In this new series of guest posts, contributors will reveal the places that make a Perfect Paris Weekend for them. Here Sandrine de Paris reveals her favourite (winter) spots in Paris.
A winter weekend in Paris
Since I no longer live in Paris, I like reconnecting with the city and the people by going to all my favorite spots and taking my favorite walks.
I enjoy a walk in the Marais, stopping for falafel, coffee/drinks (Le Pik Clops, le Fer à cheval). There are lots of boutiques to visit –I like fine paper stores. If I’m in the mood for a museum, I make my way to Musée Carnavalet or Musée de la Photographie. A visit to Centre Pompidou is always a treat, followed by apéro or coffee at the Georges, to enjoy the view from the roof. If it’s really chilly out, I meet with an old friend at Le Quincampe, rue Quincampoix, where you can warm up your soul in front of a real fireplace while drinking fragrant teas and coffee.
The 10th arrondissement
Another favourite part of the city for me is the 10th arrondissement. On the Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis, I have lunch at one of the Pakistani or Sri Lankan “cantines”: warm, copious, unbeatably cheap, which also accommodates my vegetarian tastes! My old neighborhood hang-out was Chez Jeannette café, a classic Parisian café; even now I am pretty sure I can run into some of my friends there.
From Canal Saint Martin to the Heights of Belleville
A flânerie along Canal Saint Martin is so pleasant: paved streets, metal bridges, locks, and a plethora of cafés, wine bars, restaurants. I love walking from there all the way to my old neighborhood: Belleville!
My walk up rue de Belleville starts with a grog (a hot toddy made with rum) at Aux Folies (Alternately, I also have grogs at Cannibale Café if I’m in the mood for nicer décor) Once re-energized I take a peak at the Rue Denoyez (for the beautiful street art - see above) and keep going up the Rue de Belleville. I make a right rue de Tourtille for a compulsory pit stop at number 42, i.e. le Rouleau de Printemps, which offers family-style Chinese/Vietnamese cooking, fresh and tasty, with lots of healthy, vegetarian options and a friendly atmosphere. I keep going up rue de Belleville and turn right onto Rue Piat, where, at the corner of the Rue des Envierges is the top of the adorable Parc de Belleville where one can admire a beautiful (and little known) view over Paris.
For breakfast, I simply go to La Cagnotte (corner of rue Jean Baptiste Dumay). I purchase a delicious viennoiserie or fancy bread from the boulangerie a couple of doors down (you can’t miss it: there’s almost always a line). I sit and enjoy a good read: le Monde Diplomatique or L’Histoire.
One thing I miss in California is North African food: so I will make sure my week-end includes couscous (le restaurant préféré de mon ami Peter: Chez Kiki - Aux Bons Amis rue de l’Atlas) and pâtisseries orientales (Doigts de fée, 356, rue des Pyrénées, 75020 Paris) with thé à la menthe, to be shared with old friends, of course.
Sandrine de Paris
Although Sandrine now lives in San Francisco, she keeps in touch with France by running a very useful blog for those looking to learn French! http://sandrinedeparis.blogspot.com/