I was born and bred in Yorkshire’s Rhubarb Triangle, so when a friend told me that renowned French pâtissier Philippe Conticini had made a fancy rhubarb tart for springtime, I had to try it. The closest shop was at 31, rue Notre Dame de Nazareth, but I had to go there three times before I was able to actually obtain this delicacy, which meant a lot of wandering up and down the street thinking what a great place it was, even though it’s just a narrow, one-way street with a short row of summer-flowering trees. What gives it its charm is its wide variety of distinctive little shops.
Next to a clothing store for hip skateboarders (Volcom pop-up shop, no. 6), for example, is Vivi, where you can get kitschy flowery bellbottoms for €5. La Perruque (no. 12) sells upmarket leather goods. Farther down the street is a jeweler (Atelier Joze Paris, 31) that can design, mend or transform pieces for you. There are smart shirt stores and clothing wholesalers mixed in with such food shops as the eco-friendly Negozio Leggero, which sells dry goods en vrac (in bulk) to fill your own containers, and Gabriel, specialists in “pastry art,” for bespoke cakes.
The still-changing street is becoming more and more gentrified, with art galleries, posh clothing stores, vegan grocery shops, tattoo parlors and yoga studios rubbing shoulders with traditional businesses like the engraver A.G.S. (Atelier de Gravure et Signaletique, no. 53), where you can have your own wax seal made for those special letters; a picture framer (Atelier Bocadre, no. 5); a fireplace maker (Tiplo, no. 68) and even an undertaker, Schnerf (no. 11).
One of my favorite shops is the wonderful Volume (no. 47), a bookstore specializing in architecture, urbanism, landscape design and photography, where I like to buy farewell gifts for office interns at the landscape architecture firm where I work. While I’m there, I pick up some of the cool stocking stuffers displayed next to the cash register.
Restaurants of all types abound. At no. 10, the modest Doma Korean restaurant was a favorite for takeaway during lockdown (good japchae and a lovely green-tea cheesecake). Among the upmarket restaurants are Istr (no. 41), Elmer (no. 30) and the excellent newcomer L’Oyat (no. 11), recently reviewed in Paris Update.
This is an ancient road, taking its current name from a convent founded around 1630. On Wikipedia, old plans show the pattern of small plots still discernible today – nowhere is there a large single façade, unless you count the delightful ornate arch of the Nazareth Synagogue at no. 15.
Among other traces of history is the fancy lintel of no. 73, former headquarters of a mutualist housing association, and slivers of one of the last wooden pavements in Paris, at no. 38. The Passage du Pont aux Biches, once the site of a bridge over an open sewer, is now edged with inviting terraces facing the junction with Rue Volta.
Philippe Conticini is located at this junction. After finding the shop closed on a Monday, then sold out of my heart’s desire (the rhubarb tart) on Wednesday, I lined up on a Saturday with a number of thin, lovely, well-dressed young Parisians to buy some rich, expensive cakes, including the rhubarb tart, which, as a contrarian Yorkshire woman, I found to be a bit too fancied up. I do recommend the vanilla bombe, however.
In spite of my disappointment with the tart, I was happy to have a reason to flâner on this delightful street. I suggest you do the same soon.
Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth is located near the northern limit of the third arrondissement and runs roughly east/west from Rue de Turbigo to Boulevard de Sébastopol. Métro: Temple.Favorite