In May, we invited Oliver of The Earful Tower and his lovely wife Lina of Parisian Postcards to leave their home in Montmartre and stay with us in the 7th arrondissement. If you follow us on Instagram then you probably saw some videos of that time. Oliver and Lina spent all of lockdown in 30 square meters and still created some creative content, like their entertaining Saturday night pub quizzes and Paris-inspired watercolors (See and order Lina’s art here). We offered Left Bank apartments with more space, and so with that, Oliver and LIna moved into the Bergerac, followed by Calvados and Montagny. Their excitement for our properties was infectious!
After spending two months in the 7th, we asked Oliver and Lina if they’d put together their ultimate guide to our favorite district! The second of seven installments is showcasing the seven best streets in the 7th arrondissement.
Your turn, Oliver!
The Best Streets in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris
As many of you will know, the 7th arrondissement of Paris is filled with most of the main tourist attractions. The Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, the Musee d’Orsay – and the list goes on. But did you know that the 7th also has some incredible streets that are absolutely worth wandering, end to end?
After two months exploring, here are my favorite seven streets in the 7th arrondissement… and the best bit: You don’t need to spend a cent to enjoy them.
Rue de Varenne
I have officially dubbed Rue de Varenne as the best street in Paris for doorways. While most of it is residential, you can skip the sightseeing for half an hour and just feast on the architectural delights of the doorways instead. My tip: Walk the length of the street from the eastern edge and the doorways will keep getting better. If you’re feeling sprightly, you can walk through the final door on the street and you’ll find yourself inside the exquisite Rodin Museum.
Ah, we couldn’t have a list of the best streets in the 7th without a mention of rue Cler, now, could we? This charming pedestrianized street rivals rue Montorgueil in the 2nd arrondissement for best market street in Paris. You’ll hear the friendly shouts of the florists and the grocers; you’ll smell the fromage and the coffee; and you can plonk yourself down on any of the many terraces and get some A-class people watching in a very fashionable neighborhood. Paris at its best! (See our post “11 of the Best Food Streets in Paris” for more deliciousness.)
Rue du Bac
You want old Paris? You’ve got it in spades here on rue du Bac. Pro tip: pop inside the brilliant Deyrolles store, which features a collection of taxidermied animals that many Parisians have never found! The street was once home to the famed painter Whistler. There are also excellent shops with everything from chocolate to clothing, and it finishes down by the Seine River where you can polish off the chocolates you bought as souvenirs for your family. Don’t worry, your family never knew you bought them in the first place. (Here are some of our favorite chocolate shops in Paris.)
Here’s another classic Paris walk. You definitely have to explore it from east to west for ultimate enjoyment. You’ll stumble upon a nearly unrivaled Eiffel Tower street shot near the Thoumieux restaurant at number 79. That’s the spot, and be sure to visit it at several different times of the day for the full experience with busy Parisians, the sunset and sparkling Eiffel Tower lights in the background. Rue Saint-Dominique will give you the feel of the district, it’s crammed with cafes, bars, and shops… and Robert de Niro’s favorite Paris restaurant is halfway along at the Fontaine de Mars. Can’t find it? Why, simply look beside the beautiful 200-year-old fountain with the same name. If you fancy more architectural wonder along the way, stop off at the Sainte-Clotilde church. Oh, and don’t forget to have a coffee at the Bleu Olive, which we recommended here.
This surprisingly wide and tree-lined avenue may not seem fascinating at first glance, and to be honest, it’s not. You’re looking for a very specific section that only spans a few meters. Make your way to number 29 where you’ll find the most marvelous building facade in the city, designed by controversial architect Jules Lavirotte in 1901. Head south to the nearby post office, swing left into the little cul-de-sac, and voila: you’ve just discovered an almost equally impressive Art Nouveau building that will also boggle your mind. Don’t forget your camera, this is Paris at its finest. (Here’s a look at more Art Nouveau buildings in the 7th.)
This one’s for all you Instagrammers. Rue Montessuy offers, without a doubt, the most spectacular backdrop of the Eiffel Tower from a street perspective. The tower looms almost unbelievably large over the Haussmannian buildings, making the perfect photo opportunity. While not everyone knows about this street, you can be sure to spot at least one or two clued-in photographers at the far end of the street, taking that ultimate Paris pic. Tip: Grab a flower from the local florist on the street to really Frenchify your shot. See more Insta-famous spots here.
And lastly, it’s rue Babylone. There are loads of treasures along this street, including the incomparable Coutume coffee shop at number 47. Just down the road is a very well hidden park called the Jardin Catherine-Labouré. Grab a takeaway coffee and find a quiet spot in this wondrous park, which features grape vines, vegetable gardens, and empty benches galore. It’s like the locals don’t even know about this place! At number 55 you can find the house where Yves Saint Laurent spent the last 40 years of his life (though you can’t go in – if only!). Stroll to the eastern end of the road and you’ll find the fantastic Bon Marché department store, and walk a little further and wash it all down with a cocktail and the incredible Hotel Lutetia just across the road. The perfect Paris day!
There you have it — the best streets in the 7th arrondissement, according to Oliver and Lina. If you’re looking for more inspired walks in Paris, check out these sensational walks throughout Paris. Stay tuned for more in this series showcasing the best of the 7th arrondissement.
The Earful Tower is a weekly podcast with guests ranging from tour guides to TV presenters, cooks to comedians, and authors to ambassadors. Have you got his new book yet, Paris On Air? If you want more of The Earful Tower, check out the links below!