Le Café du Marché
38 rue Cler, Paris (7th)
The Tried and the True
This is another place we’ve returned to again and again since 2007 when we lived in Paris, and it’s hardly changed at all. The side outside seating got a sturdier protection for cold weather than just the plastic sheeting “wall”, and an extra toilet was installed, but otherwise it looks just the same, and acts just the same.
The Café’s on rue Cler, a pretty market street in the Eiffel Tower area, one recommended by Rick Steves. So, this café is always busy with many tourists, but also many locals, and the tables are packed close together, but that helps create the special atmosphere.
This is an active street in a lively neighborhood, so people-watching is a lot of fun too. People pass by on foot, on bikes, pushing strollers, or wheeled shopping bags. Kids come on scooters, holding balloons, and many people have dogs, usually on a leash, but some small dogs are toted around in a carry bag or basket too.
The wait staff are amazing—manoeuvering between the tight spaces with their full trays, and delivering what people ordered.
We’ve tried a couple of dishes here (lunch and dinner) but have developed a routine where we prefer this as a lunch place and will make a special effort to come (on Line 8, to Ecole Militaire). Our favorite dish (and what we always order now) is the Salade Marché: they start with a bed of lettuce, then add four separated servings of what we call “the four “Cs” (cole slaw, cooked cauliflower florets, grated carrots, and couscous), sometimes adding green beans or diced cooked beetroot too. This is topped with slices of raw ham and a big disc of foie gras. Served with sliced baguette, of course. A real bargain at 11 euros.
Over the years (and we probably come at least once, sometimes twice, a year), this salad has not changed at all—a wonderful thing for our taste buds! And a tribute to their kitchen. This is another case of…why change something when it works so well?
The last time we were there in early April, we paid 38 euros for two salades marché, a demi liter of rosé wine and 2 coffees. Very good value in Paris.