I’ve gotten requests to do this “12 hours in…” meme that made its way around the interwebs a while ago, but mostly just felt confounded by the enormity of the task when faced with only 12 hours in Paris. If I wasn’t frantically packing, I’d probably end up with my nose buried in various guidebooks, trying to figure out the perfect day, only to find that once I had it planned, my 12 hours were up. But my recent move (for those interested, the fridge gets delivered on Saturday, and maybe one of these days our bathroom will have a medicine cabinet and a door, all of which will go a long way towards making the new place feel like home) prompted me to give the 12 hours thing a second thought.
Granted, we really only moved about half a mile away, but it feels very different over here in the heart of the 10th arrondissement. Both neighborhoods have diverse immigrant populations, but while the old one was predominantly North African and Chinese, the new one has Turks and Indians. The old street had a dozen butchers and at least twice that number of crappy clothing stores. The new one is a veritable market street, with vegetable stands, a fromagerie/wine shop, and a handful of butchers and kebab shops taking the place of most of the cheap clothes. Which is just fine with me. But I still want to take you on a farewell tour of my old neighborhood, which centers on the Goncourt métro station and stretches its arms up into Belleville, down along the Canal St. Martin, and over a bit into the lively Oberkampf district.
So here we go… 10 am: Escargot pastries (basically croissant dough rolled up around various fillings and sliced to show off the spiral shape), chaussons aux pommes, and pain au chocolat-banane for breakfast at Du Pain et Des Idées. Ideally, it’s sunny out, so I’ll eat at a bench along the canal, and then find a Velib’ to ride up the canal to the Bassin de la Villette.
12 noon: Make my way back home, stopping for a roast chicken from Boucherie Tizi Ouzou (the best), Boucherie d’Agadir (the friendliest), or Boucherie Djurdjura (if I’m in the mood to pay a little more for a poulet fermier).
1:30 pm: After devouring chicken (and potatoes, and hopefully some salad or fruit) chez moi, take a walk up to the Parc de Belleville to enjoy the flowers, people-watch, and take in the wonderful view of the city.
3:30 pm: Wander further up the hill to the village-y Jourdain neighborhood. Admire the St. Jean Baptiste church, the pastries in the window at the Pâtisserie de l’Eglise, and the smells emanating from the Boulangerie au 140 and the Fromagerie Beillevaire.
5 pm: Head back downhill, stopping for a drink (or two) on the terrasse of Aux Folies. Look at the graffiti around the corner on rue Dénoyez. And of course, more people-watching.
7:30 pm: Go home and clean up for dinner.
8 pm: Dinner at Les Fernandises. I’ll choose three courses from the ever-changing chalkboard menu, but be sure to get a bite of the scallop risotto if any of my dining companions happened to order it.
10 pm: In all honesty, I’m probably still drinking digestifs at Les Fernandises, and I’m cheating a little bit anyway by adding on plans that go beyond 12 hours, but don’t we all just want a few more hours, wherever we are, if we’re having fun? So anyway, after dinner, a bit of barhopping. A stop at Le Caravane for sure, and then maybe some live music or dancing on rue J-P Timbaud.
And there you have it. 12 hours worth of my favorite things to see and do in my neighborhood. I mean my old neighborhood. But don’t worry, I’m already building up a repertoire for the new neighborhood. So much to see and do…
On this day in 2009: Joe Interview (in which I am interviewed by Joe Pastry. Has is really been a year already?)
Originally published on Croque-Camille.