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What's the fascination with Rue Cler????

Okay, I give up. We have spent 3 weeks in Paris in the last 13 months. We have visited the Rue Cler area and certainly don't understand why everyone seems to think this is the best place in Paris to stay! We loved being more centrally located (according to our interests) very near the St. Michel fountain.
Is it just because RS thinks it's an economical place to stay? Does something magical happen on Rue Cler?

I'm not changing my location on future visits -- just curious at the overwhelming "need" for people to stay in that area.

Posted by
8293 posts

Janis, I don't understand it either. Maybe it is just to tread in the footsteps of RS. I found it to be an ordinary little street of no particular interest, and was disappointed to find it so, considering the attention it receives here.

Posted by
531 posts

We stayed in the Rue Cler area - I am not going to say it is better or the best, but it suited us just fine. I don't even know how I landed on it to start with but I think it had more to do with the Eiffel Tower area and it being my first time to Paris than it did Rue Cler. But here is what I liked....we had a VERY enjoyable time picking out wine, cheese and pastries on that stretch. On day 1, we got these items and plopped on the Eiffel Tower lawn and relaxed away our jetlagged bones. I would stay there again in a heart beat if only for the bakery that was around the corner from our hotel that we ate at every day (not on Rue Cler). Also Rue Cler had a post office that was handy.

Posted by
2030 posts

I think people get the impression that Rue Cler itself is a unique neighborhood or destination, because it is highly touted by Rick in his books and on his PBS show. It isn't. I stayed in Rue Cler my first time in Paris while on the Rick Steves tour. It's a good place for a first-time visitor, I think. It was totally fine and being located a short walk from the Eiffel Tower was especially nice. The area has some good, reasonable restaurants, a metro station, ATMs & a post office close by, but so do many other Parisian neighborhoods. But Rue Cler is a quiet, convenient area where you can sort of ease into Paris. I also stayed there my 2nd trip to Paris, but since then I've opted for parts of town that I like more -- the 2nd, the 4th, the 16th, the 9th. As you learn more about the city you discover the places you want to hang out in, that are more interesting, have more action, nicer restaurants and stores -- and you quickly learn there are great boulangeries everywhere!

Most of Rick's recommendations are good, almost fool-proof choices for beginners, but experienced people go their own way -- which is as it should be!

Posted by
689 posts

I've stayed in other parts of the city, too, but these are the reasons why I like that area best:

*The (mostly) pedestrian street itself is charming. Yes there are some other market pedestrian streets where but not that many, and others (ie Rue Mouffetard) are quite narrow and not good for hanging out at a sidewalk cafe. I would guess this is why most people like it. It's really nice to sip coffee and not be choked by car fumes, deafened by car horns, and to see the bustle of people going about their shopping, while sitting on Rue Cler

*A nice neighborhood feel. I would guess this is the other big appeal. Nothing is tacky-touristy like the Les Halles area or parts of Montmartre.

*It's QUIET, probably too quiet for many people

*A variety of good value lodgings

*The quality of food vendors and restaurants in the area--my very favorite restaurants (Christian Constant's), chocolate shop and patisserie are all on Rue St Dominique near Rue Cler; Marie Cantin cheese shop is right there; Lenotre is very close
*Walking distance to Champs du Mars, where it's cool to see the tower sparkle at night

*Fairly central--we've walked to a lot of sights from here, others are just a short metro ride, though Paris sights are so spread out there's really no one best place to stay

I still wouldn't argue that it's the "best" place to stay for everyone, and neither does Rick--he's got other areas in his book. It's not for everyone--if you want nightlife, for example, go elsewhere.

Posted by
1449 posts

I've stayed there on a RS tour and thought it was ok, but nothing magical. However people put a lot of credence in what Rick says because they trust him to give good recs, so hence the "need" as you put it to stay there. And it is in a decent location that works for many people, so it's reasonable for RS to recommend it.

Posted by
12040 posts

"I think people get the impression that Rue Cler itself is a unique neighborhood or destination, because it is highly touted by Rick in his books and on his PBS show. It isn't."

Hah! Same with all those who think the Alps = the Berner Oberland only, or that you need to stay in Fuessen or Reute to see Ludwig's castles.

But that being said, I have enjoyed Rue Cler. I'm not going to claim its the best place in the city to stay (I'm in no position to make such a judgment), but it is a pleasant, relatively quiet place to stay. Perhaps so many people want to stay there because it's the only Paris neighborhood Rick really demonstrates on his PBS show as a place to stay, rather than a site to visit. But now that I've stayed there (with a nice Eiffel tower view), I'd probably choose another nieghborhood. I saw the Blue Book Sign a little too often...

Posted by
199 posts

I made reservations for a hotel near Rue Cler for my first trip to Paris this May/June. I wanted to stay in a quite area, with "little mom and pop" type of shops. I also wanted to be near and see the tower light up at night from my room at night. I did a ton of research on tripadvisor before making my choice. I was already considering this area and after reading RS Paris book, I was convinced that I would be acceptable for me. I didn't want to be anywhere close to the "night life". I will be 38 in a couple of weeks. IMO, too old for that!

Posted by
3313 posts

It's fine and it's quiet. Over the years I've seen it become more generic - Tarte Julie is gone and in its place a Greek or Chinese restaurant. But others who have responded are correct, the lack of cars is a plus.

While close to the Eiffel Tower and the Rodin Museum, it's at some distance from other Parisian sights. Also, Rick has made it so popular with his readers and viewers that you truly will be overwhelmed by by fellow Americans carrying blue books in their PBS totes.

Posted by
10344 posts

And let's call Rue Cler by its correct name, the locals call it (or a few of them do, anyway, or so I've been told by my favorite Parisienne, Jona, formerly of Paris and now London)the correct name is:(scroll down)Rue Rick Steves

Posted by
11507 posts

I have not stayed there, and I will likely never stay there.
It is not my favorite area, I do not consider it central for walking to the main sites,, and I love walking.
I am also sorry to say it is a street clogged with tourists, most of them American or Canadian, and I think if one is going to stay in a touristy area( as most central arrondissmonts are) then at least I like staying in an area filled with many different nationalities. One time I waited in line at St Chapelle and listened to the swirl of languauges in the line around me,, the Germans, the Italians, and also one langauge I can only assume was Eastern Europeon,, I loved being in a multi cultural stew of tourists.

On my RS this past summer the tour did not stay in the 7th, we stayed in the 14th. My friend is going on a RS tour this June and just recieved her hotel list for Paris, she will be staying in the Bastille area, no where near Rue Cler,, l guess RS feels there are many other good areas to stay in, and I agree.

I do think the car free aspect IS nice, but, do you stay on your street long enough to care, I am out and about all day myself.

Posted by
1717 posts

Hi Kent : Ha Ha Ha, Ho Ho Ho, Hee Hee Hee -- we appreciate your humor here. I saw the video of Rick Steves at Rue Cler in Paris. I do not remember hearing him say that Rue Cler is unique in Paris. Rick said : in that very large city Paris, a person can be in a neighborhood that does not feel like it is in a big city. That appeals to me, because I generally do not like being in very big cities. Rick mentioned Rue Cler as being an example of one of those neighborhoods. And, reading some of the other replies here, I see that Rue Cler is a good choice of a neighborhood in Paris, for some people. If Rick Steves did not also do a video of him in an other small quiet neighborhood in Paris, perhaps the reason for that is because he thinks doing the same kind of video on an other street would be redundant.

Posted by
35 posts

I visited Rue Cler in Dec. on my second visit to Paris and I didn't get what the big deal about it was. May be it was just me. But there were the same kind of places right by where I stayed in the 6th. I guess for a first time tourist or someone overwhelmed it can be a nice way to ease into the city. That was my opinion.

Posted by
264 posts

Finally, you guys voiced what I've always thought. The truth is, "There is nothing special about Rue Cler."

Except of course, it's in Paris!

Posted by
191 posts

We stayed there in Sept 08 and we enjoyed the area. It was charming and quiet and we felt safe. We picked it because we have friends that have stayed in the area in the past and enjoyed it and bc of the recommendations by Rick. Is it the only place we'd ever stay? No but we would stay there again.

Jona moved to London? I was wondering why she never posted anymore.

Posted by
65 posts

I do not think much of Rue Cler myself. I like the 6th around St. Sulpice and the lower 5th around St. Michel fountain. I agree, Rick has pushed this area.

Posted by
2030 posts

Yeah, I stay in other areas too, but usually hit the Cafe du Marche or Tribecca when I can on Rue Cler -- I like those places, crowed with tourists though they are.

Posted by
32237 posts

There are lots of great areas in Paris, but I chose the Rue Cler area as it seemed like a logical choice. It was walking distance to the Eiffel Tower, easy access to the Metro, good choice of restaurants & delis, convenient ATM's and an SNCF Boutique in the area to make arrangements for the outgoing journeys. Although a bit "touristy", I liked the atmosphere in the area, and felt quite "at home" there.

I may choose a different area for the next visit, not because I didn't like Rue Cler but simply to try something new.


Posted by
3580 posts

I've been to Paris quite a few times now and feel that rue Cler is my home neighborhood. I stay in other areas sometimes, but always visit rue Cler at least once. I know where things are there and have some favorite lunch places. For walkability, I think staying in the 5th is best; most of the major tourist sites and inexpensive food are within walking distance. I like the 4th for walks to the Seine, Isle St Louis and Notre Dame.

Posted by
283 posts

We go to Paris every year and I have stayed in Rue Cler twice. Here are my takes on it:

Too many Americans--why go to Paris? Stay home if you want that experience.

It is not that quiet--we stayed at La Motte Picquet three years ago and it was terribly noisy all night.

The food shops are terrific.

Everywhere we ate was filled with tourists.

No where to walk, except to Tour Eiffel--everywhere else you need the Metro. AND all the steps in that station make it a terrible climb after a day of touring.

Posted by
1170 posts

We went to Rue Cler in June just to see what the fuss was about. Wasn't impressed. Have been to neighbourhoods that were way better with less tourists.

Posted by
2788 posts

I second Ken's posting (like I usually do). I have stayed there before and will return there in May. I just like "it's feeling".

Posted by
12040 posts

"No where to walk, except to Tour Eiffel--"

What about Les Invalides, the army museum, and the Rodin Museum? Four major sites within walking distance, I would say that's pretty good.

Posted by
2092 posts

"Nowhere to walk except the Eiffel Tower..."
It's also an easy walk to the Champs Elzysées, the Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries and on and on and on.
Yes, there are a lot of Rikniks but there are tourists everywhere, after all, it's Paris and there have (almost)always been many tourists everywhere in Paris proper.

Posted by
796 posts

I'm going to chime in again on the Rue Cler debate. I enjoyed staying in the area and will stay there again. I found it central enough; could be due to the proximity to a Metro and RER station. One of my fondest walks in Paris has been along the Seine all the way from the Cluny Museum back to the Rue Cler area. The Rodin museum is very close as is the L'Arc de Triomphe and the Seine. On 2 Sunday afternoons, I watched the roller skating parade; what a site that was! This area of the city works for me but I don't expect everyone to agree. It would be really awful if all tourists wanted to stay there !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!