This is the Axis of Brunch

The beating heart of brunch is in the 10th arrondissement

It was here in the 10th arrondisse­ment of Paris that morn­ing food-porn was born after the online pan­cakes-peek­ing site, Only­Brunch, failed to sat­is­fy the hunger for some­thing syrupy IRL. 

A tor­rent of recipes for ama­teur eggs bene­dict flashed them­selves gaudi­ly online, some even on the dark­net, fuel­ing the ascen­dance of the vir­tu­osi of the break­fast world. Those that mas­tered pan­cakes fluffy and light com­mand­ed crowds of tourists, then lat­er, the Parisians showed up to see what the hell the line was all about. 

A move­ment was ignited—if you dare call it as such against the back­drop of con­tin­u­al polit­i­cal upheavals—and an hour-long line ensued (a decid­ed­ly un-Parisian thing to occur before noon, or ever). Parisian jog­gers, unac­cus­tomed to wait­ing in line for break­fast (as break­fast here is nor­mal­ly the ubiq­ui­tous, but deli­cious crois­sant and espres­so), ran by exclaim­ing, “C’est dingue!” [this is crazy].

Just as nature abhors a vac­u­um, in rushed oth­ers with pots and pans; will­ing con­scripts in the war on hang­overs in the hopes of appeal­ing to the newest parisien trend—the sense of need­ing more than 1,000 calo­ries to shake off a hangover.

That’s how the cross streets of Rue Lucien Sam­paix and Rue Chateau d’Eau became the spot where the side­walks groan with crowds, espe­cial­ly on the week­ends. We crown it the ‘Axis of Brunch.’ Almost resem­bling a Banksy gallery open­ing, there’s so much norm­core and Eng­lish. But the French aren’t con­tent to copy, non, they’ve def­i­nite­ly Frenchi­fied things. 

The next stage: tourists and foreigners imposing le brunch on a weekday morning (it’s always Saturday when you’re on vacation).

Insta­gram brought us avo­ca­do toast, clean­ing up the raunchy rep­u­ta­tion of the a.m. bacon bacchanal—because glis­ten­ing pic­tures of pork prod­ucts are ‘moche’ (#alsodetox). Rinse and repeat.

Per­haps its pop­u­lar­i­ty here is because brunch is unlike any­thing we enjoy in Paris. Five-week vaca­tions, a good bak­ery every two blocks (max­i­mum), reg­u­lar strikes to clear any eco­nom­ic block­ages, beau­coup but­ter and cig­a­rettes and world-class health care to mop it all up are things that were con­struct­ed on an under­lay of tra­di­tion that goes back decades, if not hun­dreds of years (or, in the case of strikes, over a thou­sand years when the French invent­ed la grève [the strike] on the banks of the Seine at Île Saint-Louis). 

The French sim­ply don’t go all ham-gas­mic in the morn­ing, hence flat stom­achs being the norm and not the hard-won exception.

In fact, it was the Aussies (and Aussie-influ­enced Frenchies) who import­ed the orgias­tic, ear­ly-after­noon, 1,000-plus calo­rie pan­cake rit­u­al: Le brunch. 

Hes­i­tant French peo­ple, refus­ing to be out­ma­neu­vered on their home courts—food and Paris—are, how­ev­er, adapt­ing. Instead of pan­cakes and waf­fles, there’s a slight­ly less calo­rie-obscene ver­sion française; heap­ing tables of all-you-can-eat-and-still-fit-into Celine cakes, vien­nois­erie, and orange juice, and dou­ble the remarks about how crazy the whole episode was. Also added, on occa­sion, is seafood—oysters instead of smoked salmon—so you real­ly aren’t in Kansas any­more. Non, c’est dingue

Now, the list…

Holybelly 5: 5 Rue Lucien Sampaix

Holy­bel­ly was opened in 2013 by actu­al French­es who returned after soak­ing in Aussie food cul­ture for inspo. The French gov­ern­ment agency INSEE, tasked with mon­i­tor­ing the econ­o­my, marked a dras­tic uptick in pork bel­ly trad­ing on the Parisian Bourse that same year.  Coin­ci­dence? non.

In the well-Insta­grammed line at Holy­bel­ly 5 we lay down our cred­it cards for 90 min­utes spent at the altar of tran­scen­dent sausage and a Lon­don Fog (the cof­fee alter­na­tive du jour: an earl grey tea steeped in milk). Hal­lelu­jah! Why didn’t they think of that sooner?

Add a side of toast to your eggs, maybe more, pourquoi pas? Sauteed mush­rooms? Oui! I could do it over and over again, if only Fash­ion Week wasn’t fast approach­ing. Holy­bel­ly 5 is tru­ly the queen of the brunch prom. 

 

Immersion: 8 Rue Lucien Sampaix

Immer­sion is the trans­fer stu­dent who dis­rupts the reign of the pop­u­lar girl (in this case, hav­ing had an hour-long line for the past six years makes you the queen bee…)With a slight­ly more alter­na­tive menu that offers “crispy brunch,” music to the ears of salty lovers every­where, Immer­sion rivals the over­done avo-toast and stacked pan­cakes with huge plates of fried chick­en and eggs, mas­car­pone pan­cakes and, of course, bacon-topped waf­fles. I think Rue Lucien Sam­paix would cease to be with­out bacon rid­ing a mag­ic car­pet of carbohydrates. 

Also vis­it their newest loca­tion: 23 Rue Danielle Casanova

 

O/HP/E: 27 Rue du Château d’Eau

Employ­ing the rig­or­ous sci­en­tif­ic method and hew­ing the strin­gent jour­nal­is­tic stan­dards demand­ed by scep­ti­cal peo­ple around the world, I, ful­ly dis­guised, infil­trat­ed the Sun­day brunch scene and came across the bewil­der­ing name O/HP/E, one of the newest addi­tions to the morn­ing food scene.  (It stands for Objects, Home­made Pâtis­serie, Épicerie)

Less of a sit-down-and-gorge estab­lish­ment, this épicerie-pâtis­serie hybrid calls for a more on-the-go break­fast with local­ly made juices and well-pack­aged gin­ger shots, paired of course with a home-made ganache filled fruits rouges tartelette, for a bal­anced detox. And cof­fee roast­ed by our dear­ly beloved Ter­res de Café, win­ner of the Best Roast­er in France award.

 

P.S.: This one weird trick — people behind you in line hate it.

We high­ly rec­om­mend you down­load the French app Skeep­it. It’s a back­door way to ‘get in line’ while not phys­i­cal­ly being in line. 

I’m one of those anx­ious brunch types, just think­ing about the lines makes me need a side of Xanax. Skeep­it, how­ev­er, (still new-ish at the time I’m writ­ing this) is the new host­ess. All the places that com­mand hours-long lines now require you to get a vir­tu­al spot online, instead of hav­ing you glow­er at them into their windows. 

It’s a bril­liant way of tak­ing reser­va­tions while main­tain­ing the pre­tense of not tak­ing reser­va­tions. Log in while you brush your teeth and see what the wait is like before you ven­ture out, and then ‘get in line’ while you’re still get­ting your boots on. 

So, go ahead and grab an espres­so down the street to avoid get­ting the twitch­es. Like some futur­is­tic hocus pocus, you’ll still be ‘in line’ for those pan­cakes in spir­it, if not IRL. Which is the best type of line to be in…

For more Parisian Brunch intel, you know what to do

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Indeco­rous Cul­turevore and Poly­chrome Chow Vir­tu­osa Kat Walk­er likes nice things.

She once went to a job inter­view for that was sup­posed to be for sales but was actu­al­ly for pros­ti­tu­tion (the high-class ver­sion, she hopes lol) at a fan­cy hotel in the shad­ow of the Eif­fel Tow­er (arti­cle com­ing soon) and, anoth­er time inter­viewed for a posi­tion as a phone psychic.

She passed both with fly­ing col­ors. How­ev­er she declined the human traf­fick­ing posi­tion but stuck around longer than she should have to be able to write about it. (Are you not entertained?)

As for the tele­phone psy­chic gig, she only last­ed one day, even though the pay was excel­lent. Wooooooo…..She sees you sub­scrib­ing to our week­ly PARIS RIGHT NOW dis­patch . There is also a man in your future.

Now she is set­tled in as your Edi­tor-in-Mis­chief here, lead­ing the charge to not take Paris so damn seriously…let’s frol­ic a bit, non?

She writes fast and with­out pru­dence so if you enjoy this type of thing, edi­tors aren’t free so here is le Patre­on

When she’s not writ­ing about crois­sants, love, cul­ture, and lov­able, sexy crois­sants, she is a gonzo per­for­mance artist whip­ping up a (usu­al­ly) polit­i­cal ruckus. Her rab­ble rous­ing has pro­voked the atten­tion of var­i­ous pub­lic forums, like the time she appeared in the movie The Yes Men Fix the World as Russ­ian jour­nal­ist Lai­ka Gaga­ri­na or was fea­tured in Roll­Cal­l’s Heard on the Hill for her mock­ery of the U.S. sen­ate. Oth­er efforts have land­ed her in the Le Nou­v­el Obser­va­teur, Chica­go Sun-Times, Chica­go Tri­bune, and the Reader.

In oth­er places and oth­er lives, the actu­al live guy who played Ross on Friends came to see her show at a NYC gallery.

She has nev­er had a weird­er lunch than that one when an FBI infor­mant offered to kill her busi­ness part­ner for her.

She declined (phew) and that’s why she’s here, freely- and un-jailed-ly writ­ing about crois­sants and per­verts and the Eif­fel Tow­er (in that order, usu­al­ly) for PARIS > DEFINED MAGAZINE.

Her per­fect­ly impos­si­ble din­ner in Paris would be at Pierre Sang on Gam­bey (the wait­er choos­es the wine) with Gen­e­sis P. Orridge, Napoleon Bona­parte (he picks up the tab and the wait­er knows this in advance when pick­ing wines), Christo­pher Hitchens, Anais Nin, and Ket­a­mine in atten­dance. Drinks after at le17 but back in time, like 2017.

Her favorite French word is ‘bruit’ but only when a hot girl says it slowly.

In a bid for your atten­tion and approval she writes things here and man­ages this unruly tribe of Parisians endeav­or­ing to bring you what Paris­ing is real­ly about.

Sub­scribe HERE to the P > D newslet­ter for a week­ly dose of her, and the rest of the ram­bunc­tious and per­fect­ly depraved gals’ tren­chant and thought-pro­vok­ing opin­ions. Or tune in to their high­brow cul­ture com­men­tary and bike rid­ing through Paris on PARIS » D E F I N E D TV.

If you are mash­ing out a mes­sage to warn her of her crimes against gram­mar and punc­tu­a­tion save your time because she knows, she knows.

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