New Paris

New Paris

Ask any Parisien under 30 and they’ll tell you that the city has come further in the past three years than it has in the past ten.  We were there last month and experienced firsthand just the tip of the new wave of bars, eateries and night spots that the city has been famously lacking - until now.

Grand Train
26Ter Rue Ordener, 75018 Paris
Open until 16 October 2016
https://www.facebook.com/grandtrain/

 

This enormous abandoned train depot in the seedy part of the 18th has been semi-converted into a village of bars, food stands, performance stages and lounges.  Despite being presented in association with national railway company SNCF, the budget for this project was clearly small – but the space is massive and the result is an off-kilter, concrete, decidedly nouveau-French experience.  There are crispy chicken waffle vans, huge glowing steam trains underlit in red, herb gardens, chicken coops and (by extension?), BBQ chicken wing bars.  Mismatched chairs (all for sale) fill multiple outdoor beer gardens and 10 euro burgers are grilled expertly by a gang of hipster chefs who look like they can’t believe their luck. Art installations, like the collection of vintage SNCF uniforms rotating weirdly on a disused train parts in one of the warehouses, are scattered everywhere and many are works in progress.  At sunset one can recline on one of the hundreds of striped folding lounge chairs amongst abandoned railway sleepers, or, depending on the night, bounce at one of the live hip-hop shows.  It seems like no one really knows what’s going on, but in this context, it works. 

Terass Hotel
12-14 Rue Joseph De Maistre • 75018 Paris 
http://www.terrass-hotel.com/

In any city, it’s rare to find a hotel that locals actually want to frequent.  In Paris, where obnoxious tourists are the city’s bread and butter, it’s even rarer.  But the Terass Hotel, sitting quietly alongside the Cimetière de Montmartre, is an exception.  Sure the rosé may be a little expensive and the swing seats crowded, but finding a bar where no one bats an eyelid when the tower sparkles on the hour is priceless. 

Batignolles

With its perfect, tiny boutiques and spotless tree-lined squares, Batignolles is the spiritual home of the French ‘bobo’ (bourgeois/bohemian) and, more noticeably, their perfect offspring.  The place is literally crawling with these angelic froddlers, but if you cast your eye above knee height a retail haven awaits.  There’s the shop dedicated to the perfect summer top, one that sells only Biarritz-style board shorts, and one for fitting out the abundance of teeny, stylish, one-bedroom apartments in which these perfectly manicured beings reside…. not to mention the collection of casual, alfresco restaurants offering decidedly un-French menus.  (Watermelon buffalo mozzarella salad anyone?)  In the 1800s, this corner of the 17th arrondissement was a separate village and, as a rule, tourists still don’t venture to this far – which means you’ll want to make like a local and while away the afternoon/evening/witching hours here all the more.

SoPi 

The New York style naming convention might be a touch affected, but it’s true that the area south of Pigalle has lifted.  Just a block away from the sex shops, grungy Irish pubs and cheeky street kids for which the area is more famous, a handful of carefully designed bars, restaurants and boutique hotels have sprung up within a 10 metre radius of each other.  All of them have a decidedly modern edge (there’s not a formule blackboard in sight) and all of them cater to both young, well-heeled locals who know how to have a good time.  The Grand Pigalle Hotel, created by the three Parisiens behind The Experimental Cocktail Clubs and decorated by Dorothée Meilichzon, is all copper, moody taupes and gluten-free baguette. Glass, the Pigalle Hotel’s ground floor bar, has a sound system that will make your core shiver with delight. No, these places are not originally named. Yes, you should go.

 

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