Faidherbe / Charonne / Aligre

The Faid­herbe / Charonne / Ali­gre neigh­bor­hoods are what Bastille prob­a­bly was back in the 70s (I’m guess­ing), which is to say Bastille is for reg­u­lar tourists who think they’re cool and Ali­gre in par­tic­u­lar is for cool tourists who are almost Paris-lev­el blasé but won’t quite suc­ceed because they’re still tourists and smil­ing at all the cheese­mon­gers at Marché.

At the epi­cen­ter of Quarti­er d’Ali­gre, Rue de Cotte is bar and resto cen­tral. Do & Riz is a bobo-cute hole in the wall and has the best bo bun ever. Le Chat Bossu is that kin­da rare breed of bistro that is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly good, pret­ty, friend­ly and non-touristy (but noth­ing is touristy in Quarti­er d’Ali­gre). A few steps down, there are 2 brew joints (Nul Bar Ailleurs, Troll Café) to wash down the bo bun or the french bun with great beers and great drunk­en Parisians. If you’re feel­ing par­tic­u­lar­ly fan­cy and rich, head to Miche­lin-approved Vir­tus for a chic and cozy meal. Or go full dive-bistro (with deep French charm, quand-même) at Le Charo­lais. And to fin­ish off the food­ie theme with a slash, there’s a slick Japan­ese Knives shop just up the street (bor­ing­ly named Japan­ese Knife Com­pa­ny).

On Rue Théophile Rous­sel is my fave bar à vins (after my absolute fave which is l’A­vant Comp­toir at Odéon, which saved me from total lone­li­ness back when I first moved to Paris and had zero friends. But that’s anoth­er sto­ry and anoth­er ‘hood). This one is called Le Baron Rouge — authen­tic, ‘pop­u­laire’ (not pop­ulist, ahem) unpre­ten­tious wine vibe, ‘planch­es’ — cheese and char­cu­terie boards, a staff that keeps it real, stand­ing room around upcy­cled bar­rel tables, and real­ly good afford­able oys­ters right out­side. Je me kiffe.

On Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine I love Sabah mar­ket, a trea­sure trove of mid­dle east­ern and hard to find exot­ic ingre­di­ents. Across the way is East Mam­ma. It’s super hip as all Parisians (and cool tourists) know, and there’s always a line past 12 on the dot for lunch or 7 on the dot for din­ner, so get there ear­ly. Cool vibe and most of the food is great except the time French Hus­band had pas­ta with clams and it was salti­er than the Dead Sea. I think the cook had a mem­o­ry lapse in the kitchen or some­thing. I’ll give them anoth­er chance.

Of course one needs to check out the famous Ali­gre Mar­ket on mar­ket days (every morn­ing except Mon­day) on Rue d’Ali­gre. But to me the best is the adja­cent cov­ered mar­ket (Marché Beau­vau) on Place d’Ali­gre, which has a great cheese­mon­ger among oth­er trea­sures. Across on Place d’Ali­gre there’s also Chez Camille — super cute bar, and Sfu­so, an Ital­ian shop that sells wine on a spig­ot (you can bring your own downed bot­tles and refill, how ecco-eco), and del­ish Ital­ian apéro (that’s French for ‘quit­tin’ time snack but main­ly drink AKA Paris Hap­py Hour) thin­gies. And the guy is always super nice to my daugh­ter. Gives her free Ital­ian cook­ies and stuff. Adorable.

Square Trousseau is full of trees and bench­es and chess tables and even a fan­cy-ass gaze­bo, sur­round­ed by pret­ty build­ings. For a clas­sic Frenchie expe­ri­ence, sit on the ter­race at the gor­geous Bistro du Square Trousseau and gaze at the  Trousseau gar­den (or that adorable Parisian sit­ting to your left) while sip­ping your Aper­ol Spritz. Also: Emki Pop Café and Ice Cream where they sell an inter­ac­tive hot choco­late where you dip a dense Val­rhona ice cream ball on a stick into steam­ing hot milk and stir until it all melts. Mmm­mm. Final­ly, the cute and friend­ly Lulu & Cie toy shop, for when you need to buy a last-minute treat for the rugrats in your life.

Oth­er must-see near­by streets are Rue de Prague and Rue Emilio Castélar, where you’ll find a pret­ty ice cream par­lor (La Trop­i­cale Glac­i­er), a wine shop (Les Caves de Prague), a good-deal thai restau­rant (La Can­tine du Siam). and even a spe­cial­ty kite shop (La Mai­son du Cerf Volant — wel­come to Paris: we have all kinds of crazy spe­cial­ty shops, though not nec­es­sar­i­ly in this ‘hood — arti­san puz­zle mak­ers, sev­er­al sto­ries’ worth of taxi­dermy, an entire lit­tle pas­sage­way of rare stamp deal­ers, Legion of Hon­or medals…)

Back to Ali­gre — end your expe­ri­ence at Cal­bar cock­tail bar on Rue de Char­en­ton. I was sur­prised at how cool this place actu­al­ly is even though they have this sil­ly thing where the (cute!) bar­tenders wear suits … with no pants on. But yes, under­shorts. Don’t get that excit­ed now. And the cock­tails and music are good. I think. Per­haps I remem­ber the wait­ers’ attrib­ut­es the best…either way, you can’t lose there. 

 < don’t miss these streets >

Rue Faidherbe

Grab some loose leaf tea to bring home as a sou­venir from Par­ti du Thé, gor­geous ter­rar­i­ums and table­ware at B.Green, nice Japan­ese sta­tionery at IJII. For great Moroc­can food, go to Man­souria, or stop at La Belle Équipe for a French café expe­ri­ence. There’s even 5‑star Hôtel Boutet, which has pre­served its stun­ning indus­tri­al facade from its for­mer days as a wood ware­house and then a choco­late fac­to­ry. It’s a shame we had to stop going to Kabane Cof­fee shop: But if you’re curi­ous about what it’s like to expe­ri­ence the dark side of Parisian cus­tomer ser­vice, we dare you to try to get your capuc­ci­no there.

Rue Paul Bert

This street is food­ie nir­vana: Nomade cof­fee shop is a friend­ly, beau­ti­ful large space with plen­ty of inven­tive seat­ing where you can linger as long as you want with great wifi, great cof­fee and hot choco­late and some pas­tries. Ter­roirs d’Avenir run a mini-empire on the street: a bak­ery (the best organ­ic bread in the area and rus­tic vien­nois­eries), a high-qual­i­ty local pro­duce mini-mar­ket right across the street (where I’ve spot­ted the hip­ster crew of guys rock it to awe­some elec­tro-clash music dur­ing after-clos­ing cleanup, cur­tain half-drawn), and a butch­er shop and rotis­serie. Ham’s is the spot for connoisseur—you guessed it—hams, but also for wine and high-end apéro fare to go or eat-in, seat­ed at the chic high table in back. The list of impres­sive restau­rants on this street goes on: Le 6 Paul Bert, L’Écaillerie Paul Bert for seafood, Cyril Lignac’s Le Charde­noux, plus his name­sake choco­late shop and pâtis­serie, Breizh Café (deli­cious crêpes and cider), Le Temps au Temps (afford­able, deeply rich and but­tery French food pre­pared by chef Denis, an adorable guy who runs his place with love and all by him­self), and Úni­co, an always-packed Argen­tine restau­rant. For shop­ping, don’t miss Anna (con­crete lamps and fur­ni­ture), Music Avenue for records and turnta­bles (the own­er is real­ly cool and you feel like you’re walk­ing into his music-filled base­ment), and Marielle’s tiny knit shop, where you can watch her chat with neigh­bors as she knits her next creation.

Rue Jean Macé 

L’Antichambre Per­sane for styl­ish home­ware made in Iran, and curat­ed by a love­ly Iran­ian expat. Les Pénates for their home­made ceram­ic lamps, and cool table­ware. At the cor­ner of Jean Macé and rue Faid­herbe is Le Pure, a casu­al French café with a beau­ti­ful clas­sic bistro interior.

Rue Saint Bernard  & rue de la Forge Royale

Stop by tiny, cozy Mokonuts for what are prob­a­bly the most scrump­tious and inven­tive cook­ies in Paris. Moko and her hus­band Omar also serve killer dish­es that are a del­i­cate blend of Mid­dle-East­ern and Euro cui­sine, sourc­ing fla­vor­ful ingre­di­ents in unex­pect­ed com­bi­na­tions. For cock­tails, head to taste­ful Blue­bird: you’ll feel right at home thanks to the Ital­ian bar­tenders who treat every­one like an old friend, crack­ing jokes and shak­ing cock­tail after cock­tail with a smile. On rue de la Forge Royale, par­al­lel and just to the west of rue Saint Bernard, don’t miss Bode­ga Potx­o­lo for killer Basque tapas and Red House for great cocktails.

Rue Trousseau

Get a home-brewed beer at Les Cuves de Fauve, get the per­fect gift for any­one at Les Fleurs, and have a gourmet meal at tiny and cozy Pianovins. If the cute com­mu­ni­ty gar­den right next to Pianovins hap­pens to be open, go right in and have a seat to rest your weary legs, or help out by water­ing the plants.

Rue de Charonne

Swing by Moko and Omar’s newest addi­tion, Mokolo­co, for a rotat­ing ros­ter of inven­tive chefs. The Ital­ian team from Blue­bird also run Louie Louie Piz­za at the cor­ner of rue Saint Bernard. More not-to-be-missed restau­rants: Le Sep­time, Sep­time La Cave (wine bar), Tapis­serie (Sep­ti­me’s pas­try shop), Clam­a­to, and Paris Hanoi. POS is a tiny food mar­ket that sells high-qual­i­ty organ­ic pro­duce at great prices. Right next to POS is a hole-in-the-wall Japan­ese eatery that is very authen­tic and deli­cious, but it’s not always open.

coffee + tea

sev­en heaven

17 rue de la forge royale

Café Nomade

Étagère café (& DIY)

Amendūla Café

Café Sin­guliers

bakeries + sweets

La Pâtis­serie Cyril Lignac

Tapis­serie

L’Autre Boulange

Ter­roirs d’Avenir

restos

Trois Fois Plus de Piment

Breizh Café

Les Bar­i­olés de Maud

Bode­ga Potxolo

Lou­pi­otes

Bars

House Gar­den

La Cave du Paul Bert

Café Titon

Sep­time La Cave

Bon­jour Madame

Le Baron Rouge

OLGA wine bar & cheese shop

Le POPUP du Label

hotels

Hôtel Boutet

BLC Design Hôtel

food markets

Marché de Charonne

Boule­vard de Charonne/Rue Alexan­dre Dumas
Open: Wed, Sat — 7a to 2:30p

Marché Beau­vau (aka Marché d’Ali­gre) (indoor and outdoor)

25–11 Rue d’Ali­gre
Open: Tue to Fri — 7:30a to 1:30p; Sat to Sun — 7:30a to 2:30p