Faubourg St. Denis, Côté Porte

23 05 2011

Well.  Now that it’s been… let’s see… five weeks (!) since we moved, I am finally feeling settled enough to sit down and go through all those photos I took one sunny Saturday a week before moving day.  Our new neighborhood is vastly different from the old one, but wonderful in many other ways.  The former apartment was located on the rue du Faubourg St. Denis in the heart of the 10th arrondissement.  I loved its central location, multiple and cheap vegetable sellers, the fact that I could get Indian, Turkish, French, African, Chinese, and Portuguese products without straying more than a couple blocks, and living across the street from a cheese shop.

The view from outside my door

Oh, and there was the really cool landmark at the end of the street, too.

Porte St. Denis

This is the Porte St. Denis, which at one time marked the edge of the city.  (Porte means door, in case you don’t speak French.)  It was built in 1672, by order of Louis XIV, aka The Sun King, or, as it is inscribed at the top of the monument, Ludovico Magno – Louis the Great.  Apparently he had plans to construct showpiece gates like this all around the city, but only got two (this one, and the smaller Porte St. Martin a few blocks away) completed.  At any rate, it marks the point where the rue St. Denis becomes the rue du Faubourg St. Denis, “Faubourg” being a word that indicated any road outside the city walls.


This has very little to do with anything, but it's right by the Porte and happens to bear the name of my favorite band.

Faubourg St. Denis is a relatively long street by Parisian standards, running the entire length of the 10th, hence the designation, “Côté Porte.”  I often refer to it myself as the “lower” part of the street, which leads uphill.  While the “upper” part is known for being a hotbed of Indian restaurants and shops, the lower bit has quite a few as well, most of which are concentrated in the Passage Brady.

Passage Brady

Sadly, I can’t recommend any of the restaurants in here, but on the upside, the very best spice shop I know of, Velan, lies just inside the Passage Brady, too.  I love it because it has a huge variety, not only of spices (which, by the way, are neatly organized and clearly labeled) but also of dried beans, lentils, and rices – some of them organic – and sauces, teas, Indian pickles, a few British products… the place is a treasure trove, I’m telling you.  The fact that it was just steps from my apartment was the gravy.

India is far from the only immigrant population here, though.  There are a veritable plethora of Turkish shops and restaurants as well.  A few that I frequented:

Rodi - where we used to buy roadies.

Rodi sells 1-euro tallboys of chilled Efes beer!


Tulipe might be the least manly name for a butcher ever, but they have good kofta meat, veal, and lamb, plus a great selection of Mediterranean products like spices, nuts, and cheeses.

Mardin Çorba Salonu

Or as we always called it, "The Turkish Soup Place." Inexpensive, tasty soups - the lentil and the chicken are my favorites. I was spotted taking this photo, and the guy in the orange shirt came out to give the camera a friendly wave.

Delice Degustation

I never tried their cafeteria offerings, but the pizza here is not bad at all.

Of course, there are French establishments on Faubourg St. Denis as well.  Julien is a classic old French brasserie, with beautiful art nouveau decor.  I fear the food is now industrial slop, so I never ate there, but I enjoyed the view in passing many times.


Much has been written in recent months about how trendy and up-and-coming this neighborhood is.  Even Pudlo (One of France’s best-known food reviewers) has written about Chez Jeannette, the loud, smoky, hipster café right next door to my old place.

Chez Jeannette

I couldn’t believe my luck when a guy in a plaid shirt walked in front of me while I was snapping this one.  But I can understand why the place is popular.  Drinks are inexpensive compared to much of Paris (not necessarily, though,  for this still-gritty neighborhood), and the original 1950’s decor has been preserved.  I can’t speak to the food they serve, though.

Urfa Durum

I mean, when you can get a Kurdish sandwich on freshly baked flatbread filled with charcoal-grilled meat for just a couple of euros, I don’t know why you would spend 14 euros on a cheeseburger.  At least I never did.

One of the things I liked best about living on the rue du Faubourg St. Denis was the abundance of food shops.  Apart from the aforementioned Julhès cheese shop-caviste-bakery-deli, whose signature plastic bags can be seen in the hands of many passerby, there are a few butchers…

Mr. Pinto

The Portuguese butcher, who grinds pork to order in addition to the standard beef.

The Nice Guys

We always called this butcher "The Nice Guys" because they were unfailingly pleasant. Plus, they sell happy meat, which tastes better.

…several fruit-and-vegetable sellers…

Le Potager/Le Verger

Le Verger St. Denis is my favorite of the bunch.

…and even a coffee roaster.


We bought a LOT of coffee here.

It’s a very urban environment, but there is one tiny green space near the Boulevard Magenta.

Tiny park

It even has a small section that looks like it might be some kind of community garden, although it was almost always full of tramps.  I like these statues, though – a copper woman holding a gold sun, and a bronze man holding a silver moon.

I have just one more photo for you before the tour is concluded.

L'ancien chez moi

What is this condemned-looking, graffiti-ed doorway?

Why, that was chez moi.

On this day in 2009: Bringing All The Boys To The Yard

Originally published on Croque-Camille.




11 responses

24 05 2011

We di Brady Passage while you guys went to the Salon and loved our Indian meal even with the wine switch discrepency!!

24 05 2011

Oh, I love this post Camille! Having never lived anywhere but in the surburbs, it’s fascinating to imagine having all of this at one’s doorstep. I’ve been luck this year in living across the road from a supermarket, but I doubt the meat they sell is very happy :S Here’s to finding more wonderful cheese in your new location!

24 05 2011
hungry dog

I love this post, now that I’ve been to Paris. It seems like a city of endless exploration and discovery. Seriously, we want to move there.

Also, I too love Wilco.

24 05 2011

C´était joli chez toi 🙂 et si sympathique. J´espère que le nouveau quartier sera tout aussi accueillant. Savais-tu que la tulipe est le symbole d´Istanbul ? Merci pour cette belle balade parisienne.

25 05 2011

nancie – Glad to hear it! I guess I just spoiled myself by learning to cook Indian myself!

Hannah – I’ll drink to that!

hungry dog – I know. It seems like around every corner is a hidden treasure.

isathreadsoflife – Le nouveau quartier est super sympa aussi. Et je ne savais pas ça. Merci!

26 05 2011

Congrats on the move and getting all settled! I’m moving to Paris in September for 10 months, so I think I”ll go back through your city posts and write lists of places to visit!

28 05 2011

Ah, the memories! You’ve moved so many times, I feel like you can count so many different parts of the city as your own. Thanks for the tour and look forward to learning more about your new neighborhood!

28 05 2011

Andrea – Thanks! Looking forward to hanging out and eating cheese!

Ann – That’s definitely an upside to all the moves. I feel lucky to get to know so many neighborhoods so well!

30 05 2011

Ooh I love that door! A bit grunge-y but that’s what makes it so cool! I tried going to Chez Jeannette once but it was so overcrowded that I couldn’t even get a drink!

30 05 2011

Where’s the nouveau quartier? Any new foodie finds to show us?

And ditto to the absence of great Indian places in Passage Brady… even with an honest-to-God Indian in tow to tell us which was most authentic, it just wasn’t the same as London or New York.

30 05 2011

Jessica – Yeah, I only ever went there in off-hours, but at night it was always packed… and loud.

emiglia – Oh, I’ve been eating my way through the Commerce neighborhood of the 15th. So far, I’m loving it!

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