Paris – The Rue Barrée

There is one street which changes place every day and is never without commerce; it multiplies itself quite often in different parts of town; upon it no vehicles pass, and quiet descends or, if you prefer, ascends from its pavement: this is the street which has traffic cut off from it while being repaired, the rue barrée (barred).

You may think that the merchants which seem to spring up from below over night, with their little tables and their varied merchandise, are here accidentally. No, indeed. Street peddlers they may be, but they are not here today and there tomorrow by any sort of guesswork; they have their own newspaper which, among general information and advertisements of value to them, gives them the official list with dates of the “rues barrées.” It does more than this; it gives the dates of all the local fairs and fêtes in the provinces, so that the peddler who has his cart or car can be on the move and be certain just when he will find a crowd assembled in the towns he passes through.

As for the advertisements in this newspaper, the addresses are mostly in the rue du Temple district of Paris, where are to be found at wholesale the thousand and one articles which appear upon the sidewalk merchants’ tables and in their suitcases. But, bear it in mind, all who do business regularly have their licences in order and pay their taxes circumspectly; this is no gypsy enterprise, open-air though it be.