12 Hours in My Paris

3 05 2010

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.

Just try walking past here without succumbing to the mouthwatering aroma of roasting chickens.

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.

Parc de Bellville, in full bloom

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.

St. Jean Baptiste de Belleville

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.

Aux Folies and Rue Dénoyez

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.

The eponymous Caravan

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.




10 responses

3 05 2010

This was such fun to read! We actually had escargot & pain des amies today (and tried to go the roast chicken route but it’s monday & agadir was sold out). Makes me want to do the rest! We also came by your quartier today and tried the Kurdish sandwiches. Delicious. I got viande hachee, J got poulet– both good. Try yogurt drink too.

4 05 2010

Oh, don’t be too harsh – I saw some spectacularly stylish and high-quality dresses in the stores by your old apartment 😛

Welcome back! A lovely hello and goodbye to your old neighbourhood, so thank you for sharing. And really, life without a bathroom door can only make a relationship stronger, right? 😉

4 05 2010
hungry dog

Welcome back to the blogging world–we missed you! Love this post…it makes me yearn even more (is that possible?) to go to Paris. What a beautiful city and lucky you to get to live there and get to know it so intimately. I’d love to be there and map out this day you’ve outlined!

5 05 2010

Celine – Glad to hear the Kurdish sandwiches are good! I assume they are different from a Grec, but how? 😉

Hannah – Thanks! And I guess I should clarify that the toilet has a door, just not the showering and teeth-brushing room. It’s not really a problem for the teeth-brushing, but I do like to keep all the steam in after I shower.

hungry dog – Thank you! It’s good to be back! Hopefully you will get to experience it yourself sooner rather than later!

10 05 2010

Love it, Camille! Paris really is too big for just 12 hours… but I loved getting to know your neighborhood. I don’t know the 10th well–it may be time for a venture to the right bank!

10 05 2010

emiglia – It turns out I didn’t, either, apart from the area around the Canal. But I’m having a great time exploring the area around Chateau d’Eau and Gare de l’Est!

13 05 2010

Ah, thanks for the people watching and bonus time in your Paris (you’re right — 12 hours just doesn’t do it).

14 05 2010

Trisha – My pleasure.

15 05 2010

I really loved this post 🙂 For someone who has never been to Paris…it only leaves me wishing and hopeful!

16 05 2010

Jocelyn – Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

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