Aside from the obvious reasons - the charm of the pedestrian market street, the restaurants, people watching, famous bakeries, fromageries and attractive yuppies - rue Montorgueil holds particular significance to my Parisian identity. I'm not the only one, it would seem. Nichole stays in the neighborhood each time her work and/or need to restock her butter supply brings her back to Paris, Amy use to host pastry smackdowns in her Montorgueil digs, and David knows it's the spot for cheese. It's central, lively and evidently the stage for spontaneous capoeira performances. It's where I've caught up with friends or made new ones over drinks, had the best piece of cheesecake and pretended to enjoy pork for the sake of impressing a boy (not my finest moment). But most importantly, it was the fortuitous backdrop to my first date in Paris.
It's strange how our memories of a specific place change form over time and with experience. Each time I pass Les Petits Carreaux restaurant, I try to mentally reenact my first meal with Mr. C, often with great difficulty. The restaurant looks smaller than I recall, less appealing. The street itself has taken on new perspective much in the way the Eiffel Tower does after you've seen it for the 10th time. Still, I feel a natural pull toward the street and find myself meandering from shop to shop and café to café reminiscing about the last five years of life. As I watch the homeless men at the top of rue Montorgueil dance wildly to the music booming from their circa-1985 stereo perched on their shoulders, as I pass by new parents joyfully pushing strollers and as I witness hungry sweet-fiends tapping their feet impatiently on the cobblestone street while waiting in line for their afternoon snack from Stohrer or Eric Kayser, I know I'm home.
More photos from rue Montorgueil (and surrounding streets) HERE.