Living up in the Oberkampf region of Paris is great: it’s not too expensive, touristy, or pretentious (yet). But most places of interest (bars, restaurants, museums, shops, etc) are concentrated towards the center of town. And in order to get to the center of town, I spend a lot of time meandering the crowded streets of the Marais.
Hot dogs make me so happy!
There is one block in particular that has become my favorite pit stop on my way home from “town”: the beginning of Rue du Vieille du Temple. I start at the hole in the wall hotdog establishment called Mosaique, where the proprietor fishes out a boiled hotdog from a basin, pops it in a extra chewy bun (you know how Wonderbread has that peculiar way of sticking to the roof of your mouth? That’s the kind of bun I’m talking about), slathers it in onion relish, and places it tenderly on a cooling rack shaped like a wiener dog. Then he smears on my condiments of choice and leaves me to artfully add pickles and crispy fried onions to my heart’s content!
Mango and oreo toppings. Not a recommended combination.
With hot dog in hand (and in mouth) I walk up the block in the direction of home. It only takes a minute for me to finish my “chien chaud” just in time for my second course: My Berry (the french version of the popular U.S. frozen yogurt chain Pink Berry). I opt for plain yogurt doused in kiwi, mango, pineapple, and raspberry, just to round out the color palette. I slurp that down within a minute or two as well, which is convenient since by now I’m already entering the dessert phase of the evening: the dirty photography bookshop.
Deceptively PG window display at Les Mots à la Bouche
I never bother hanging out upstairs at the dirty bookshop. I honestly couldn’t tell you what’s up there. I know for a fact that the good stuff is all in the basement anyway. The most interesting book I’ve found in there is a handbook for “pony-play” fetishists, or in other words, people into dressing up as horses and getting freaky. Freaky indeed.
So that about wraps up my personalized tour of the Marais. It will take a total of 20 minutes, depending on how fast you walk, how hungry you are, and how long you can stand to be in a dirty bookshop before feeling like a creep. To be fair, I eat really fast but I also walk REALLY slow (to give you an idea, in college I got kicked out of a walking club for being too slow), which gives me plenty of time to a) eat the hotdog before I get to the frozen yogurt shop, b) eat the the frozen yogurt before I get to the dirty bookshop, but then c) look just long enough at dirty books to satisfy my curiosities but not long enough to feel pervy or obliged to buy anything.
Timing really is everything.
Mosaique, for hot dogs, 43 Rue du Roi de Sicile (hot dogs 3 euro a pop).
My Berry, for frozen yogurt, 25 Rue Vieille du Temple.
Les Mots a La Bouche, for dirty books, 6 Rue St. Croix la Bretonnerie.