If you do a Google search on “bacteria alley Paris France” you get some pretty interesting reading. From Tripadvisor to Le Best of Paris they lambast or praise this small area in the old Latin Quarter in Paris. The two streets, Rue de la Huchette and Rue Xavier Privas, are situated right beside the St. Michel fountain and the St. Michel métro station, one block away from the Seine. These narrow streets are full of character and boast many inexpensive restaurants. We do not know whether these streets are popular with the Parisians, but we saw many tourists like ourselves. The debate whether the restaurants in this area really warrant the name “bacteria alley”, seems a waste of time. More affluent people would perhaps not dine here, the less affluent do and they live to tell the tale of an enjoyable meal in an area with a lively atmosphere. And on the side: it has always been incomprehensible to me that people would always fret about how clean things are. (Yes, Rome is beautiful, but so dirty! Or: Why don’t they paint the buildings more often?)
We remember our first visit to Au Bon Couscous in Rue Xavier Privas. We had returned from London to spend four days in Paris before returning home. As usual, we stayed with our friend André. The first of our couple of days we spent visiting the Musée de Cluny, the Panthéon and just enjoying the beautiful buildings of the area. By lunch time we were so tired that we just had to find a place to rest our weary bodies. Au Bon Couscous provided this. We both loved the Moroccan themed restaurant. Sandra had the chicken tagine, I ordered the lamb tagine. The owner was very friendly and the service attentive.
When we returned home to André later that night, he said he would never eat there. It is called “bacteria Alley”, you know!
On our last day in Paris, a Sunday, we decided to take André out for lunch to thank him for putting up with us (again!). And, spontaneously, our feet took us to Au bon Couscous again. André seemed to enjoy the visit. After an enjoyable Sunday lunch, we went to the Notre Dame and later to the Musée Dorsay. And we all live to tell the tale. (We later learned that André took other South Africans to dine there afterwards!).
And now for our own bacteria alley in Cape Town. When we dined with friends the other night, they told us about the alley in Cape Town called “Eastern Food Bazaar”. We decided to try this as soon as possible. We had to go to the city centre twice recently. And we visited our own alley on both occasions. And what a lively place to buy really affordable and tasty Eastern food! We have tried the Butter Chicken, Tikka Chicken Masala, Chicken curry and the Lamb Curry, all really good! We saw many locals as well as tourists. Maybe it is true to eat where the locals do, when travelling. Except maybe in Paris. But then, maybe there were a few undercover Parisians in bacteria alley!