Car boot sales in Paris

Now more than ever, the time has come to recycle ! In a world that massively produces new products every day, giving a second (or even a third) life to objects has become a true economical, ecological, and – provided that you like snooping around – sometimes more enjoyable alternative to « traditional » shopping. And places that give pride to this second-hand trade are growing and developping all around. You might be looking for furniture, utilitarian or decorative objects, clothes, jewelry or accessories... Regardless of what you are searching for, you can be sure that you will find many car boot sales, flea markets and thrift shops all around Paris. Everything is within easy reach ! So, here are a few suggestions to help you begin your abandonned treasure hunt...

Now more than ever, the time has come to recycle ! In a world that massively produces new products every day, giving a second (or even a third) life to objects has become a true economical, ecological, and – provided that you like snooping around – sometimes more enjoyable alternative to « traditional » shopping. And places that give pride to this second-hand trade are growing and developping all around. You might be looking for furniture, utilitarian or decorative objects, clothes, jewelry or accessories... Regardless of what you are searching for, you can be sure that you will find many car boot sales, flea markets and thrift shops all around Paris. Everything is within easy reach ! So, here are a few suggestions to help you begin your abandonned treasure hunt... In this article, you will read about a few permanent shops you must visit. If you are interested in reading more about flea markets and car boot sales, please consult the following article.

 

A few permanent places you must visit

 

« L'interloque » : the cave of Ali Baba

 

« L'interloque » was the first « ressourcerie » to open in Paris. What is it ? The idea came from a desire of friendliness and public service : to enable locals to get rid of objects they no longer had use of, while allowing others to find various vintage objects for a small price. The principle of a car boot sale, simply put, but in a permanent indoor place. You can find a little of everything there : furniture, clothes, accessories, jewelry, table and kitchenware, various appliances... What is a bit special about this place is that the concept of recuperation is not only commercial, but also artistic : a good amount of objects that arrive at the depot are then transformed, put to pieces and then back together, then decorated to form unusual and funny pieces. Also, if you bring your bike to be repared there, your new saddle might very well end up with a pair of eyes on it … a house special !

 

Created in 2007 in the 18th arrondissement, L'Interloque now has several addresses in the capital. And the idea of the « ressourcerie » has also spread – as good ideas do : many new such shops have opened their doors in and out of Paris.

 

Practical information

 

Collection et depot at :

  • 8 rue de Trétaigne – Paris 18°

  • 13 rue Léopold Bellan – Paris 2°

     

Shops at :

  • 7 et 7ter rue de Trétaigne – Paris 18°

  • 14 et 14 bis rue des Cloÿs – Paris 18°

  • 22 rue Duc – Paris 18°

  • 13 rue Léopold Bellan – Paris 2°

 

The « Comptoir Général » : a place to hang out and look for hidden treasures

 

The Comptoir Général has auto-proclamed itself « Ghetto Museum ». But do not be afraid, behind this confusing name hides one of the most unusual and intriguing secret places in Paris. Why « Ghetto Museum » ? Because the vocation of this place is to defend, support and represent the exotic and little-known cultures that are often marginalized from traditional cultural places. The african continent, most of all, is very much represented there. In this immense and somewhat hard to label place, you will find a tangle of rooms, attics, courtyards and gardens in which one can have a bite, a drink or a coffee, or two, or ten... But you will also be able to browse in the thrift « shops », and the general car boot sale that spreads all around the place. A polyvalent place ? Add to that regular movie projections, various exhibitions, concert nights, a library, a disc store... and you may have an idea of the various programs that the Comptoir Général has to offer. It is a huge and yet friendly and intimate place, very poorly known (even by locals) and definitely different. In short, an extra stop you must add to your trip !

 

Practical information :

 

84, quai de Jemmapes – Paris 10° (metro station : République or Goncourt)

Open everyday from 11 a.m to 2 a.m

 

Continue reading

Where to have brunch in Paris ?

A few years ago, the American tradition of brunch made its way across the Atlantic to conquer the East. In France, the brunch – this witty combination of breakfast and lunch in one generous and savory meal – first gained its devotees in the summer season, enlivening the terrasses of cities across the country on Sundays. Now, this privileged moment of the week end is no longer limited to sunny days, and florishes in many restaurants and cafés on Sundays and Saturdays. So during your stay in Paris, if you fancy a bit of morning idleness, or perhaps if you simply want to discover what the Parisian gastronomy has to offer, go brunch ! Be it family time, a romantic moment or a friendly reunion, the hardest part certainly is to pick the option you like best. Here is an overview of some of the best brunches served across the capital... Take it from a Parisian !

A few years ago, the American tradition of brunch made its way across the Atlantic to conquer the East. In France, the brunch – this witty combination of breakfast and lunch in one generous and savory meal – first gained its devotees in the summer season, enlivening the terrasses of cities across the country on Sundays. Now, this privileged moment of the week end is no longer limited to sunny days, and florishes in many restaurants and cafés on Sundays and Saturdays. So during your stay in Paris, if you fancy a bit of morning idleness, or perhaps if you simply want to discover what the Parisian gastronomy has to offer, go brunch ! Be it family time, a romantic moment or a friendly reunion, the hardest part certainly is to pick the option you like best. Here is an overview of some of the best brunches served across the capital... Take it from a Parisian !

 

At walking distance from Hotel du Danube

 

Close, simple and delicious

 

Le Hibou

16, carrefour de l'Odéon – Paris 6°

 

On Sundays from 12 p.m to 3 p.m

Indicative price : 25€/person

 

In a chic atmosphere with an original vintage setting, Le Hibou serves a simple yet quality brunch, at a very affordable price in this neighborhood. The traditional French cuisine interprets the classical elements of the american brunch, with fresh orange juice and a hot drink, eggs, bacon, salmon, caesar salad, while adding a French touch with nice viennoiseries and the « pain perdu » (french toast), a must.

The atmosphere is cool and friendly, but do not forget to book a table beforehand !

 

The gourmet option

 

Georgette

44 rue d'Assas – Paris 6°

 

On Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m to 5 p.m

Indicative price : 35€/person

 

Right opposite the Jardins du Luxembourg, this new luminous restaurant perfectly sunbathed for a brunch on a terrasse has soon become one the great ones in Paris. Its very special brunch particularly has made its name in the capital. As a tasting session, the Georgette offers a totally free « à la carte » formula (not to mention the special kids menu!). You will be able to enjoy the traditionnal brunch courses such as benedict eggs, caesar salad, bacon, but also more elaborate dishes, juicy meat, burgers and even foie gras ! All of it comes with a wide range of cool and hot drinks to choose from, before moving on to one of the desserts of the house (raspberry millefeuile, french toast, fruit salad, etc).

A very nice address for gourmet families ! But there again, do not forget to book your table in advance to avoid the wait.

 

 

Also worth the distance ...

 

Farago

11, cour des Petites Écuries – Paris 10°

(metro line 4 : Château d'eau)

 

On Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m to 4 p.m

Indicative price : 25€/person

 

Situated in the bucolic setting of a little paved courtyard of the 10th arrondissement, the Farago is a young restaurant that mixes pintxos (tapas from the Basque country) and Parisian modernism. The brunch formula is flexible. You will be able to enjoy pintxos as well as « à la carte » dishes, going from the brunch classics (eggs benedict, norwegian, etc) to the tapas (chorizo croquetas, bellota plate...) cooked with quality products imported straight from Spain. On top of that, the restaurant offers a hearty and affordable formula to share, to get a taste of everything, and a kids menu (13€). All of this will come with a side of hot drinks and juices of « morning cocktails » of the house, before moving on to the unavoidable dessert stage, when you will be left with the difficult task of choosing from the various pastries (basque cake, churros with chocolate, chocolate and berries cake with Espelette pepper, or the famous « Russian » cake).

 

Kong

1, rue du Pont Neuf – Paris 1°

(metro line 7 : Pont Neuf)

 

On Sundays from 12.15 p.m to 5 p.m

Indicative price : 40€/person

 

If you have a higher budget and fancy an unforgetable moment, the Kong brunch might just be what you are looking for. The restaurant, placed on the top floor of a building right on the Seine, in the center of Paris, offers a unique view on the capital and a tremendous light thanks to its glass canopies. All of this in a very special Franco-Japanese style signed by Philippe Starck. An exceptional place, but not only, because the Kong offers a gourmet brunch elaborated by great chefs and pastry cooks (Pierre Hermé is in charge of the desserts) ! The brunch menu is entirely « à la carte », you can pick whatever you like (count about 40€ per person) and offers the American and French classics (various eggs, smoked salmon, blinis, pancakes, etc) with a side of fresh juices and smoothies. An address to remember for a gourmet brunch in the sun... but inside !

 

And also …

 

Frame – californian healthy

28, rue Jean Rey – Paris 15°

(metro line 6 : Bir-Hakeim)

On Sundays from 12 p.m to 4 p.m

Indicative price : 30€/person

 

Chez Zaza – trendy buffet

24, rue de Rivoli – Paris 4°

(metro line 1 : Saint Paul)

On Sundays from 12 p.m to 5 p.m

Indicative price : 27€/person

 

Café Marlette – girly and organic

51, rue des Martyrs – Paris 9°

(metro lines 12 & 2 : Pigalle)

On Saturdays from 8.30 a.m to 7.30 p.m & on Sundays from 10 a.m to 6 p.m

Indicative price : 25€/person

Continue reading

Christmas is blossoming in Paris

The Christmas season has arrived upon Paris ! As every year before the Winter Holidays, the capital is transformed, decorated and shines with a thousand lights, following the rythm of the countdown to Christmas day. This perticular time in the Parisian life makes the city a different world that awaits only to be discovered by visitors. The Paris advent calendar is filled with tremendous decors and folklore that will enchant the eyes of little and big children. If you are sensitive to the winter charm of the effervescent and illuminated capital, you only have to go and discover it ! Here is an overview of what Paris has to offer during this Christmas season...

The Christmas season has arrived upon Paris ! As every year before the Winter Holidays, the capital is transformed, decorated and shines with a thousand lights, following the rythm of the countdown to Christmas day. This perticular time in the Parisian life makes the city a different world that awaits only to be discovered by visitors. The Paris advent calendar is filled with tremendous decors and folklore that will enchant the eyes of little and big children. If you are sensitive to the winter charm of the effervescent and illuminated capital, you only have to go and discover it ! Here is an overview of what Paris has to offer during this Christmas season...

 

City lights

 

When the Christmas season is coming, the city of Paris dresses up in many lights and decorations. They go from simple festive lights along the big and average-sized streets of the capital to massive and sometimes impressive light installations. To make your eyes enjoy the most beautiful of them, here are a few neighborhoods you should visit this time of year.

 

  • The Eiffel Tower : all year long, but especially around Christmas time, the emblematic tower of the French capital puts on its party dress. The thousands of light bulbs that dress it and that go on and off at different rythms make a meeting with the tall Iron Lady magical.

  • The neighborhood of Saint Germain des Prés : just a few steps away from Hotel du Danube, the Saint Germain des Prés square and church are transformed too. The clever lightings and decorations give an almost enchanted aspect to the unique charm of the neighborhood. Take the time to sip on a hot cup of coffee on one of the heated terrasses on the square and enjoy the pretty lights in the dark wintery afternoon.

  • The Grands Boulevards : the Boulevard Haussmann, known by shopping lovers from around the globe, offers without a doubt the most impressive light installations of Parisian Chritsmas time. The facades of the two department stores that make this neighborhood famous (the Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette) are covered on several stories with gigantic and lace-like patterns, made of thousands of light bulbs. And to add to the fairy atmosphere, both department stores compete with creativeness and extravagance in making tremendous decorations for their many shopping windows. For those of you who are not afraid of crowds, a nice walk along the sidewalk that goes along them (from Chaussée d'Antin-Lafayette to Havre-Caumartin, line 9) turns into a contemplative ramble !

 

Christmas markets

 

And for those of you who love Christmas markets, know that Paris is full of them at this season ! Here is a brief overview of the many you can chose from, so you can pick the neighborhood you would like to do your Christmas shopping in.

 

  • Avenue des Champs Elysées (Paris 8°) : from November 14th, 2014 to January 4th, 2015

  • Montparnasse (Paris 15°), place Raoul-Dautry : from the 4th to the 31st of December, 2014

  • Le Village de Noël de Montmartre (Paris 18°), place du Tertre : from December 5th, 2014 to January 4th, 2015

  • Alsacian Christmas market at Gare de l'Est (Paris 10°) : from the 4th to the 19th of December, 2014

  • Place Saint Sulpice (Paris 6°) : from the 1st to the 24th of December, 2014

  • Place Saint Germain des Prés (Paris 6°) : from December 6th, 2014 to January 2nd, 2015

  • La Défense (Courbevoie) : from November 20th, 2014 to December 28th, 2014

  • « Gourmand » Christmas salon, Place de la Bourse (Paris 2°) : from the 19th to the 22nd of December, 2014

  • Les fééries d'Auteuil, 40 rue Jean de la Fontaine (Paris 16°) : from the 6th to the 14th of December, 2014

Continue reading

Paris underground : visit the Catacombs

Are you looking for an unusual experience, far from the famous and crowded touristic attractions during your stay in the French capital ? The idea of taking a walk six feet under does not scare you ? Then you will certainly enjoy a little trip in the thick of the Catacombs of Paris !

Are you looking for an unusual experience, far from the famous and crowded touristic attractions during your stay in the French capital ? The idea of taking a walk six feet under does not scare you ? Then you will certainly enjoy a little trip in the thick of the Catacombs of Paris !

 

What are the Catacombs ?

 

The Catacoms of Paris are an underground circuit of more than 2 kilometers, situated approximately 30 meters underground (twice as deep as the metro!) in the 14th arrondissement. By entering – guided, of course – this maze of underground passages, you will discover quarries more than two centuries old. A large part of these garners the bones of more than six million Parisians. These bones have been thoughtfully arranged in a kind of theatrical decor, and provide the place with a surreal atmosphere (though 100% authentic). It is an astonishing journey that, as it takes you along in a tremendous underground Paris, will make you wonder about the frailty and the odd insignificance of the human life.

 

A bit of History

 

The History of the Catacombs of Paris began in 1785. In the XVIIth century, as a city with a large population and a long History, Paris suffered a serious sanitary crisis due to an overload of its cemetaries. Some in particular, such as the « cimetière des Innocents » in the center of the city, had garnered the corpses of dozens of generations of Parisians for almost a millenium ! On November 9th, 1785, the Council of State decided to move the remains from these crowded cemetaries to a place that is further away from the population. As it was supposed to be renovated to consolidate the mined public roads, the quarry « de la Tombe-Issoire » was picked. It underwent some adjusting works, and a well was built inside of it to dump the bones into. The place is benedicted and consacred on April 7th, 1786, and for the two years that followed, processions regularly took place at dusk – along with religious ceremonies – to transfer the bones from the cemetaries to the quarry. The Catacombs continued to host the bones from Parisian cemetaries until the middle of the XIXth century, especially during the great Haussmann roadworks in Paris.

 

But the ossuary that makes the Catacombs of Paris famous was not always staged as it is nowadays. At first, the bones used to simply be piled up. But pretty soon, the Catacombs aroused the curiosity of famous people (of which François the First of Austria and Napoleon the Third). Around 1810, Héricart de Thury (the then General inspector of the Quarries) had an idea to organize the ossuary as such (on the front only!), so to create a highly theatrical decor, embellished with features and inscriptions that truly stage the mere idea of death.

 

Practical information

 

The entrance of the Catacombs is situated on 1, Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. At the end of the route, the exit will be a few hundred meters away, on rue Rémi Dumoncel (closest metro stops : Alésia or Mouton Duvernet)

 

The Catacombs are open from tuesday to sunday, from 10 a.m to 8 p.m (last entry at 7 p.m).

 

Rates

 

Full rate : 10€

Reduced rate : 8€ (for youngsters under 26 and holders of the Paris Pass Famille)

 

Due to the unusual settings, potential visitors should take a few elements into account. Here are the conditions and accessibility information detailed on the website of the Catacombes de Paris :
Visitor numbers are restricted to 200 at any time. Admission may be delayed for a short time during busy periods.
Distance covered: 2 km.
Duration of the tour: 45 minutes.
No toilet or cloakroom facilities available.
130 steps to go down and 83 steps back up to street level.
Temperature: 14°C.
The tour is unsuitable for people with heart or respiratory problems, those of a nervous disposition and young children.
The Catacombs are not accessible for persons with reduced mobility.
Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

 

How to go from Hotel du Danube ?

 

The Catacombs are easy to get to from the hotel, you will simply have to take the metro. It is a direct and short metro ride (less than 10 mn).

 

Take a left (on rue Jacob) when you get out of the hotel, then second on the right (rue Bonaparte). You will get to Saint-Germain-des-Prés after only a few meters. The metro station will be right behind the church on your left. Take line 4 in the direction of Mairie de Montrouge until Denfert-Rochereau station. Get out and you are right at the entrance of the Catacombs (for guidance on the big square, follow the signs!).

Continue reading