October 10, 2014
The 20ème is one of the largest neighborhoods in Paris, covering the areas of Nation, Gambetta, Ménilmontant, and Belleville. Largely overlooked by tourists, this unique quartier is full of locals-only bars and restaurants, art galleries, theaters, charming backstreets, hidden pockets of nature, and a diverse population. As much as I love the familiar streets of the Marais and the Latin Quarter, after spending three months living here this summer, a part of me will always be called back to the 20ème. Here are a few of my favorite historic and cultural spots worth discovering.
View from La Bellevilloise
A historically working class neighborhood, the 20ème was the center of opposition to Emperor Napoleon III during the eve of the First World War, and the very last neighborhood to surrender during the Paris Commune of 1871. Predominantly an immigrant community for the last century, nowadays young entrepreneurs, artists, and bobos flock to the area for its affordable rents, active nightlife, and thriving arts scene.
October 8, 2014
Hoards of travellers and locals alike flock to Paris’ flea markets in search of antique wares and one-of-a-kind finds, and rightfully so. The Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is one of our favorite markets and this series will detail some of its top vendors. Today we look inside the best of Mid-century Modern. Enjoy! – Erin
The Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is the largest flea market in the world, welcoming over five million visitors to its maze of stands and alleyways each year. And a maze it truly is—the sprawling complex houses over 1,700 vendors, from art dealers to artisans to purveyors of second-hand furniture.
Marché Paul Bert
So, you might ask, how do you find your way through this market, and where do you start? While there is value in going simply to get lost, this won’t work if your goal is to really sort the treasure from the trash. It should help that the Puces de Saint-Ouen is divided into 14 separate markets, some of which generally have better quality items than others. The Puces website has a description of each market here.
Marché Paul Bert
October 6, 2014
It’s been three years since Paris food truck forerunner Le Camion Qui Fume hit the cobblestones of Europe’s culinary capital. Since then, the city of gourmet cuisine has experienced a revolution. More and more food trucks have joined the parade along the streets of Paris, invading the city with bistronomique burgers, kebabs, and bagels reminiscent of those in New York.
Just before lunchtime, these camions assemble at neighborhood markets to await hungry Parisians who are happy (or at least willing) to wait in line for a burger from Le Réfectoire or empañadas and helados from Clasico Argentina. Here are a few tried-and-true Parisian favorites to be enjoyed year-round.
September 30, 2014
Parc André Citroën
10% of all Parisians live in the 15th arrondissement, making it the most populous arrondissement in the city, with more citizens than the city of Bordeaux. They come because it’s easy, with spacious boulevards and lovely buildings. They stay because it is a vibrant neighborhood away from the hustle and bustle of all the tourist sights, with great restaurants, excellent public transportation, and plenty of entertainment.
September 24, 2014
From the outside, it looks like any other Parisian covered market. Wander through its romantic 19th century pavilions, however, and you’re transported to a hidden jungle within the Gothic heart of Paris. The sounds of traffic and crowds of tourists coming across the Pont des Arts are slowly drowned out by a piercing crescendo of birds calling from their cages: red and neon green parrots, lavender and turquoise parakeets, tangerine canaries, cooing doves, miniature cockatoos, and more.
The Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux is one of the oldest markets in Paris. Located at the Place Louis-Lépine, it dates back to 1808, when Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as Emperor of France and implemented a number of upgrades to the city, including several different food markets, la Colonne Vendôme, l’Eglise de la Madeleine, and rue de Rivoli.
September 18, 2014
Le Bonbon au Palais
French desserts would make almost anyone’s mouth start to water. Beautifully lined on bakery shelves, they are a heavenly wonder for sweet-tooths. But in addition to pastries, macarons, and mousse au chocolat, France is abundant with sweet regional specialties: Toulouse has its cachou Lajaunie (licorice); Orléans its cotignac (quince hard candy); Aix-en-Provence its calisson (marzipan).
Henri Le Roux
Île-de-France may not boast its own traditional bonbon, but that doesn’t mean that quality Parisian candy makers and suppliers are not putting their flair on other regions’ specialties. Here are some of our favorite artisanal candy shops in Paris:
Le Bonbon au Palais
September 15, 2014
In North America, it’s “back to school.” That time of the year when classrooms fill up and families slip into familiar routines, or start new ones as the youngest step into kindergartens and the oldest fly the nest for college. In France, it’s la rentrée, and is not just about families and their children. Each September, almost the entire population faces their regular routines after a long holiday season.
Since many businesses close for the month of August and three-week holidays are taken for granted, September means Parisians are frantically mourning their fading tans as they get back into the swing of things. Stock that has been arriving slowly over the previous weeks has shop owners scrambling to get their newest collections out on the floor (eg. the Pablo boutiques just announced their collaboration with actress Clémence Poésy, who played Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter series and dabbles in fashion design on the side). Figs and wild mushrooms also begin to perfume the air at local markets, inspiring chefs to rewrite their menus to reflect on fall’s bounty. And, like Canada or the US, it is also back to school for the young ones.
August 27, 2014
A bicycle provides the perfect tempo for exploring a city. You can get from point A to point B faster than you would walking, but it’s slow enough that you get to take in the scenery in a way that riding a bus or metro never allows.
August 25, 2014
Heading east on line nine, you’re welcomed to the unique Paris suburb as your metro tram whizzes by the Montreuil station Maraîchers.
Named after the market gardeners of this formerly green and fertile region, this vestige of the area’s agricultural history prepares you for what Montreuil has now become: a city proud of its bucolic past and embracing its diverse and progressive present.
August 22, 2014
One of the questions we receive most frequently from our readers and guests is, “I’m looking to buy an apartment in Paris – where should I start?”
Buying real estate anywhere has its challenges. When you’re navigating listings, visits, brokers, fees, and regulations from across a continent or an ocean, the whole process can grow to herculean proportions. Although anything is surely possible with unlimited time and resources, very few of us possess either in infinite supply. This is where apartment-hunters come in. Specialized in representing buyers and helping them navigate the French real estate red tape, “search agents” can often be your best resource in helping to make the entire process manageable. Which lets you get back to the exciting part: finding the place you’ll call home in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
We asked our friends at Paris Property Group, renowned Parisian search agents, to give us a list of their top five things to keep in mind as you go about your apartment search. Enjoy, and happy hunting! -Geneviève