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Paris’ 20ème: History, Culture, and Shopping in Belleville and Ménilmontant

20eme, Rue Denoyez Street Art

Rue Denoyez

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.

20eme, La Bellevilloise

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.

20eme, Rue Denoyez

Rue Denoyez

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Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping, Tours and Classes | No Comments »

April in Paris: Tory’s 10 Spring Fashion Essentials

HiP Paris fave and globe-trotter extraordinaire Tory Hoen is finally back in Paris. In the next few weeks she’ll be doing the rounds of Paris’ latest hotspots, but first she shares her top Paris spring fashion picks with us here… Enjoy! -Geneviève

Carin Olsson

When I decided to spend this April in Paris, my euphoria was tainted by just one gnawing concern—what am I going to wear? We all know the Parisian spring is knock-your-socks off beautiful, but it’s a tricky season, sartorially-speaking. It can be cool and rainy one minute, balmy the next. It can feel like full-on summer on one side of the street, and winter once you cross into the shade. I’m constantly shedding and donning layers, and my normal fear of color is supplanted by an impulse to integrate bolder hues.

Although my highly unhelpful inner voice said, “Just pack everything!,” I’ve managed to narrow things down. Below is a list of 10 spring essentials that I know will serve me well this season.

1. When boots start to feel too clunky but it’s not yet sandal season, I live in my Repettos. They come in a variety of fun colors, but you can wear the classic black with just about anything.

2. While I’m not always the savviest of shoppers, I regularly high-five myself for having bought this beige trench from Comptoir des Cotonniers. I wear it constantly—open, closed, buttoned, belted—and always feel put-together, even when I’m wearing nothing underneath. Just kidding.

3. I am generally an extremist when it comes to lip color: either very sheer gloss or devil-may-care matte red. But for spring, a more carefree coral (like Nars satin lipstick in Niagara) feels like the way to go.

4. Made in their atelier in the Marais, Monsieur’s delicate gold and silver rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings add a perfectly simple accent to springtime garb. (53 Rue Charlot, 3ème arrondissement).

5. While my winter handbag is generally overflowing with unnecessary bulk—old receipts, dozens of pens, a single glove, matchbooks pilfered from various restaurants—I like to lighten up for spring. A saddle bag in a bright color, like this one from A.P.C., fits the bill perfectly. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 14 Comments »

Paris Fashion: Staying Chic in the Rain

Chic Fashion in the Rain in ParisFashionable shoes on rainy Paris streets (Christophe Hue)

I spent most of November in Paris, and while it was a delight, I think I can count the number of times I saw the sun on one hand. Soon after my arrival, an out-of-nowhere hail storm reminded me of how fickle Parisian weather can be. (It was kind of awesome, but my Repetto’s were not amused).

Nonetheless, Parisians don’t let a little precipitation put a damper on their preening. On the contrary, a little inclement weather affords them the opportunity to show off their slick rainy-day style. So while we may dream of owning various classic wardrobe staples, it makes sense to start with some good-looking rain gear. If you’re spending the winter in Paris, you’ll need it.

Chic Fashion in the Rain - ParisLadies waiting in the rain, with red umbrellas (John Oxley)

The umbrella. Absolutely non-negotiable—do not leave home without it. Cheap models can be found at any Monoprix, and department stores like Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, BHV and Bon Marché offer a wide range. If you’re feeling super fancy, splurge on a gorgeous artisan umbrella from Michel Heurtault.

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Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 15 Comments »