Paris, Right Bank: secret, trendy spots
The Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysées and the Louvre Museum no longer hold any secrets for you. On your next trip to the French capital, you want to get to know the joyful, trendy and down-to-earth Paris. Are you ready to slip into the shoes of a real Parisian? Head for Faubourg Saint-Antoine, located on the right bank of the Seine. This quartier, famous since Louis XIV for its carpenters and cabinetmakers, has retained its village appearance, with its courtyards and secret passages. A clamour draws you to Saint-Antoine market, one of the oldest and liveliest in the city. You find other stalls along the nearby Rue d'Aligre. As you wander between the market gardeners, visit the colourful Bernard Bonhomme bric-a-brac shop and fill your tote bag with spices, dried leaves and sweets from the last Parisian seed merchant. Here, everything is purchased by weight, following the advice from the charming owner. Don't leave this quartier without having admired the magnificent wooden framework of the old covered market in Place d'Aligre. Take a welcome break at Café CC, to enjoy a freshly roasted coffee and home-made pastries. Regular exhibitions, concerts and writing workshops are organised here, highlighting the way of life in this eastern Paris quartier. You leave energised for a shopping trip on Rue de Charonne.
La Graineterie du Marché d'Aligre (Seed Merchant)
8 place d'Aligre
+33 (0)1 43 43 22 64
6 rue Théophile Roussel
+33 (0)9 83 36 48 68
Shopping and bistronomy on Rue de Charonne
Welcome to this temple of Parisian elegance, frequented by fashionistas on the lookout for the latest trends. Bohemian-chic style lovers risk losing their heads on this long 11th arrondissement street, with its plethora of designer boutiques, stylists and gourmet bistros. Start by escaping into the fascinating world of digital and kinetic arts at Galerie Lavignes Bastille. It was in this avant-garde venue that Andy Warhol's only Parisian exhibition was held, in 1986.
Your tour of trendy spots takes you through French Trotters. In this concept store of men and women's fashion with a cutting-edge selection, you will fall for Michel Vivien's signature leather boots and spicy orange velvet pants from Band of Outsiders. A little further along, you will love the offbeat, urban style of the Sessùn brand! Designer Emma François seduces you with her refined yet relaxed style, inspired by her many trips around the globe. Having revamped your wardrobe, explore the small adjoining gallery, where artisans display their handcrafted lighting and jewellery. How about a few ethical gifts? Altermundi presents itself as a resolutely sustainable store and offers you a wide range of choices between its leather bags by French brand Enveloppe, its thick Scandinavian hats and its attractive gold jewellery collection, set with semi-precious stones. All items use recyclable materials and come from brands committed to protecting the environment.
Your treasure hunt around the shops of Rue de Charonne has whetted your appetite. Great idea to reserve your table at Septime three weeks in advance! Awarded one star in the Michelin Guide, this restaurant, supervised by the young Bertrand Grébaut, symbolises the incredible creativity of this new generation of neo-bistros that are reinventing French gastronomy. Facing a workshop canopy that gives you a view of the kitchens, your mouth is watering as you watch the refined dishes on the seasonal menu, served in perfect harmony with natural wines, consumed in moderation, of course!
French Trotters (Charonne)
30 rue de Charonne
+33 (0)1 47 00 84 35
34 rue de Charonne
+33 (0)1 48 06 55 66
39 rue de Charonne
+33 (0)1 55 28 97 13
80 rue de Charonne
+33 (0)1 43 67 38 29
The creative, friendly atmosphere of Canal Saint-Martin
Your immersion in trendy Paris brings you to the banks of Canal Saint-Martin. An air of friendliness floats over this dynamic and creative-minded area. Behind its clean façades, you will discover pleasant boutique workshops and micro-restaurants.
Quai de Valmy, Antoine and Lilli's decoration boutiques take you on a journey into a colourful bohemian world. A little further on, Make My Lemonade awakens your girly side. This pop, offbeat place, in the image of designer Lisa Gachet, inspires you with a desire for exuberant clothing. In the haberdashery section, a revolutionary app allows you to calculate the yardage you will need to make your home-made skirt! At the Lemonade café, you warm up with matcha tea among other budding seamstresses.
On Rue Bichat, you find another trendy spot: Soliza. This concept store selects beautiful objects made by talented craftspeople. Precious jewellery by Maison Abel, fashion accessories by Maradji, made between Europe and India, clay or natural porcelain creations by Anouka ceramics... You will always find a unique item to your taste.
Why not try a chef's cuisine? Away from the hustle and bustle of Canal Saint-Martin is the excellent Cantine de Quentin, both a restaurant and a grocery store. On the shelves: terrines, home-made jams and mustard with truffle juice. In the kitchen, Quentin Hofmann works wonders. You start with a sweet potato, beetroot, roasted seeds and kaffir lime soup before continuing with octopus accompanied by hummus, grenaille potatoes and Iberian chorizo...
At aperitif time, head for the Comptoir général, a fascinating bar known to all the inhabitants of the quartier. Its extraordinary atmosphere promises you a motionless journey. The retro furniture, with hundreds of plants filling the rooms, is reminiscent of cabinets of curiosities. Upstairs, the decoration pays homage to the Maghreb, while the patio recalls Provence, with its ochre walls and the small fountain in the centre.
Antoine et Lili (Quai de Valmy)
95 quai de Valmy
+33 (0)1 40 37 41 55
Make my lemonade
61 quai de Valmy
+33 (0)9 67 42 23 97
32 rue Bichat
+33 (0)1 40 40 03 76
La cantine de Quentin
52 rue Bichat
+33 (0)1 42 02 40 32
Le Comptoir Général
80, quai de Jemmapes
+33 (0)1 44 88 24 48
Immersion in cosmopolitan Belleville
A stroll after dinner takes you to the heights of Parc de Belleville, one of the most cosmopolitan quartiers of Paris. This hill has a history that is centuries old. Under the Merovingians, vines were grown here to produce a slightly sparkling wine. It was also the scene of a great battle in 1814 between the Russians and the French. Today, this perfectly laid-out garden is a haven of peace right in the heart of urban bustle. Walk along the waterfall fountain, the accessible lawns and the 140 vines that bear witness to the area's wine-growing past, then climb up to the terrace. An exceptional view over Paris rewards your efforts.
Taking a stroll back down through Rue de Belleville, you explore Chinese supermarkets and small Asian canteens: welcome to one of the epicentres of the Chinese community in Paris. Briefly taking in the walls and façades covered with fleeting graffiti on Rue Dénoyez, you stop for a mint tea at the terrace of Café Aux Folies, a must-go place to visit in the quartier. One Thursday every month, there is a food market. If you are lucky enough to be there, go and soak up the earthy atmosphere of this market, which spreads its stalls of world cuisine in the open air along Boulevard de Belleville. An opportunity to savour the specialities of each community, alongside other gourmet dishes. French, Mexican, Chinese and North African dishes are offered to you in abundance: you just have to choose!
Take advantage of your visit to Belleville to check out the neighbouring 19th arrondissement. Another emblematic park of the capital welcomes you: Buttes Chaumont. Its vast, green hills welcome Parisians for picnics and sunny afternoons. Twenty minutes' walk away, you will discover one of the treasures of local urban culture: Le 104. This place brings together a host of events: concerts, shows, organic markets, bal-musette style dances... Its halls are also loaned free of charge to local dancers who use them to rehearse: hip-hop, voguing, contemporary dance... You admire these modern choreographies coming together. After this whirlwind of urban life, you sit down at Yaya Secrétan, for a tasty Mediterranean getaway. In the kitchen, the Chantzios brothers revisit a variety of recipes made by their yaya, their dear grandmother. You fall for the osso buco with pine honey and its seasonal tabbouleh or the grilled cuttlefish served with lemon chickpea purée with Espelette chilli pepper, surrounded by modern, bright decor. Far from the clichés of the City of Light, Paris reveals its multicultural side.
8 rue de Belleville
+ 33 (0)6 28 55 89 40
Belleville Food Market
Le 104 (CENTQUATRE)
5 rue Curial
+33 (0)1 53 35 50 00
33 avenue Secrétan
+33 (0)1 42 41 12 86