Friday, July 15, 2005

Zone Pietonne

The thing about mass transit and urban density is that they can support (economically speaking) car-free pedestrian zones with RESTAURANT DISTRICTS. Here are three of my favorites in Paris

1) rue de la Roquette/rue de Lappe just off Place de la Bastille

2) Rue Mouffetard (metro: Place Monge).

3) I like to eat around the Place St. Michel, too; the restaurants just east of the place on rue de la Huchette, rue de la Harpe, and rue St. Severin. It's fun. People call it derisively 'Bacteria Alley,' but it looks safer than the food court at the mall. Anyway, all I get there is a sandwich grec frites. There's another little place on the west side of the Boulevard St. Michel. People also decry that part of the Quartier Latin for being too touristy, but these are the same people who are happy to plop their ugly shorts-wearin' asses down for a coke up in Montmartre. Seriously, who eats on Montmartre?

There's also the development at Bercy, but it's annoying.

The tiny restaurants in the old town of Aix were also really cool; I wish I could have eaten there more. I love sitting in an outdoor cafe where you can hear a fountain but no cars.

Seattle once had a pedestrian zone; they closed off 5th Avenue and Westlake. It was WAY COOL. The department stores didn't see it that way though, so they had the streets reopened to cars. Downtown Seattle has been in decline ever since.

There is a little restaurant district in Pioneer Square, but the restaurants can't stay in business. Why? There's not enough density or transit to support it. Also, the rainy winters don't help.


bitchphd said...

Also, the restaurants in Pioneer Square kinda suck.

john patrick said...

Of course they do. Pioneer Square is a terrible place for a restaurant vis a vis American dining habits. Homeless people, no place to park, etc. etc. Pioneer Square isn't a draw.

Exceptions: Togetsu, Salumi, that argentinian place.

City folks want to dine in a neighborhood bistro. Suburbanites want to dine at a theme restaurant chain. The beautiful people want to dine in those "pop cuisine" joins which shine brightly for two years before declining and closing. And as for haute cuisine in Seattle...

I just finde haute cuisine to be irrelevant. Those restaurants decay into either a) an excellent neighborhood bistro b) a pop cuisine joint with no substance, or c) an institution.

Anyway, Pioneer Square will perk up when they build more condos and finally build my monorail. Pray for my monorail, children.