An epicurean street and a soldier’s demise
This bustling street in the swish Gros-Caillou neighbourhood of the 7th arrondissement is one of the best foodie streets in Paris. Celebrated American cook and author Julia Child was a regular. She would come here to pick up her ingredients – and flirt with her favourite butcher. “Every woman must kiss her butcher,” she quipped.
Much has changed since Julia’s post-war Paris, but rue Cler has maintained its gourmet credentials. Yet while much is known about the purveyors of delicious goods here, not so much is known about the man it is named after.
Jean Joseph Gustave Cler enjoyed a distinguished career in the French army, reaching the rank of General. He met a soldier’s death in 1859 at the Battle of Magenta, during Napoleon III’s second Italian campaign. Leading a bayonet charge ahead of his soldiers, he was struck by a fatal blow. He was 45. In 1864, the Parisian street was dedicated to him and, in 1865, a statue was erected in his native town of Salins-les-Bains.
Incidentally, it is said that during the Second World War the Salins-les-Bains monument was hidden by Resistance fighters in a rubbish dump because the Germans intended to melt it down for armaments. It was restored to its rightful place in November 1944, using an American Army crane.
From France Today magazine
Read other installments in our “Read the Signs” series:
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Read the Signs: Boulevard Haussmann in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue du Chat qui Pêche in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue des Mauvais Garçons in Paris
Read the Signs: Avenue de Champagne
Read the Signs: Rue du Temple in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue Guy-Môquet in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue des Francs-Bourgeois in Paris
Read the Signs: Boulevard Diderot in Paris