of the kitchen), Deb set out on a reconnaissance mission to locate pain au chocolat and a baguette.
She returned to the apartment, stepping over the wet bath towels on the floor, with a wide-eyed report of an amazing outdoor market that started just a block up the street. "They have ... everything. It's huge. Anything you want. You've got to see it."
Rather than try to describe the glories of the place, I'll let some photos tell the tale...