Umbrella merchant Place Saint-Médard
Atget - 1901
The old narrow street, almost completely pedestrian, still quite picturesque is today a tourist attraction. Though the food shops, butcheries, bakeries, fish sellers, vegetable sellers, have disappeared, except few
down the street, it is still a “food street” with all the lining restaurants of all sorts. In Atget’s time, as shown by his photographs, the street was all lined up with sellers between place de la Contrescarpe and the market in front of
Saint- Medard Church. Not only shops, but also street vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables or this umbrella merchant photographed by Atget.
The Market at the southern end of the street, right outside
Saint-Médard church is open every day in the morning except on Monday. It is quite lively especially on the weekends.
I still remember my delight, almost ecstatic, when as a young inhabitant of the close 13th arrondissement, I discovered this street
and its market. And indeed, I knew many other markets and spent my youth close to the busy rue des Martyrs. However, here, there was something different and new. A bustling area,
with food everywhere, with rich and heavy scents, the sellers shouting and calling the buyers, the church making it a large town market, the narrow and old rickety houses, and already many cafes and restaurants. It was the end of the seventies, beginning
of the eighties. The charm is still a little bit there although many food shops are gone replaced by many restaurants and cafes for tourists.