On the street where I lived…

Rue Caraman, Constantine, Algeria

On The Street Where I Lived…

IMG_2226 hThis is a view of Rue Caraman (Caraman Street) as seen from Place de la Brêche (La brêche in English is the breech; in this case, la Brêche was an Arab fortification.) The Place de la Brêche had several different levels. This photo was most likely taken from the upper level.

Although I don’t remember the Grand Hotel Continental on the left side of the photo I do know there were brasseries on the street facing each other across Rue Caraman. The brasserie on the right is Au Printemps.

At certain hours of each day, car and truck traffic was prohibited and Rue Caraman was restricted to pedestrians.

My father’s medical office was located on the second floor of a building that had both offices and apartments. My brothers and I were born in this apartment.

Our apartment at 9 Rue Caraman was about 300 ft from Au Printemps. I can remember walking to the Place de la Brêche from our apartment. My favorite memory involves another facet of my daily life in Constantine. Imagine that I would come out of our apartment to the street, turn right (the opposite direction from the Place de la Brêche) walk to the first cross street—name no longer remembered—and again turn right, following that street until I reached rue National. The Patissèrie Coutayar was at the corner. On one of her visits to the pastry shop, the proprietor said to my mother, “Vôtre fils est un bon client.” Translated, “Your son is a good client! It’s a nice story but I did not go as often as the woman suggested to my mother. I had to save the money to pay for the pastries. My favorites were baba au rhum and chocolate éclair. I doubt they would have sprinkled rum on mine. I still remember the pleasure associated with this outing.

It’s difficult to tell the time period but the car models and my memory tells me it was in the 1930’s. I would have been a young boy, most likely between 8 and 10 years old.