One of P'Niche's favorite ways to learn the quirks of Paris is to wander the streets, just taking in all of the sights, sounds, and scents. (Let's be honest, I am usually turned around, waiting for google maps to catch up), but it is after all, how we discovered the Turbigo Angel, which is such an unexpected treat.
These days, social media guides a lot of the way of travelers and for this, I can be no exception, as the pastel wonderland that is la rue Crémieux was calling my name. Let's take a P'Niche peek to learn more of this bright delight.
Well, first off, let's take note that the street was originally called rue Millaud, from 1865 to 1898, and was developed as a housing complex for the many construction workers of the time.
It was in 1898 when it was renamed for Monsieur Adolphe Crémieux, a Frenchman who was a lawyer, politician and even served as Minister of Justice during the Second Republic, as well as the Government of National Defense. Born and raised in the Jewish faith, he served as President of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, where he remained a lifelong devoted defender of the rights of Jews in France, making particular strides for citizenship for Algerian Jews in France.
Jumping ahead to January 1910, we're at the "1910 Great Flood of Paris" when the city was flooded for over two months, with waters reaching dangerous levels, closing streets, main floors of shops and residences and the métro system. In fact, the métro lines did not reopen until April of that year. More on this flood soon, so do subscribe to the Parisian Niche to return and learn more soon...
Rue Crémieux was not left untouched during these watery days.
The water (at its highest point) reached as high as 1.75 meters (that's nearly 6 feet to you and me) on building number 8.
To this day, you can find a petit earthenware commemorative plaque as a reminder of that flood.
And how did the street become what many call the prettiest in Paris? Well, in 1993, the local residents petitioned for the petit cobblestone way to become car free and accessible only to pedestrians. In exchange, the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) asked for the residents to spruce up their homes. In an "only in a Parisian HOA kind of way" the homeowners decided on the pastel home fronts we see and enjoy today.
The street is a quiet oasis of color in a busy part of town just steps away from the busy Gare de Lyon station (and is located between rue de Lyon and rue de Bercy in the 12th arrondissement). It measures a petit 144 meters (472 feet) long and only 7.5 meters (24 feet) wide.
Most of the buildings are painted in a whimsical cotton candy palette, with many boasting fairy tale decorations of trompe-l'oeil. You can see here delicious lilacs, whereas other home fronts have birds in flight, perhaps escaping a cat on the prowl.
And you know it - with the advent of social media, influencers, and video streaming channels (and their vloggers), the hashtag #ruecremieux is now linked with tens of thousands of images, which send throngs of tourists to this quiet abode - much to the chagrin and dismay of the locals, who, in 2019 petitioned for a gate to be erected which would close the street on evenings, weekends, and Paris' glorious golden hour - peak photo time.
Fear not, you can still get to visit la rue Crémieux and get that Insta-snap.
I have found the best time to be early morning, just after the sunrise.
That said, please do try to be quiet and respectful in the street, with locals trying to quietly enjoy their morning coffee - this is their home, after all...
Want to check out rue Crémieux? Great!
rue Crémieux, 75012
Métro: Quai de la Râpée (Line 5)
Gare de Lyon (Lines 1, 14, RER A and D)
If you arrive via rue de Lyon, you will see Le Crémieux (a hip organic restaurant).
If entering via rue de Bercy, you will see Yukos (famous for yummy sandwiches).
So, P'Nicher are you ready to stroll this picturesque pastel hued avenue or have you already done so and want to share your photo op? Sound off in the comments below et à bientôt!