Paris has perhaps a hundred streets like Rue Saint Dominique-hardly changed under the weight of history, full of surprises and special wonders, beckoning a walker to pick his or her way through its delights. These streets are the glory of Paris. To savor the city, a resident usually adopts a few close by. Rue Saint Dominique on the Left Bank of the Seine River happens to be my favorite.
The pissoir on Rue Saint Dominique, one of the few left in Paris, stands at the edge of a small park near the St. Clothilde Church. French composer Cesar Franck was the organist of the church from 1858 to 1890, and the park honors him with a statue. But the drivers who park their taxis on Rue Saint Dominique from time to time and rush to the green metal stalls probably do not know this.
After 11 city blocks, Rue Saint Dominique reaches its end at the Champs de Mars, the parade ground that is now the site of the Eiffel Tower. The tower stands like a giant over Rue Saint Dominique. The French writer Guy de Maupassant used to eat lunch in the tower. "It's the only place in town," he said, "where I don't have to see it."