I wrote a post on Rue Crémieux last year, but deleted it because I thought, minimalism is my wheelhouse, lots of people write about it anyway, it's overdone, etc. Every now and then, I get an email asking, "Where did this post go?" or "What was that street with all the colorful buildings and cats?" It's here, à deux pas de Coulée verte (Promenade Plantée). Turns out, some of my French friends didn't know this street existed. Often compared to Portobello Road and Notting Hill, the homes- constructed for workers in 1865- remind me of Belle's xenophobic Disney village in Beauty and the Beast, except the residents couldn't be nicer or more welcoming.
In 1910, the street was flooded, with waters rising up to six feet. A typical day on Rue Crémieux might find the rare tourist (usually a guest of Hotel Mignon) snapping photos, residents applying makeup to each other's faces in the street, and neighborhood cats strolling in and out of houses, rubbing their pheromones on anyone and everything. The street's oldest resident, a professor, said he bought their home for cheap (3500€, or something crazy like that) in the 60s. He told me about the woman who spearheaded a campaign to make it a pedestrian road- formerly, both sides were covered in cars- and how once, he and his wife were having dinner when they heard a lady stop outside. "This used to be my home," she explained. "We lived above the grocery store my father had downstairs." People sit outside for hours eating lunch, and on sunny days, residents fling their doors and windows open to enjoy a bucolic piece of countryside in Paris. Once a group of neighbors invited me to join them for a glass of wine.
If you won the genetic lottery that is celiac disease, a lifelong bête noire which engenders fervor akin to the Frozen craze, you can eat gluten-free bagels around the corner at Sain Bio'z. After, take a boat ride under Bastille at Port de l'Arsenal, or visit one of my favorite museums, La Maison Rouge, which has a new surrealist exhibition, "My Buenos Aires." I take very few visitors to Rue Crémieux, because not all of them understand why I like it. I feel the air is a little fresher (it's not), I smile a little more, and the cheery colors and cobblestones are a nice break from Haussmann besides.