Strolling in the 19th – Part 1

Paris’s 19th district I feel is sometimes misunderstood. It’s a big district, so this is split into two parts. Part one is the Eastern 19th. (Western 19th will come later on)

The 19th arrondissement is the home of Place des Fêtes, Jourdain, the Quartier d’Amérique and La Villette as well as many other unique- and sometimes forgotten- places. In case you’re a bit unsure of where the 19th is, it spans the northeastern Parisian limits. It is such a charming and different area. I started to fall in love with it while roaming around. It almost feels untouched by the cliché mob of tourism that often takes over Paris.

The whole adventure started with a view looking down on Paris through rue de Belleville from Pyrénées (line 11), where Annie and I met up one cold and rainy Saturday. From there we wandered north on rue de Bellville into the midst of the 19th’s treasures. Once we got up by Télégraphe we went due north on Rue du Docteur Potain to find the Mouzaïa Villas that are hidden up by the périph behind Place des Fêtes. Sure enough, heading eastwards on Rue de Mouzaïa brings you right to the bottom of the most precious streets packed with pastel-coloured duplexes on both sides. It was so incredibly picturesque. Ever so kindly, a man saw us awing over the adorableness of the houses and he chatted about the area and how pleasant it was to live there- and of course full of history. I would love to have a neighbor like him! I have had issues finding information on Le Quartier d’Amérique’s history, but all I can say is is that it has the most interesting yet flawless combination of architecture.

From the villas we looped around between the towers to Place des Fêtes, which that particular Saturday had an antique market/garage sale. It was busy and exciting as everyone was out and about. From here, you’d only be a short walk to Parc Butte Chaumont, which I find to be one of Paris’s best kept secrets. Of course the 19th reaches Paris’s limits at Parc de la Villette as well, which is whole other ballgame of adventures. (You’ll see both of these places in Part 2!)

While roaming this area,  I felt as if I was not in Paris for a short second… but then I realized that maybe people have an incorrect vision or cliché expectation of the city as a whole. Paris is a puzzle of unique and diverse sectors. Each arrondissement has it’s own little twist. Sometimes you’ve got to branch out from the center to experience it all.

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Some random suggestions in the 19th:

Aux Bons Amis – Bar/Restaurant – Belleville

BarOurcq – Bar – Laumière

Butte Chaumont – Park – Laumière

Cabaret Sauvage – Concert Venue – Porte de Pantin

L’heure Bleue – Restaurant – Botzaris

La Faitout – Snack – Belleville

La Géode – Cinéma – Corentin Cariou

La Rotonde – Bar/Venue – Place Stalingrad

Le 104 – Art Center/Venue – Crimée

Les Mère Veilleuses – Bar – Pré Saint Gervais

Les 400 Coups – Restaurant/Bar – Jourdain

Rosa Bonheur – Restaurant/Guinguette – Botzaris

Zoé Bouillon – Restaurant – Butte Chaumont

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Strolling in the 20th

The 20th is one of the districts of Paris that in many ways remains untouched.

The stroll began right at the exit of metro stop Alexandre Dumas, which falls on the intersection of Boulevard Charonne and Rue de Bagnolet— which is also the border of the 11th and 20th districts.

Miss Annie (the homie of mine who knows all things concerning Parisian history, and thus is the instigator of such strolls) met up with me and we started to wander eastwards up Rue de Bagnolet. Annie lived in this area during a study abroad when she was 16, so she knew the area pretty well, despite the radical changes and gentrification it had been through in the recent years. The street is filled with little shops, cafés, bars and tucked away villas filling the street with color. On this little hike you’ll pass Le Merle Moqeur on the left, which is a preciously kitsch bookshop with loads of accessories and stationary-like goodies. If you keep wandering in the same direction you’ll come across of two of the most amazing thingsthis part of town has to offer: La Flèche D’Or and Mama Shelter.

Both of these little havens rest right upon La Petite Ceinture, which is an old railroad track that circles Paris. It has been deserted for years, but still illustrates a little hint of history every time you see it near the Parisian inner walls (photographed above). It’s a good question why it’s not in use, but the debate continues concerning what to do with it. La Flèche D’Or, one of Paris’s highlight concert venues, is an old station from the railroad and keeps it’s spunk with the evacuation stairs leading down to the tracks and of course the views of the tracks from the bar/café upstairs.

After a few ooh’s and ahh’s over the preciousness of both of these venues, we wandered up to see Place Edith Piaf, by metro Porte de Bagnolet. This little place sports the name of one of France’s most famous icons, who was known to have come from the 20th district of Paris.

This part of town lead us to the northern rim of Cimitère Père Lachaise, one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Paris (I mean, they’re all stunning). Icons such as Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are buried in this cemetery. Autumn was the perfect time to stroll here, as the sidewalks were covered in orange and golden leaves…..luckily we didn’t catch any rain that day. You can see some photos of Père Lachaise in the fall by Making Magique right here. Up from Père Lachaise cemetery is where the 20th merges with the other districts (11th & 19th), near the depths of Belleville. Right before- however-  you’ll pass Menilmontant, an area that is also bustling with life. Right east of the Menilmontant metro on rue Menilmontant is Paris’s oldest and most well known “squatters” paradise, La Miroiterie (also a concert venue, gallery, bar etc…). On the way back down rue Menilmontant, stop and get an Algerian pastry in one of the local shops. They are delicious.

Now Up to Belleville. (By the way, you can read more on the entirety of Belleville right here,.. because it sits on a few different Parisian districts, this post focuses simply on the southeast side of the petite ville toute jolie). Belleville is one of the parts of Paris that all people should wander a little bit. Its rich colliding-of-cultures make it a rich adventure worth taking. Beyond the cafés and busy streets are abandoned alleys filled with street art and other amazing outdoor installations. In this area is also La Bellevilloise, which is a great place for all things artsy. Check their website for upcoming events and the likes- even stop in for a coffee. If you wander back enough you’ll hit le Parc de Belleville, which from the top has a stunning view of all of Paris. Heading north you’ll go until the southern border of the 19th. Sometimes I wonder how I did not discover these places until now, after 4 years of living here. These areas are what make up the true Paris. The untouched Paris.

Go on now, discover this part of Paris. You won’t even feel like you’re in Paris- which is simply exciting. Paris has so much to offer outside of the cliche everyday central things- it’s worth a gander.

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Some Random Suggestions in the 20th:

A la Vièrge de la Réunion – Bar à vins – Maraîchers

Aux Folies de Belleville – Bar, Café, Brasserie – Belleville

La Bellevilloise – Concert venue, Art Space, Café – Ménilmontant / Pelleport

Le Comptoir des Mots – Bookstore  – Gambetta

Confluences Maison des Arts Urbains – Art Space / Gallery – Philippe Auguste / Alexandre Dumas

La Féline – Dive Bar – Ménilmontant

La Flèche D’Or – Concert Venue, Bar, Club – Alexandre Dumas / Porte de Bagnolet

La Flûte de Gana – Boulangerie – Gambetta / Pelleport

La Mer à Boire – Bar – Pyrénées

Le Merle Moqeur – Bookstore – Alexandre Dumas

Les Mondes Bohèmes – Restaurant, Wine Bar, Gallery – Alexandre Dumas

Les Pères Populaires – Bar – Buzenval / Avron

Le Poisson Bleu – Wine Bar – Alexandre Dumas

Mama Shelter – Hotel, Restaurant, Bar – Alexandre Dumas / Porte de Bagnolet

La Miroiterie – Espace particulier – Menilmontant

O Mille et Une Fèves – Chocolaterie – Alexandre Dumas

Le Studio de l’Ermitage – Performing Arts Centre / Music Venue – Ménilmontant / Saint-Fargeau

Z’indems Café – Bar / Restaurant – Alexandre Dumas

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Strolling in the 10th

The Xème Arrondissement de Paris has a lot to cover, so please forgive the image-heavy-ness of this post.

Le  Xème arrondissement de Paris a quand même pas mal de choses à découvrir, alors excuse-moi pour le dose de photos sur cet article!

[Passage Brady: Great Indian food selection]

[Strasbourg Saint Denis]

[Sweat Shop: Sewing Café]

[Boulevard Saint Martin]

[Lib’on]

[Pink Flamingo]

[Rue Lancry]

[La Fontaine]

[Chettinadu]

Where do I begin to describe the 10th district of Paris…. Frankly it is a melting pot [like most places in Paris, but this one especially]. Annie & I journeyed starting at Jacques Bonsergent, just north of République on the border of the 3rd. From there we headed northeast towards Canal Saint Martin on rue Lancry, filled with traiteurs, shops and the likes; Greek, Lebanese, Bistros, Brasseries, Librairies. Forging onwards we crossed Canal Saint Martin by the Pink Flamingo (they give you a balloon when you order and then come find you sitting at the canal to deliver your pizza!) we went up rue de la Grange aux Belles, where we stumbled upon La Fontaine. At La Fontaine I must say they have the most adorable Draft Beer server EVER. It’s floral and porcelain like (photo above)… I fell in love. Especially with Hoegarrden on tap, I was set.

We then continued our journey northward trailblazing new paths we had never ventured before, crossing back over the canal northwards near Château Landon and the newly discovered El Nopal, and then following the side of the rails from Gare de l’Est. We crossed the rails on rue Louis Blanc, with views my eyes had never set upon in Paris, before popping down a street you and I know well, rue Cail where Chettinadu is located. After a few samossas we finished our journey going down Boulevard Saint Martin, until the grandiose arches – once the entrance to Paris – at Strasbourg Saint Denis. We observed the area as it sure is a mix of boho/ethnic culture, represented by a multitude of nationalities. Don’t forget to pop by the Passage des Petites Ecuries before your boho/ethnic adventure in the 10th is over, it’s quite the passage to stumble upon, in a place where you won’t expect something cute.

Où est-ce que je peux commencer pour décrire le 10ème arrondissement de Paris… Franchement, c’est un mélange de plein de différents styles et cultures [comme Paris en générale, mais quand même cet arrondissement le montre très clairement]. Avec Annie on a commencé d’errer les rues du 10ème à métro Jacques Bonsergent, juste au nord de la place de la République sur la frontière du 3ème et 11ème. De cet endroit, on a pris la rue Lancry qui est remplie de différents traiteurs et boutiques: grecque, libanais, bistros, brasseries, et libraires. Après on a continué à traverser le Canal Saint Martin près du Pink Flamingo (tu peux commander une pizza et ils te donnent un balon rose pour livrer ta pizza au canal) et puis on a suivi la rue de la Grange aux Belles, où on a découvert le petit trésor La Fontaine. A la Fontaine, je vais juste admettre qu’ils ont la pompe à bière la plus mignonne que je n’ai jamais vu! C’est floral et en porcelaine (photo ci-dessus). Je suis tombée amoureuse… surtout car ils avaient Hoegarrden en pression, le paradis.

Après la petite bière de l’après-midi, on a ensuite continué au nord-est sur les rue que l’on n’avait pas pris le temps à visiter auparavant. On a traversé à nouveau un pont du Canal Saint Martin au niveau de Château-Landon, où se trouve El Nopal [Tacos!]. Juste à côté on a vu toutes les rails de Gare de l’Est en passant vers Louis Blanc, à côté d’une rue que je connais si bien: rue Cail. Bien sûr on est vite fait passé chez Chettinadu pour manger un petit samossa de légumes. On est ensuite descendu vers Gare du Nord et Strasbourg Saint Denis où se trouvent les anciennes portes de Paris; on s’est promené et observé le mélange de boho/ethnique qui se présente par une multitude de nationalités. N’oublie pas de trouver le Passage des Petites Ecuries, un petit passage où tu ne vas pas d’attendre à quelque chose de si adorable. 

Some Random Suggestions in the 10th:

Bizz’Art – Restaurant / Bar / Jazz Club – Louis Blanc

Bob’s Juice Bar – Beverage Shop – Jacques Bonsergent

– Chettinadu – Indian Restaurant – La Chapelle / Gare du Nord

Chez Jeannette – Restaurant / Bar – Strasbourg Saint Denis / Château d’Eau

Chez Prune – Restaurant / Bar – Jacques Bonsergent

– La Chope des Artistes – Bar – Strasbourg Saint Denis

Le Comptoir Générale – Bar – Jacques Bonsergent

La Fontaine – Brasserie – Colonel Fabien

Mystery Tattoo Club – Tattoo Parlor – Jacques Bonsergent / Colonel Fabien

Le Napoleon – Restaurant / Bar – Strasbourg Saint Denis / Château d’Eau

– Li’bon – Lebanese Traiteur – Rue Lancry – Jacques Bonsergent

Nanashi – Organic Restaurant – Gare de l’Est / Poissonnière

El Nopal – Taco Shop (To Go) – Château-Landon

Pink Flamingol – Pizzeria – Jacques Bonsergent

Le Point Ephémère – Art Space / Café / Concert Venue – Jaurès

– Le Pompon – Bar / Club – Bonne Nouvelle

The Sweat Shop – Sewing Café – Jacques Bonsergent

For some more tips on the 10th, you can check out Prêt à Voyager’s tour of the arrondissements here. This year’s Cupcake Camp in Paris run by Sugar Daze will also be held at the Comptoir Générale this year!

This weather has shown that summer is ending. As sad as it is to see the warm weather cool down, I am indeed anxious for the leaves to start turning. It’s simply magical in my eyes.

And also, do share fun places I missed in the 10th—- the list is endless I am sure!

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Strolling in Belleville

Belleville (line 2 & 11) is a magical part of Paris. It’s also a part of Paris where you almost feel like you’re not even in Paris anymore. That is the beauty of Belleville. This week we wandered over from the Canal to take some pictures on Rue Denoyez- a street filled with graffiti, and not far from an even more immense representation. Surrounded by ethnic vendors and hole-in-the-wall shops, you can find precious cafés with open seating such as Café Aux Follies. If you wander from the metro north alongside the Café Aux Follies- take a right onto Rue Denoyez, crossing the alley and at the end taking a left, and then another left when you see an empty area. This abandoned lot is filled with graffiti, where once upon a time I took these photos years ago in the same spot:When I first came to Paris I was taking a course combining two different disciplines : Politics and Comparative Literature – but all concerning Paris. One of our first walking tours we went to Belleville, described as one of the parts of Paris where so many artists and citizens of different cultures, nationalities, and backgrounds could live together in one area. To this day it still bears a strong mix of different cultures which reflects the feeling you get when walking through Belleville.

More to come on Belleville and the 19th and 20th in the future. I’d love to explore more around there and go up towards Buttes aux Chaumont and the canal (easing towards the 10th arrondissement). There is so much to see, jeez.

“Belleville is not a zoo, it’s a jungle.”

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Strolling in the 18th

As a matter of fact, today I strolled in quite a few arrondissements with great company. But I will focus on the 18th, as I deeply miss being a Montmartoise, and cannot wait to be one again in the future- as it is my favorite part of Paris, and I truly miss living at Lamarck to roam the hilly streets! It all started with a cupcake at Berko.

Ca commence: If you get off the metro at Blanche, on line 2, exiting right in front of the Moulin Rouge– amongst other interesting things…  you can walk upRue Lépic (passing Café des Deux Moulins of the famous Amélie Poulain) and pop into Berko for a cupcake à emporter or sur place. Continuing upwards, at the top of the street you go to your right on Rue des Abbesses towards metro stop Abbesses, which leads to the bottom of Montmartre (la butte!). But, if you’re feeling adventurous — as we were today– go on any street that seems like it’s going upwards, and eventually you will find the top with Sacré Coeur. This particular Friday we had the pleasure of arriving at the top just as the guy singing and playing the guitar  on the steps was singing an acoustic version of “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. Let’s just say that this moment ultimately made my day even MORE amazing. With the view of Paris, of course.

We then heading down on the left side of Sacré Coeur (while facing the city of Paris, back to the church) and sat in the grass  for a bit before heading to Halle Saint Pierre (epic books!!!!!) and  Marché Saint Pierre  to wander around. This is the perfect place for fabric- F.Y.I.: gingham galore in EVERY color! Montmartre is definitely my favorite part of Paris. There is effortless charm and bundles of precious galore anywhere you turn your head. Wander stories will continue in this quartier, that is for sure.

Until next time, Montmartre coté sud………

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Strolling in the 2nd

I feel ashamed to say that I have been in Paris for so long but I never went to appreciate the preciousness of the 2nd around Etienne Marcel (line 4) and Sentier (line 3).

Boy was I dumb- it is too cute! Rue Montmarte leads to Rue Tiquetonne (very à la française, often where photos like on the Sartorialist are taken, amongst other street fashion blogs) which is right on Rue Montorgueile which is just packed with cafés and shops. You can get carried away… especially in Kiliwatch. Vintage shoes and urban clothing, foulards galore! While you’re at it pop by Royal Cheese and admire their Cheap Monday denim wall… It is definitely a different atmosphere on this side of town!

On the one day where it happened to be 18 degrees (Celsius) , Caro and I were roaming the 2nd. All the springtime chairs were out for the sidewalk cafés with their walls folded back to get some of the sun and passerbys. We stumbled upon Le Coeur Fou, and Le Café Noir. Perfect places for a glass of red wine and a good conversation.

Stroll down Rue Montorgeuil and Rue Tiquetonne… you’re bound to find a few things you like.

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Experimental Cocktail Club – Cocktail Bar – Etienne Marcel

Footsie’s – Bar – Opera

Frenchie – Restaurant – Sentier

Frog & Rosbif – Pub – Etienne Marcel

Kiliwatch – Vintage and Modern Clothing Shop – Etienne Marcel

L’Atelier du Chocolat – Chocolat Shop – Sentier / Etienne Marcel

Le Café Noir – Bar/Café – Grands Boulevards

Le Coeur Fou – Bar/Café – Etienne Marcel / Sentier

Le Dénicheur – Café / Brunch Restaurant – Etienne Marcel / Sentier

Le Loup Blanc – Restaurant – Etienne Marcel

Pâtisserie Stohrer– Pastry Shop – Sentier / Etienne Marcel

Rice & Beans – Mexican Restaurant / Burritos – Réaumur Sebastopol

Twinkie – Breakfast Restaurant – Etienne Marcel / Réaumur Sebastopol

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