In December, a friend took us to this open-air passage that had recently opened in the 7th Arrondissement with a focus on food. In an expensive neighborhood, it links rue de Grenelle and rue du Bac and boulevard Raspail. We entered through a long, narrow corridor that features "Traversee," a 2018 art installation by Eva Jospin. On one side, the work displays a tangle of wood, branches, twigs, roots and cardboard trunks. A long mirror on the opposite wall reflects the piece.
Inside the passage, buildings displayed various architectural styles, from 18th century to modern. Holiday decorations glittered and newly planted trees offered the promise of shade someday. Sculptures waited to be inspected. But the food shops and places to eat are what quickly captured our attention. Menu boards by various restaurants listed the lunch specials, in an attempt to entice the few people there at 2 p.m. on a weekday to enter. We had already eaten, but wanted to see what establishments might be worth returning to on another day.
Renowned pastry chef Pierre Herme has opened his first cafe here, and that looked promising. A fan of Mersea, I was happy to see its sign for casual street seafood. Tempting cheeses looked out from the new branch of Fromagerie Barthelemy, one of the most expensive cheese shops in Paris. Carrefour City stood ready with groceries and snacks for those on the go. And so it went until we came to Thierry Max Bakery. That's when we decided to duck in for some relief from the cold winter day. Tasty croissants and rich coffee there hit the spot.
During our visit, the pleasant passage exuded newness. It seemed like a wonderful place for neighborhood residents but not an attraction I would have sought out if not for the interest of our friend. In warmer weather, I assume the space would be much more lively, especially with the addition of customers at the outside tables. But I doubt that we would make a cross-town trip here again, though we would not hesitate to stop by if we happened to be in the vicinity.