Hey, you here.
Now that you know how not to spend a miserable time in Paris, come with me for a day.
Good Mornin’ here
Meet Healthy Me. If I wake up early, I’ll go with my Sista buy goat cheese, some fresh Beurre d’Échiré, and a truckload of croissants. What does life mean without a buttered croissant and a quintuple expresso? To do so, Healthy Me will go at Le Marché d’Aligre, at Guy Môquet (with a detour around la pâtisserie rue Caulaincourt for éclair au cassis and sightseeing through the Montmartre stairs) to get a roast chicken and the goods for a delish breakfast.
Not so Healthy Me will lazily go to brunch, except on weekends because it feels like Verdun in 1916. I have now tried for 6 years to enter the Yard brunch, a place I love for lunch at rue du Mont Saint-Louis. So, I choose any Pain Quotidien (rue Lepic or rue Charonne, for instance), or do to La Fusée to get their eggs and juice and toasts. Of course, if you’re in for the big American stuff, go to The Barber Shop.
Let’s Start this day
Meet Shopping Me. Usually, I invent myself a reasonable excuse (I need a screwdriver) to go buy tons of shit. During the sunnier days, I enjoy stumbling upon a brocante, organized generally on week-ends. There’s nothing like old Walk-mans and pointy shoes to make you feel like a treasure hunter in Parisian vides-greniers. Here are the infos. For a full-on flea experience, go to Guerrisol shops, where you’ll have your dream fur and denim overalls for 5 euros. There is also Montreuil-base Neptune, but I have to be honest and say it is not as nice as everyone says. And not cheap, even though I found my dream cookie jar there.
My absolute favorite is a French classic, where I find my Made in China things: Tati. It’s those pink mega shops you’ll find at Barbès, a neighborhood with an awful rep’ but great deals. A crumbling institution that deserves more attention: tacky, underpriced and filled with great little cheap but useful thing you need for your home.
And, really, people always exaggerate about Barbès. Just close your bag and don’t keep your phone in your pocket, at the risk of the unpleasant surprise to find a hand that’s not yours in it. Also, if you’re broke, buy cigarettes (preferably the Russian ones, never the fake ones from Tunisia) at 4 euros a pop to the many guys standing outside the metro station.
Finally, go to the A.P.C. Surplus (rue Andre Del Sarte), where you’ll be able to pay your jeans half price. A.P.C. jeans are a lifetime thing. If you’re looking for that pure denim you’ll spend six months breaking in, A.P.C. is the place. Plus, the whole brand has this timeless pure Parisian-ness. Don’t miss it. In general, I prefer stocks for the pricier brands. Maje (rue du Cherche Midi), Sandro (rue de Sévigné), Comptoir des Cotonniers (rue du Jour), Repetto (rue de Chateaudun), Ba&sh (rue du Jour), all have last collection’s pieces at reduced prices. Also, don’t forget to ALWAYS check Iro (75006), my all-time favorite brand, as they have back-of-the-shop deals. Otherwise, don’t pay full price. Shopping Me doesn’t. For your house : Bonjour Bibiche (obnoxious name, nice prices), Søstrene Grene (from Denmark), and Madeleine et Gustave. All offer those great design-ish things that makes us feel very Blissed Housewife of Stockholm.
Let’s do, like, things
Now that I’ve indebted myself and my three next of kins, guilt is creeping in and I want to do something smart. Culture Me goes to bookshops in order to fill my Kobo later. I love Shakespeare & Co near Notre-Dame, a classic, but my personal favorite bookshop is La Friche, at the corner of rue Léon Frot and rue de Charonne. They regularly organize readings and I have a secret crush on one of the guys working there. I love my Blender, alas, has closed, but if was a great little store right in front of Le Café de la Danse (A must-see if you want a fresh drink right in the middle of the dance classes building).
For movies, I go to the MK2 Bibliothèque, with its seats made for lovers, near la Bibliothèque François Mitterand, the highly-criticized National Library building (we Parisians like to hate any new stuff in sight). It is a nice place, though, especially if you pay the two euros to get into the beautiful underground areas, with handmade furniture, surrounding a garden. However, the whole neighborhood is brand new and has a bit of a New York feel to it.
I am fond of photography, so I usually check out Le Jeu de Paume’s website as well as what’s on at Le Petit Palais (more for their superb gardens in autumn, for a lunch break, than the exhibit, I must confess). Also, for a museum-and-then-rest, go to l’Hôtel de Sully and then have a break at breath-taking Place des Vosges.
I like Le Palais de Tokyo best, for their unusual setting (a brut edifice from the 1923 Universal Exhibition), their über-hipster exhibits, as well as the vintage Photo-mat and the many – too many – places, pop-ups events, and clubs they have. Careful though, it might get too obnoxious as you watch what used to be a good DJ agonizing over his sets. That’s right, I’m talking to you, Teki Latek. You’ve fooled me too many times.
On the go
For a quick lunch, I like my basics. For me, two sandwiches are worth dying for: anything for the minuscule Lebanese shop in the minuscule rue Blainville, for instance. Don’t miss the jambon-beurre of Bagel Baget (rue de la Verrerie) and ask for the truffled ham and see how pointless was your existence pre-truffled-jambon-beurre.
For a quick fix, check the Asian places around rue Nationale (as well as the bubble tea shops, the Vietnamese sandwiches, and the cheap nail salons) for a delish bo-bun. One of my favorite is Korean food, which I find at Miam-Miam, rue Thouin.
It’s now apéro time, and time to check out the (very soon to come) Nighttime Edition of 3600 Seconds of pure and sheer excitement with me in Paris, to meet Party Me and Badass Me. Also, soundtracks to my life to follow.