10th Arrondissement

What once used to be the outskirts of Paris is now home to well-established gentrification, the Axis of Brunch, and some nice indie-ish clothing shopping for les girls (guys not so much). As Parisians continue to expand the hipsteriffic parts of the city, the 10th arrondissement is slowly transforming from ça déchire hotspot into a food- and arts-centered hub with a few grey hairs that (it hopes) will still get it laid, in the neighborhood sense. Like when you swipe-right on someone because they emanate a vibe of personality, but not quite throbbing hotness, and you are feeling like that for a change #notallneighborhoods.

Head through the stone arches on the Grands Boulevards — previously part of the old city boundary walls — leading up to a street called a Faubourg (meaning entry-point to the suburbs) like Faubourg Saint-Denis or Faubourg Saint-Martin or Faubourg Saint-Honoré (these Faubourg‑y streets abound all around central Paris), and find a fuckton of restaurants that can potentially placate your beastly, insatiable, foreigner-vacationer appetite for anything from a hearty American-style brunch…

{ WHY HELLO, pancakes and bacon (mais, non!, dear reader, BEWARE Le Frenchie ‘Brunch’ of an all-you-can-eat table of…pound cakes? 🧐 #sorrynotsorry that ain’t brunch, Delphine…) }

…to Indian curries…to bomb-ass Kurdish wraps…to burgers consumed by Parisians with bafflingly flat mid-sections. Fuckers. Maybe some French stuff, too.

Canal St. Martin

What is the mid­dle age of hip­s­ter­dom? Come to the Canal and see it up close. Le Canal St. Mar­tin is cool for what it is — a refuge of sorts…as Paris gets even more gottdamn TV shows, it becomes even MORE touristy, and the Canal is our lit­tle hid­ing place — alas, every year sees more beige-assed cor­po­rate encroach­ment. BUT! All is not lost: It has great restau­rants, like the used-to-be under­rat­ed Le Verre Volé. And Gros Bao. And Ima Can­tine. And La Marine 

{ And Chez Prune, which is ~acci­den­tal­ly~ the nexus of your Edi­tor-in-Mis­chief’s love life — from divorcey fights moved from the side­walk to the bar, out of sheer exhaus­tion, where­in once-upon-a-time Tin­der dates texted so Fren­chi­ly (read: dis­creet­ly) dur­ing such plead­ings and gnash­ings of moji­tos that « they are here and can see me but will refrain from approach­ing (‘zat is your hus­band, non? Waou’) »…to epic, yet decid­ed­ly non-final, breakups where­in I lacked the courage/good sense to do it in a bet­ter set­ting no mat­ter how much #tru­elove­for­ev­er was spilled…to friends’ hus­bands grop­ing me ~unin­vit­ed­ly, mer­ci very very trop~ }

/overshare

Back to the Canal neigh­bor­hood. Once upon a time, ’twas the land of rebel­lious mer­chants feast­ing on cheap rents and locals feast­ing on what was next in French cui­sine, the Canal has grace­ful­ly tran­si­tioned into its mid­dle age by ditch­ing its DJ sets for dad bods (au revoir, le Mel­lotron. Hel­lo, Amorino…and your sug­ary, offi­cial mark of tourist-dom) and (as a neigh­bor) ~whol­ly fuck­ing unnec­es­sary~ cor­po­rate-ass shops nip­ping at the heels of our beloved local stuff…

Is it still cool? Yeah, kin­da, but like a 40-year old dad who still skate­boards (kind of my male equiv­a­lent? Hor­ri­fy­ing self-aware­ness moment there…) sur­round­ed by (I think ‘lithe’ is the word we are sup­posed to use here but who­ev­er, sor­ry, whomev­er actu­al­ly ever spoke that word out loud?) uni­ver­si­ty-aged stu­dents who ignore him and, yet, he must endure. Still, there he is, quiv­er­ing to the beat almost rhyth­mi­cal­ly, only enough to seem nat­ur­al as can be lalalalalala, hop­ing, HOPING, as the the DJ pounds out her set…Daddy gets a bit bored at the play­ground, you see.

Thanks to the Canal Saint-Mar­tin (even though it can smell like urine on very hot, crowd­ed days), and the fact that we don’t have that much real estate in Paris, the Canal St. Mar­tin will nev­er ~not~ be cool. No mat­ter what kind of blast radius my love live carves out.

 

St. Denis / St. Martin / Poissonnière / Paradis

This live­ly area, south-west of Gare de l’Est and just north of the Haut-Marais, is actu­al­ly cool in the way the Canal Saint-Mar­tin used to be 10 years ago (and like your dear Editrix was — and may once again become — thanks to this very pub­li­ca­tion…). This is the epi­cen­ter of evening ter­rasse (outdoor/sidewalk) din­ing ‘till clos­ing time. It feels grit­ty, but it’s not (So only the nor­mal lev­el of Paris hand­bag clutch­ing is nec­es­sary…). As the Canal Saint-Mar­tin inoc­u­lat­ed itself against rebel­lious cool by inject­ing chain stores straight into its main thor­ough­fares, the cool kids picked up stakes and moved slight­ly west behind the old stone gates. Come on over, they don’t bite.
 

Sainte-Marthe / Combat

Hid­den from even the most adven­tur­ous tourists, and even Parisians who some­how don’t know this tru­ly hid­den enclave, Place Sainte-Marthe is the epi­cen­ter of activist cool. (Can I please Speak to The Man­ag­er of the Eng­lish Lan­guage? Can we have anoth­er suit­able word for ‘cool’, please… I’m try­ing to ~write~ here…—KW) It’s where locals are too busy protest­ing some­thing to keep even their own shops open. If you hap­pen upon this quar­ter, do check out uber-cool (there we go again!) spots like La Sar­dine, Crêperie Armorix, Le Renard, Le Dix­ième Degré and Le Galopin. If they deign be open.
 

République

This large square — semi-recent­ly embiggened to be total­ly pedes­tri­an due to the machi­na­tions of (who else) George Soros and an inter­na­tion­al cabal of Illu­mi­nati lizard Clin­tons try­ing to use Hunter Biden’s kryp­tonite-mon­key­pox-groomer lap­top to reduce the num­ber of cars in Paris — is the real deal: every­one, from skaters, pro­test­ers of hereto­fore unimag­in­able stripes (Turk­ish com­mu­nists? Pro-Putin Rus­sians?), graf­fi­ti artists, basic-ass com­muters, reli­gious pros­e­ly­tiz­ers (so refresh­ing­ly rare in the land of Laïc­ité!) and, of course, les drug deal­ers de Paris, use it dai­ly. Even the infa­mous pick­pock­et gang recon­venes here at about 6–7pm, after a day of steal­ing your shit at the Lou­vre, etc, before they gath­er togeth­er and head to their com­mu­nal hide­out in some unsur­veilled part of the sub­urbs. For once I’m not joking.
The stat­ue in the mid­dle is of Mar­i­anne, the French ver­sion of Lady Lib­er­ty. Unlike Lady Lib­er­ty (although she, too, is French but made for puri­tan­i­cal Amer­i­can tastes, so, sad­ly, no ~inten­tion­al~ nip slips…), Mar­i­anne is very Fren­chi­ly flash­ing one proud breast out of her stony toga. République is the cen­tral axis touch­ing three arrondisse­ments: the 10th, the 11th, and the 3rd. The 10th side of République is full of restau­rants, bars, bou­tique hotels and shops, lead­ing east to the Canal.
 
In spite of all the grit and freak­i­ness we just poten­tial­ly scared you with, it’s all good — loud but live­ly. I lived a block away for sev­er­al years, and, while there was nev­er a dull moment (see: pro-Putin activists 🤮 GFYS) it’s an axis for going out and hang­ing out: no need to pull out the pep­per spray. Back to Mar­i­anne, allow me to digress once more: This lime­stone ver­sion is also paired with a live, in-the-flesh ver­sion, elect­ed every year by a jury of randy, well-con­nect­ed men with wag­ging tongues. I still remem­ber fond­ly the year Laeit­tia Cas­ta was elect­ed, not coin­ci­den­tal­ly the year I real­ized I was most assured­ly ~not total­ly straight. (Thank you, Vic­to­ri­a’s Secret and French Rev­o­lu­tion­ary traditions…)

Gare du Nord / Gare de l’Est

If you find your­self stuck in this hec­tic, crowd­ed nabe because you just arrived by train from some oth­er Euro­pean city, don’t pan­ic. We have a few places you can duck into before you jet to anoth­er, nicer area. As you head over to check these places out, make sure you keep your wal­let and smart­phone hid­den in an inner pock­et at all times. This nabe is noto­ri­ous­ly ~intense~.