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Nov 21, 2012 06:30 AM

Paris: Best Foodie Neighborhood?

Which neighborhood would you stay in if you could stay in any neighborhood in Paris for a week?

My wife and I (both mid 30’s) are heading to Paris with my parents for a week at the end of April and beginning of May. We are trying to figure out which neighborhood to stay in to have the best local neighborhood foodie experience. Specifically, I’m looking for a neighborhood that includes:

- quality neighborhood (not touristy) cafes, bistros, wine bars and markets, and
- lovely, walkable streets (preferably off the beaten path), plus
- access to the metro;
- a nice farmer’s market nearby;
- hopefully, this neighborhood will also be leafy and green and include a park;
- and will have an arts scene of some type such as art galleries, local theater, small music venues;
- and a bonus weekly flea market as well

My main concern is that we can have a local foodie experience without leaving the neighborhood. In comparison to NYC, we are looking to stay in the village or Lower East Side, not on the Upper East Side or, heaven help me, in midtown, near Times Square or near Columbus Circle. We are considering either renting a house for the week or staying in a hotel but the neighborhood is the main concern. I would really appreciate your recommendations along with some highlights of the neighborhood you suggest. Thanks for your help!

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  1. I'd say Rue Paul Bert or where I live (Rue du Poteau/Duhesme/etc) but Parigi has a thread somewhere on great feng shui streets/areas, that you should check out.

    8 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      Thanks John! I'll look into those neighborhood recs.

      I tried searching for Parigi's post but couldn't find it. He or she is prolific. Parigi: if you are out there, can you link this to me? Thank you!

      1. re: sidnek

        She and her husband, I learned from Paris Update today, are in the USA for T-giving but I'll ask her to respond.

        1. re: sidnek

          Sorriest for this hopelessly late reply. Here is the thread, not from this site actually:

          Quick update:
          Around des Petites Ecuries/rue Richer/rue Fbg St Denis, an updated list would be:
          Urfa Dürüm, Öslem, Vivant and baby Vivant, L'Orient d'Or, Kiku, l'Office, chez Martel.
          Blabla at des Petites Ecuries, which I have not tried, shows most potential as well as Spanish wagyu. Just writing the w-word makes me weak in the knees.
          For food shopping, Marcel at marché St Quentin sells many species of "pedigreed" chicken. Across the aisle from him is the fishmonger that supplies Spring, Jeu de Quilles and others.

          Another great food neighborhood is around rue des Martyrs, because one walk to
          - the weekly excellent maraîcher market of Place d'Anvers
          - rue des martyrs (regular market
          )- rue Lepic (regular market)
          - rue Cadet (regular market, Kosher)
          - the aforementioned rue Faubourg St Denis and marché St Quentin (25 minute walk which we love).
          - the weekly maraîcher markets of Place de la Bourse.

            1. re: Parigi

              I saw your post and it looks like both you and John Talbott are VERY knowledgable about food in Paris - can you give me some great recs for lunch and dinner - not looking for very expensive - want great neighborhoods for walking, some bistro restaurants, great food, fun atmosphere - also great place to go for dessert/coffee - we are staying at the Westin on Rue de Castiglione - thanks for your help

              1. re: mboxermd

                Good grief; how to answer?; the best I can do is suggest you go through threads here and our blogs which give ratings and recommendations. As a matter of fact Parigi and I had lunch today at the crazily named Blah Blah and were pleasantly surprised to find good food in an area she described as "hipster heaven."

                1. re: John Talbott

                  Hipsters hate food. Wherever they congregate, the food sucks. Blah Blah is smack in the middle of La Cour des Petites Ecuries. Plus hipster que ça tu meurs.
                  In food, it feels great to be proven wrong.

          1. re: John Talbott

            "where I live (Rue du Poteau/Duhesme/etc)"
            A special treat for the next two days is an expanded stall/market selling everything from Corsican wine to sausage on the two blocks of the Rue du Poteau nearest Metro Jules Joffrin if you're in the area.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. Not a Paris expert by any means, but I just got back from my trip, and we liked the area we stayed in- the Rue Cler area. We walked to the open market they had on the street, walked to several restaurants including Chez L'ami Jean, Au Petit Sud Ouest, FL Restaurant, Le Petit Cler, and I believe Les Coquettes is right there too. You can also walk to Louvre and Champs Elysee, although it's a good 20min walk. Close to a Metro station.
              It was pretty dead at night, but I don't know if you want a lively nightime neighborhood.
              Good luck, and have a great trip!

              6 Replies
              1. re: spicychow

                +1 for the Rue Cler area for reasons noted above.

                1. re: Linda_W

                  +2. The larger area would be the 7th; you don't need to be that near to Rue Cler itself. The 7th has everything you want, in spades. Rue St Dominique is my perfect foodie street--the Christian Constant restaurants, good patisseries ie Jean Millet, a great but not overpriced chocolate shop called Gregory Renard. We honeymooned on this street in a Paris Perfect apartment. I love the Saxe-Breuitil market near the Invalides but there are others in the 'hood as well. There are always military students/members practicing dressage on gorgeous horses out front of the Invalides on Saturday mornings as we walk to the market, and I think this is the most charming thing in the world. There's a antiques market on Rue Cler but I can't remember the schedule--I swear it's been there the last 3 or 4 trips we've taken so it must be fairly frequent. After you have eaten dinner you can walk to the Champs du Mars and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle.

                  We go to Paris annually and have tried other neighborhoods but we always seemed to find ourself in the 7th for dinner, so now we just always stay there. I will say, it's very yuppie and stereotypically what you'd think of Parisian. If you want something younger, artsier, trendier, ethnic, the 7th is not it.



                  1. re: christy319

                    Thanks, Linda and Christy! It sounds like the 7th could be a winner with all four of us -- something that isn't easily found :) So, what are the downsides of this neighborhood other than a bit yuppie?

                    1. re: sidnek

                      sidnek - I honestly can't think of anything that's a downside which is why we're staying in the 7e again this coming May. My sister lived in Paris for a year (in the Marais), but she recommends and stays in the 7e when she returns each year as well.

                2. re: spicychow

                  Thanks, spicychow; my parents will appreciate a quiet nighttime neighborhood :)

                  1. re: spicychow

                    rue Cler has become quite touristy due to Rick Steeves.

                  2. i like belleville. one side of the street has arabic food, the other side has jewish, or if you
                    head north there are the asians and the dive bars.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: markseiden

                      Thanks, markseiden. I'm not familiar with Paris and google maps gave me a big area for belleville. Any particular intersections you'd try to stay near?

                      1. re: sidnek

                        at the metro stop "belleville". generally when someone tells you a place in paris, it's the
                        eponymous metro. but the distances are not so great that a few blocks in any direction
                        would make much difference. it may be more important to get a good apartment than the
                        "perfect location". another approach you might take is to do a succession of craigslist sublets
                        and check out the neighborhoods. other neighborhoods i've liked: the 15th (which reminds
                        me of the upper west side in the 90s, in some peculiar way), rue mouffetard, rue des ecoles.
                        if you don't like the upper east side, avoid the 16th. if you like ave b and 2nd st, you might like place de clichy. if you like harlem, you might enjoy barbes-rochechouart. if you like 6th st or jackson hts, you might enjoy being near gard du nord- chapelle. there's no place like flushing, though.

                        1. re: markseiden

                          I love Belleville and the adjacent neighbourhood Ménilmontant, but as Marc Seiden pointed out, it is a multicultural and still "popular" neighbourhood, though far more gentrified than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

                          The métro stop "belleville" is at the foot of the hill - Belleville and Ménilmontant are very steep hills - I love taking the bus down "into town". But it is an "outer" neighbourhood. Up by rue des Pyrenées there are a lot of trees and more air than in the city centre.

                          Agree with le Haut Marais if you like somewhere more in the centre and more "hip". Bastille market is great.

                          1. re: markseiden

                            Thanks for the NYC comparisons, Mark; yes, i like ave b and 2nd st as well as harlem (lived at 125th and madison for five years). If i moved back to ny i'd go for jackson heights though i'd weekend in flushing. I'm currently living in west africa and the food choices here leave something to be desired.

                      2. My first choice would be one or other of the quartiers south or east of the place de la République:

                        (in order of preference)
                        The Haut Marais (especially the triangle formed by République, rue du Temple, rue Pastourelle/ rue de Poitou and the boulevard des Filles du Calvaire/ boulevard du Temple), very artsy, lovely park in the Square du Temple, lots of hangout cafés, the rue Bretagne market street, a fab marché brocante/ flea market on the rue Bretagne (twice a year/ May & November/ but not sure if your stay will coincide with the May one), the daily market Marché des Enfants Rouge, easily walk-able or bus-able to the Popincourt street market (Tue + Fri mornings) on the boulevard Richard-Lenoir between the rues Oberkampf and J-P Timbaud and to the Bastille market (Thu + Sun) on the boulevard Richard-Lenoir between rues St-Sabin and rue Amelot.

                        Or the Canal St Martin/ quartier Hôpital St Louis area. Trendy along the canal and gradually more "populaire" and increasingly hip towards the boulevard de la Villette, loads of excellent restos, sweet parks at Villemin and inside the grounds of the Hôpital St Louis, artsy stuff along the canal, small music venues around rue St Maur and rue Ste Marthe, Wed + Fri street market on the boulevard de la Villette.

                        Or Oberkampf. The epicenter (although somewhat tarnished by the swarms of suburbanites at weekends) of the music scene, lots of hangout cafés, huge variety of restaurants (ranging from ultra-trad to ultra-hip), delightful Tue + Fri street market at Popincourt, easy walk/ bus to to the Thu + Sun Bastille street market, but oups, kinda fails on the leafy/ park thing except for a few boulevards and the Square Gardette on the southern edge... and, while perfect for 30-somethings, maybe not so enjoyable for their parents.

                        Re the other suggestions: the 7th/ rue Cler is pleasing enough but seems to be the #1 choice of American tourists so hardly off the beaten path.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Parnassien

                          Parnassien - Merci beaucoup! Je pense que nous allons aimer le Haut Marais. The other two areas you recommend sound like great possibilities, too. If it were my choice alone, I think I'd go Haut Marais from your description and the quick search I just did about the area. Hopefully I can convince my parents as well.

                          Any other suggestions out there? Any rebuttals or concurrences? I'd love to see some healthy debate about the suggested places. Thanks for all your help!