Split only by the busy boulevard Voltaire, the rue de la Folie-Méricourt and rue Popincourt form a bridge between the Oberkampf and Voltaire neighborhoods of Paris. Starting at the southern end of rue Popincourt and rue de la Roquette, just steps away from the 11th arrondissement’s town hall, a neon horse head greets you as you approach Chez Aline. The horse head, along with the flashy yellow-tiled interior, is a throwback to the space’s former incarnation as an equine butcher’s shop. Chef Delphine Zampetti doesn’t specialize in controversial meat, but rather delicious lunch offerings, which do sometimes include surprising proteins. The octopus, salicorne, and cucumber salad is a particular favorite among locals as are the sandwiches, which are made using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
After lunch, explore the rest of rue Popincourt, a veritable mash-up of Paris eras. The numerous villas, impasses, and passages that intersect rue Popincourt give insight into ancient Paris through the now abandoned depots and washhouses. Wander down any one of these sidestreets and you’ll find a jarring blend of charming residences and urban decay. While centrally located in one of the more bobo arrondissements of Paris, this corner of the 11th has resisted gentrification, owing its identity more to Chinese wholesale clothing shops and other Asian import enterprises. The street is still spotted with sure signs of shifting tides, with vintage bikes locked up in front of storefronts boasting organic products.
La Petite Cagette is one such shop, where seasonal, local, organic products are meeting the demand of a changing demographic of neighbors. Here wooden crates, or cagettes, are provided for customers to fill with quality fruits, vegetables, meat, and cheese. The shop also sells organic wine and other beverages perfect for rounding out your picnic or stocking the fridge.
Cross the hectic boulevard Voltaire and find respite on the calm rue de la Folie-Méricourt. As you wander this street, approaching the Oberkampf area, hipster addresses become noticeably more concentrated. A bar that’s apparently too cool to have a name (further internet research reveals that the bar has a name – le 17 – which is also its address) is crowded with an effortlessly fashionable young crowd. A little farther up the street you’ll find Fargo Store, with its diverse collection of new and used records and CDs.
Turn right on rue Ternaux and you’ll arrive at one of Paris’ most precious places, a perfect spot for a late-afternoon cookie and coffee break. Luckily Boulangerie Chambelland set up shop here last year, to the delight of locals as well as the city’s gluten-sensitive community. All the fresh baked goods at Chambelland are gluten-free, made with locally sourced rice flour made from Southern France’s regional specialty riz de Camargue. If you’re looking for something sweet, try their ever-changing selection of tartes or a handful of sugar-sprinkled chouquettes, which are getting a reputation for being some of the best in town.
Finish your tour with an apèro at Café Chilango, a Mexican restaurant and café founded by former Café Lomi barista Oliver Lomeli. The drinks menu that features craft beer and natural wines is tempting, but you might not want to miss out on the excellent margaritas. Opt for the mezcal margarita, paired with tortilla chips and fresh guacamole. A perfect way to wrap up a day of urban exploring.
Chez Aline – 85 rue de la Roquette, 75011. Tel: +33 (0)1 43 71 90 75
La Petite Cagette – 38-40 rue Popincourt, 75011. Tel: +33 (0)9 52 88 62 77
Le 17 – 17 rue de la Folie-Méricourt, 75011. Tel: +33 (0)1 55 28 74 37
Fargo Vinyl Shop – 42 rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011. Tel: +33 (0)1 48 05 49 52
Boulangerie Chambelland – 14 rue Ternaux, 75011. Tel: +33 (0)1 43 55 07 30
Café Chilango – 82 rue de la Folie-Méricourt, 75011. Tel: +33 (0)1 47 00 78 95
- For more Mexican-inspired cuisine and awesome mezcal cocktails, stop by nearby DBB in the 11th.
- Our favorite place for a beer in Paris’ 11th arrondissement has got to be La Fine Mousse. Don’t miss it.
- Rachel Khoo mentions Chez Aline on her list of top places to eat in Paris.