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I lived on rue du Bac in Paris for eight months. It was during one of the COVID-confinements with a curfew that lasted forever. Everyone tells me that I had bad luck living in Paris during these times, but I beg to differ.
As I strolled up from the Seine in the darkness of the early winter evenings, the beam of the Eiffel Tower guided me home. When I was feeling low, I’d stop by the Miracle Church and I was a regular customer at the Thierry Marx Bakery taking plaisir in my half baguette (“un demi-tradition bien cuit, svp”) and a madeleine nature glacé (a plain madeleine dipped in chocolate). These small rituals and delights of Rue du Bac kept me afloat during confinement.
By the time life started to return to some sense of quasi-normal, I had perused all the window displays on rue du Bac and tasted just about every pâtisserie available. Rue du Bac with its easy access to the Seine and its cafés, boutiques, chocolate shops, and pâtisseries is a gem of a street that is a delight to wander.
Rue du Bac, Paris: A Little History
Before moving to rue du Bac, I had no idea what a “bac” was. As always, there is a story behind every street name in Paris. I had taken the little bac that runs between Deauville and Trouville but had not realized that a bac is, in fact, the French word for a small ferry.
The ferry at rue du Bac was established in 1550 to carry stone blocks across the Seine for the building of the Tuileries Palace.
Before the Pont Royal was completed in 1689, the bac carried aristocracy across the Seine to their evening engagements at the Royal Palace.
It’s easy to admire Pont Royal (the Royal Bridge) with its five arches spanning the Seine. This historical monument is Paris’s third oldest bridge. Stand on Pont Royal and imagine that little ferry running from rue du Bac across the Seine.
14 Hot Spots On Rue du Bac Paris
Rue du Bac Paris is the perfect street to flâner. Slip into wandering mode. The curious observer mood. Invite yourself to dillydally. Be forewarned, your taste buds are going to love Rue du Bac.
I’ve highlighted 14 fabulous places to stop but…leave yourself plenty of time because rue du Bac Paris has countless unique boutiques, concept stores such as Le Grand Comptoir and Conran, a bustling poisonnerie, stunning flower shops, and a lively Italian deli, Pastavino.
1. Deyrolle On Rue du Bac
If you’re strolling on Rue du Bac, don’t miss the chance to wander through Deyrolle at #46. In existence since 1831 and its current location since 1888, Deyrolle is a natural history museum, taxidermy shop and as they call themselves, a cabinet of curiosities.
Be sure to head up to the second floor and be amazed at the polar bears, zebras, butterflies, and sea creatures. Deyrolle is a one-of-a-kind experience and the only shop like it in Paris.
Deyrolle, 46 rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
2. Chocolat Chapon
Patrice Chapon who once made ice cream for the Royal family in Buckingham Palace, creates chocolate delights from bean to bar. His passion for ice cream and chocolate led to the invention of his Chocolate Mousse Bar. Wandering up rue du Bac, pop into the tiny boutique and be prepared for a marvellous taste sensation. Shall it be chocolate from Madagascar, Ecuador or Peru that you sample today?
Be sure to investigate the website as Chocolate Chapon is available in certain stores in Canada and the USA.
Chocolat Chapon, 69 rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
This little detour along rue de Grenelle leads you to one of the most famous fromageries in Paris. Barthélemy is an experience in itself. The yellow doorway invites you into a tiny boutique brimming with cheese. Mme. Barthélemy has been in this location for over 50 years and chats to the regular clientele as old friends. Apparently, Barthélemy supplies cheese to the President of France.
It can be a bit intimidating at Barthélemy so I like to have at least one cheese in mind before entering. Here are my suggestions for French cheeses to savour. The prices seem to soar into the atmospheric range but every morsel of cheese I have ever purchased here was to die for.
Barthélemy, 51 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris
4. Le Beau Passage
Keep your eyes open for the entrances on either rue de Grenelle or rue du Bac into Le Beau Passage. In this 10 000 square-metre inner courtyard you’ll find plenty to keep the taste buds happy. My favourite stop is Thierry Marx Bakery. Their signature baguette called “Le Loyale” is the best I have ever tasted. And I’ve tasted my fair share! I have also indulged in practically all of their pâtisseries, at least once.
If you’re in the mood for macarons, pop into Pierre Hermé where his famous and complex flavoured macarons melt in your mouth. Have you tried his famous Mogador (chocolate and passion fruit) macaron? I highly suggest it!
Le Beau Passage is a great place to people watch especially at lunch time. Grab a coffee at the cart and join the locals in le Beau Passage.
5. Boissier Paris On Rue du Bac
Maison Boissier, one of Paris’s iconic chocolate shops, was founded in 1827 by Bélissaire Boissier. Stop by the elegant boutique on rue du Bac and swoon over the offerings. The packaging is a work of art in itself and the chocolates, chocolate petals, marrons glacées, and pearl-shaped candies are to die for.
When you finally decide on what to sample, remember that Maison Boissier has had loyal fans for hundreds of years, including Victor Hugo.
Boissier Paris, 77 rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
6. Café Varenne
One of my favourite cafés in Paris, Café Varenne sits right on the corner of rue du Bac and rue de Varenne. Don’t be surprised to see police standing watch at the corner outside the café. Not too far down Rue de Varenne is l’Hôtel Matignon the official residence of the Prime Minister of France, Jean Castex. You might even catch a glimpse of his motorcade as you sip your coffee.
Pull up a chair at the very welcoming Café Varenne and settle in for a great meal and superb people-watching. This café is very much one where locals come to share a meal regularly.
Café Varenne, 36 rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
7. Jacques Genin
This corner boutique on rue du Bac, brings a lot of pleasure to the taste buds. Jacques Genin, a well-known chocolate and caramel creator also makes the most outstanding pâte de fruits (fruit jellies). Looking for a gift? The square silver gift boxes from Jacques Genin make an impression.
If you can’t get to the boutique on rue du Bac, Jacque Genin’s flagship store in the Marais is well worth a stop.
Jacques Genin, 27 rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
8. Angelina Paris On Rue du Bac
Every one knows about Angelina Paris on rue du Rivoli. People line up for a spot in the elegant dining room to savour a dreamy hot chocolate L’Africain. But did you know that their signature pâtisserie is the Mont Blanc? This sphere of pureed chestnut hiding the chantilly (whipped cream) and meringue base has been a speciality of Angelina’s since 1903.
Living in France, I have come to appreciate chestnut as a flavour. Not a common choice in North America, it is worth wrapping your tongue around some chestnut delights while in France. Start with a Mont Blanc from the Angelina Paris boutique on rue du Bac.
Angelina’s, 108 rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
9. Square des Missions Etrangères
It’s always a good idea to slip into a park, find an empty spot on a bench and just observe Parisian life. Here, at Square des Missions Etrangères, you’ll find young children playing, elegant elderly shoppers resting, someone perusing Le Monde and others, tête à tête, sharing stories.
It’s the perfect place to indulge your sweet tooth. What Parisian delights will you savour in Square des Missions Etrangères under the watchful eye of Chateaubriand? François-René de Chateaubriand, whose bust graces the entrance to the small park was a French author and diplomat and lived across the street at #120 rue du Bac.
10. Le Bac à Glaces – Ice Cream!
A stroll up rue du Bac would not be complete without a stop at Le Bac à Glaces where homemade Parisian ice creams have been created since 1955. This family-run business creates fabulous fresh flavours and dishes up creamy ice cream and sorbets.
Le Bac à Glaces, 109 rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
11. Foucher, Rue du Bac
Foucher has been pleasing Parisians with their chocolate creations since 1819. It is my go-to chocolate shop. Classic ganaches. Rochers pralinées. The chocolates are divine. But I have to admit, I am swept away by their boxes. The exquisitely artistic boxes are completely enticing. Giving a box of Foucher chocolates to a friend will bring pleasure to both the giver and the receiver.
Foucher on rue du Bac, has a little tea room at the back. Stop by for a hot chocolate!
Foucher, 134 rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
12. The Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
If you’re looking for a miracle, look no further than the little tucked-away church at 140 rue du Bac, Paris.
It was here in 1830 that sister Catherine Labouré witnessed three apparitions of the Virgin Mary. The voice she heard told her to have a medal made. “Have a medal made according to this model. For those who wear it with confidence, there will be abundant grace.”
For close to 200 years, people have come from all over the world to the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal to pray and ask for the Virgin Mary’s protection.
As you wander up rue du Bac, stop by for a quiet moment in the chapel and if it feels right, purchase a medal.
Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, 140 rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
13. Le Bon Marché
My Parisian friends always chime in that Le Bon Marché is the best of all the Paris department stores. I love the classy, hanging artistic exhibitions set amidst their upscale and quality range of products. Hit up Le Bon Marché during les soldes (the sales) in January and June for incredible deals.
Le Bon Marché, 24 rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris
14. La Grande Épicerie
La Grande Épicerie will blow your socks off! It’s called a “landmark food hall” and apparently sells over 30 000 items. Take your time. It’s a great place to find gifts to take home or something for supper. There are gourmet items from all over the world. Don’t miss the champagne and wine section downstairs and the two restaurants upstairs. Calling all foodies to the 7th arrondissement. You’ll be in heaven.
La Grande Épicerie, 38 rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris
How To Get To Rue du Bac, Paris
Conveniently, rue du Bac has a métro stop on line 12.
You could also get off at Sèvres-Babylone -line 10 and line 12.
Bus 69 (one of the best public bus routes to see great neighbourhoods!) also stops at rue du Bac.
I hope you enjoy exploring rue du Bac, Paris!
Until next time,
More Travel Info…
There are also plenty of café suggestions for the Marais area in this post: Tips from a Local. And if you are exploring the area around Canal Saint-Martin, here are the best places to stop for a bite or to find the fixings for a picnic.
Looking for that village feel in Paris? These areas might interest you:
Montmartre, much like Ile Saint- Louis, feels like a small village. This post on Montmartre leads you to the most popular sites as well as some lesser-known places on the hill.
La Butte aux Cailles, tucked away in the 13th arrondissement, is another place in Paris that has retained its village-like charm. My article on La Butte aux Cailles will lead you to discover some the area and its visually enticing street art.
Canal Saint-Martin is another place full of small restaurants, boutiques and plenty of character. Stroll the bridges of the canal under the chestnut trees and feel like a true Parisian. All the details on this “bobo” district are in this article on Canal Saint-Martin.
Le Marais is one of the oldest areas of Paris. Once marshland, it is hopping with boutiques, cafés, gorgeous old mansions and museums. Read my full guide to le Marais and also insider Marais tips from a local.
Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller.
This page has all my articles on Paris that will help you plan out your trip, including day trips from Paris. I hope you subscribed to my newsletter to get my free download – An Amazing 2-day Itinerary in Paris.
If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.
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