September 19, 2013
For decades, Pigalle was known mainly for its sex shops, seedy shows and working girls. During WWII, this sketchy section of Paris earned the nickname “Pig Alley” thanks to its bawdy rep. But these days, Pigalle has earned a few new monikers as well as a cleaner reputation. Now, in NYC fashion, trendy locals refer to it as either NoPi (North of Pigalle) or SoPi (South of Pigalle).
While both North and South have plenty to offer, it’s SoPi that’s become the latest neighborhood to watch. Moving beyond nighttime entertainment, SoPi is packed with plenty of destination restaurants, food shops, cafes and enough to make an itinerary that runs from morning until nighttime.
To get a day’s worth of enjoyment out of one the city’s hippest ‘hood, kick start things with some caffeine at Rocketship. Like many places in Paris, they don’t open until later in the morning, so make your way there leisurely. In keeping with the neighborhood’s NY-inspired nickname, this concept coffeeshop works a Brooklyn vibe and offers chai lattes alongside coffee from Coutume.
After coffee, take time to browse the boutique. Benoit, the owner, prides himself on finding unique treasures and includes a good number of pieces from SoPi-based artisans.
Le Rocketship, 13 bis rue Henri Monnier, Paris, 75009, +33 1 48 78 23 66
September 12, 2013
Cantine Vagabonde (Didier Gauducheau)
It’s no secret that some of the most interesting things in a city happen off the tourist grid. New restaurants, music and, of course, lots of art gets made in places where the rents are cheaper, the residents funkier and the tourists far fewer. Paris is no exception. Such is true of the area in north eastern Paris in and around the 19eme. Thanks to some major cultural attractions and a smattering of fun eateries, it just may be on the brink of its moment.
Cantine Vagabonde (Didier Gauducheau)
Setting off from Metro Stalingrad one recent afternoon, I discovered a quartier in exciting transition. Where its once dilapidated streets were lined with international call centers and cut rate shops, a new energy is palpable in a smattering of neighborhood boutiques, vegetarian eateries and performing arts centers.
Le Louxor (Erin Dahl)
Here are the highlights.
Le Centquatre. In 2008 the Marie de Paris unveiled Le104 (Le Centquatre), a performing and visual arts center that serves as the creative hub of the area. It’s a vast and luminous space that features rotating exhibitions and installations from this summer’s epic Keith Haring retrospective to “interactive” work that quite literally invites audiences to experience art first-hand.
August 22, 2013
Frenchie To Go
It’s 1pm, and your stomach is growling. For many in Paris, that means a stop by the closest boulangerie for a classic sandwich au jambon fromage. But for those of us who want a little more oomph between the slices, two of our favorite resto/bar à vin combos have opened up lunch operations as well.
Frenchie To Go
It’s no secret that we at HiP Paris are big fans of Verjus, Braden Perkins’ and Laura Adrian’s triplex that sits kitty-corner to the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. So it should come as no surprise that when I heard that they would be opening for lunch with a menu of creative sandwiches based on cult classics from the US, I went running.
Verjus Wine Bar
The menu features three sandwiches (as well as an off-menu vegetarian option), all of which are served with a daily choice of classic lunchbox desserts such as snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, or caramel brownies, plus a non-alcoholic drink, for €15. There is also an option to supplement wine or beer for an extra €3, for those of us who moved to France for the option to have wine at lunch.
July 24, 2013
Tucked away on a quiet street in the 11e arrondissement, just across from a lovely little park where hipsters and bobos alike can be seen taking in the elusive summer sunshine, Chez Mamie Green is known for serving up some of Paris’s best organic brunches.
This pocket-sized place has seating for only a dozen people or so, but it’s packed full of charm and good energy. Inside, small pots of flowers sit atop mismatched wooden tables; organic green teas and honey line the counters and shelf spaces; and metallic baskets filled with fresh oranges hang from the ceiling.
The walls are covered with colorful Polaroids featuring the two lovely owners, Stéphanie Assouline and Emilie Goldman, alongside friends and family at home, at parties, on Parisian streets, and on weekends away. Taken together, all of these elements combine to make the space feel more like a cozy room in a friend’s apartment rather than just another restaurant.
July 9, 2013
“My food is 100% driven on being delicious.” That’s Chef Haan Palcu-Chang’s philosophy on cooking, and it’s clear from tasting the menu at Le Mary Celeste that this drive is bringing fresh new flavors to Paris that are hitting the spot for those who are looking for something a little different.
Le Mary Celeste, the nautically-themed bar and restaurant brought to you by the same folks as local taco-and-speakeasy favorite Candelaria and Pigalle gem Glass, sports a solid cocktail and beer menu, as one would expect.
What’s unexpected is the ever-changing menu of small plates coming from the kitchen, all of which have a slight Asian influence, often mixing in with what might be considered very traditional European dishes, such as a tartare de veau that’s dressed in a chili-mayonnaise and scattered with sesame seeds and scallions.
May 30, 2013
By now, everyone’s heard of Verjus and its precipitous rise into the hearts of the food-obsessed expat community in Paris from its humble beginnings as the private supper club, Hidden Kitchen.
Having recently renovated the third floor of their triplex building into a private dining room for private parties of twelve to fourteen, and also having started a new lunch service, serving sandwiches to the ravenous masses, I wondered what was next for Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian, the team behind the venture. I sat down on a chilly Friday afternoon for a chat with Braden about their motivations in opening what Alex Lobrano called “the first real modern American restaurant in Paris.”
Braden and Laura landed in Paris, like many of us do, while taking a year abroad figuring out the next step in their careers. The intention was only to stay for a year or so. “So we’re here in Paris, and eating, and drinking, and traveling, but not meeting anybody. So we thought, let’s do a supper club once a month and just invite some people. And it worked exactly how we wanted it to work – we met tons and tons of expats, tons of bloggers, tons of cool people, and it was fun.”
April 30, 2013
Cafe Pinson (Diane Yoon)
Tucked away on a tiny side street near Square Temple, across the street from hipster hangout Nanashi and bobo haven The Broken Arm, Café Pinson is serving up quality coffee and healthy eats to expats and natives alike.
Cafe Pinson (Diane Yoon)
Eschewing the grungy chipped paint aesthetic of so many new openings in the city, the bright, welcoming space features classic details like white-paneled walls, wicker chairs, and geometric-patterned tables. It’s the kind of place that invites any and all to come in and get cozy – I would feel comfortable cuddling down into one of their sunken chairs with an engrossing book and tea and pastry for a couple of hours, just as I would be happy meeting a big group of friends for a quick catch-up session or hunkering down with my laptop for a good old-fashioned work crunch. The honest-to-goodness friendly staff was all smiles as I took up a precious corner table for hours and hours one busy Friday afternoon.
April 16, 2013
Situated on a quiet, sunny corner in the 3rd arrondissement across from the Square du Temple, The Broken Arm is Paris’s newest concept store-cum-café. It’s already attracting a small crowd of creative types — and the inevitable bobo or twelve — to wile away the the afternoon browsing in its clean, bright retail space or sip excellent coffee and tea in its adjacent coffee shop.
The Broken Arm was founded by Guillaume Steinmetz, Anaïs Lafarge, and Romain Joste after four years of running the fashion and lifestyle website De Jeunes Gens Modernes together, and the shop carries the brands that the founders had long admired and featured on their online magazine.
When asked about the idea behind the brands in the shop, Steinmetz says that there is no singular aesthetic that they are going for; the owners developed a clear idea of the designers they wanted to work with during their time running the magazine and decided to feature them in their retail space. The carefully curated collection includes clothing brands such as Patrik Ervell, Carven, Kenzo, and Gyakusou, as well as lifestyle items such as handmade cutting boards, high-end office supplies, and design books.
The founders recognize that the products they carry aren’t necessarily going to appeal to everyone, but that isn’t really the point. “The most important thing is the mood of the place and how [the customers] feel inside the place,” says Steinmetz. The unpretentious décor reflects this idea — the store is laid out in clean Scandinavian lines flanked by bright white walls and untreated wood shelves that put all the attention on the bright colors of the items on display.
April 11, 2013
As I very much enjoy drinking natural wines in London, I thought I would probably enjoy drinking them even more in France. So my thinking went when planning my trip to Paris last month. I can’t remember where I first heard about La Buvette, but it was on my list of natural wine places and also on my list of places that have been opened by ex-staff of Le Chateaubriand or Le Dauphin, where the owner of La Buvette, Camille Fourmont used to work.
That part of rue Saint-Maur is uninhabited enough at night that, as I stopped outside La Buvette to take a photo of the neon lit sign spelling out its name before going inside, my friend E coming up behind me and saying hello made me jump and let out a small shriek.
It’s actually not that far from Parmentier metro, but it seems so when you’re walking up the street in the dark, not knowing where it’s going to be. E, who knows the area well (and shares a surname with the owner Camille Fourmont – but is no relation as far as we could all discern) said she thought Camille was forging interesting new territory by opening there.
Once inside, it was pleasantly refreshing to be in a wine related space that had clearly been put together by a cool girl, rather than a man. Not that it’s girly. It wasn’t dark and there were no ancient dusty bottles gathering mold as décor. Instead, the white tiled walls with shallow wooden shelves held bottles of mostly natural wines, with the prices clearly written on them (add €8 for corkage). There were vintage glass light fixtures, each one slightly different, and a pot containing a fresh arrangement of white flowers and eucalyptus. The whole effect was light, unfussy and modern.
April 4, 2013
As my husband and I prepared to leave Paris a decade ago, we thought long and hard about where to go for our “au revoir” meal. After three years of steady devotion to classic French food, we decided instead on Hiramatsu, then located on the Ile St-Louis and newly anointed with a Michelin star. Our two-hour lunch included course after aromatic course of Hiramatsu’s inventive and refined Franco-Japanese creations. It was a meal neither of us will ever forget.
I was reminded of that lunch recently at Le Concert de Cuisine, chef Naoto Masumoto’s sleek, bento box of a restaurant tucked away in the 15ème. Unlike Hiroyuki Hiramatsu — whose lofty sights were clearly set on les etoiles — Masumoto seems to have achieved his highest aspirations simply in the studious and precise preparation of his dishes.
Acclaim seems almost beside the point for the chef who cut his teeth at (the much much pricier) Benkay. A steady and devout clientele (composed largely of Japanese business men and suit-clad ministry types) fills the restaurant daily in an unfussy space that says eating here is serious business.