Walrus, 75010

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Have you wondered where the young, hip and unshaven hang out? The answer is the Walrus. It’s a welcome addition to a quartier which doesn’t have much to offer besides stolen iPhones.


Think I’m joking? Just spend a couple of seconds on the crossroads of boulevard Magenta, rue Maubeuge and rue de Dunkerque (near Gare du Nord) and you’ll hear “psst, psst, iphone.”


Actually, no, I exaggerate slightly. Adjacent to the Walrus, still on the rue de Dunkerque, is the new Smart Place Paris budget hotel and to the other side, a decent Italian deli “La Campanella.” The street has definitely got a lot cleaner (in every sense) than it was 8 years ago when I had a boyfriend who lived there.

The Walrus is a large, modern space; one third of which is the bar, one third is seating and the final third a music shop. It’s a record store AND café and this is refreshingly original for Paris.

There is seating for approximately 25 people. In the morning, you can come here for the breakfast menu (a croissant + orange pressé + coffee = for 5 or 6€) and to flick through the newspapers. In the afternoon, you come for a drink and to meet a friend or simply read a book. The music is not so loud as to disturb your concentration. In the evening, you come here for the ambiance and the cheap beers.

Open for now already a year and a half, it has developed a predominantly young and local clientele.. the majority of whom address the staff by their first names and visibly don’t even need to state their order; a coffee will promptly appear in front of them.

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A coffee at the bar (it’s Illy – nothing special) costs a very reasonable 1€ at the bar. (2€, if you sit down to enjoy it.) And if you’re feeling peckish, you can sate your hunger with chocolate cookies at 1.90€.

The drinks menu includes other staples such as Luscombe Hot Ginger Beer and Fever Tree Tonic. There’s Brooklyn IPA (4,5€ for un demi /25cl) and when I popped by, they were doing a Rhub’ IPA as Beer of the Month (5.50€ for 33cl.) The wine list was not overly exciting but would you really want a glass of wine here?

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So whilst you have the bar on one side, you just need to turn around to admire the other half of the room which is completely dedicated to vinyls. Apparently the two women, before opening Walrus, worked for Fnac. They wanted to open up their own record shop but were realistic enough to conclude that in this day and age, they needed to offer something else.

Monochrome music posters line the walls. There are three booths where you can listen to the the vinyl of your choice. If you love indie and rock music, you’ll be in heaven here.

After just a few minutes at the bar, I realised that it was really little wonder that the locals hang out here. The vibe is so friendly and relaxed that for a moment I forgot I was in Paris. I’ll be back!

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Essential Information 

Address: 34 ter, rue de Dunkerque, 75010 
Telephone: 01 45 26 06 40
Website: WalrusFacebook
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 9am-10pm. Friday 9am-9pm. Saturday 10am-9pm. Sunday 3pm-8pm. Closed Monday.

Du Pain et Des Idées , 75010

I woke up in a cold sweat this morning as it dawned upon me that I am yet to write about Du Pain et Des Idées on this blog. It’s a rather shameful confession, I must admit.

Christophe Vasseur is one of the best bakers in Paris. His shop, Du Pain et Des Idées, is where the geeks go. It’s very common to see people queueing – even in freezing temperatures – to get their hands on his baked goods.

If you’re the kind of person who gets excited when you hear words such as organic flour, sourdough starters and super-long fermentation times, this will become your mecca.

Must try: the croissant au beurre (of course!) and the Pain des Amis… oh and pick me up an escargot chocolat-pistache while you’re there! It’s the most divine thing I’ve eaten recently. No kidding.


Essential Information 

Address: 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010
Telephone: 01 42 40 44 52
Website: Du Pain et Des Idées 
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 6.45am til 8pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Café A, 75010

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The most amazing space. A great discovery that I only stumbled upon by chance.

The café is situated in a large courtyard, tucked behind an old convent, in the bustling 10th arrondissement. Yet the only factor reminding you that you’re just adjacent to the Gare de l’Est is the slight traffic noise. On a Saturday morning however, especially in August, it’s fairly minimal.

There is a brunch menu for 28 euros – I saw yoghurts, watermelon and baguette going by, but the bottles of Tabasco Sauce I saw suggested something more substantial. I was just there for a coffee. In that case, my waitress explains, “you have to sit on the deckchairs.” Sorry?! I asked again to make sure I’d understood correctly. For just 2€30, the price of my espresso, I have to lie on a deck-chair, under a canopy of sun-shades and leafy trees. Oh, life is so hard!

Sitting in front of me are two chatty, elderly French ladies (but not the type who have little dogs in their handbags) and to my right, sitting on the bench, are a young French couple who haven’t realised that they’re no longer in the privacy of their bedroom… if you know what I mean….

There’s a breeze that circulates, a general chatter and clinking of cutlery, along with the sound of the two waitresses walking over the white gravel.

If you’re not going away on holiday this summer, come here! I promise that after just 45 minutes, you’ll feel like you’ve had a week away at a gorgeous hotel on the sea front, and after any longer than an hour, you’ll even start mistaking traffic noise for waves lapping at the shore.

It’s the ultimate get-away without going anywhere. A moment très insolite and most definitely to be recommended!

 


Essential Information

Address: 148 rue du Faubourg St Antoine, 75010 
Telephone: 09 81 29 83 38
WebsiteFacebook
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am – midnight, Sat 12.30-midnight. Closed Sunday and Monday. (likely to change.) 

Ten Belles, 75010

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Another too-cool-for-school coffee joint that was part of what will become known as the craft coffee revolution of 2012. In this case, the driving force was Thomas Lehoux who teamed up with Paris coffee maestro David Flynn to launch this cute, friendly hole in the wall.

The generally accepted term for these places that I hear being bandied around all the time is “Brooklyn”, however, for me, coming to this from a British perspective, I think it’s rather more “Shoreditch.”

In any case, it is a bare-bones establishment in a lesser area of town, but which therefore attracts the out-to-be-seen hipster crowd. In Paris, there is a wave of Generation Y gadabouts who are looking for this. Somewhere modern, with the focus on the provenance, care and elaboration of the final product. (Coffee comes from the Belleville Brulerie.)

I like the Ten Belles. It rather takes miniature and minimalism to the extreme but the welcome is friendly, the coffee is hot and it’s a good little place to have up your sleeve, especially if you’re in the area. 

You come because it’s a beautiful spring day and you need a quick shot of caffeine before strolling along the Canal St-Martin.


Essential Information

Address: 10, rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010
Telephone: 01 42 40 90 78
WebsiteWebsiteFacebook
Opening Hours:  Monday – Friday from 8am – 6pm, Sat + Sun 9am – 7pm.

Photo credit ?? (Please come forward if it is you.)

Le Vin en Vrac, 75018

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UPDATE (Nov 2014)

It’s a local, neighbourhood spot. It’s quirky, it has its charm, it’s fun. But if you know anything about wine, or you want to learn more, there is nothing special about this place. The staff are young and they’re still learning what they have on the shelf. Several times, when I’ve gone in with wine friends and we ask their advice, we are left bitterly disappointed.

Don’t be fooled by what’s on the shelves. They’ve brought in new producers for the bulk wine (or “en vrac“, in French) and the majority is from a more industrial production. It may be organic but they share no other particularity with what “natural wine” should be : i.e. low intervention, no added yeasts, no fining, no filtration… The bloggers who promote this place, if they try and get all natural-wine on your ass, don’t know jack shit.

If you’re in the area and especially if it’s a dead day, like a Sunday or Monday, this is a good place to go but don’t expect to be blown away.


UPDATE (July 2014)

En Vrac has added two new addresses: in the hip La Recyclerie (83 boulevard Ornano, 75018) and a wine shop (no sit-down food service) on 69 rue Maubeuge, 75010.


UPDATE (2013)

N.B. There is a terrasse to catch a few rays of sunshine and a brunch menu offered at weekends.


ORIGINAL POST (Dec 2012)

For a country that’s so snobbish about wine, it may come as a surprise to you that this new wine bar selling bulk wine has just opened up in my quartier.

You see, for a year or so, there has been a stall at my local indoor market (le Marché de l’Olive) selling wine. It’s worked so well that they’ve just opened up a wine shop, déli and bar.

The (slightly unusual for Parisians) concept is that you bring a bottle (or you buy a clean one from them for a meagre 2 euros) and you have it filled up with a wine of your choice, straight from the stainless steel tank. No label, no fancy “oh but dahling you must get Chateau de Blah-Blah”, and refreshingly, no snobbery for one particular vintage over another.

No, this is a place that sells vin de table. House wine. The stuff you have at home for those every-day occasions. Nothing complicated, nothing to write home about, but something that won’t render you bankrupt within a week. A bottle of perfectly drinkable plonk will set you back about 5 euros and is far better than anything you’ll find in that price range in a supermarket.

They have five or six mini stainless steel barrels to choose from, a helpful (but not always the most knowledgable) server who’ll help you make your choice and fill up the bottle. For the traditionalists, there are also a couple of shelves at the back where you can buy a standard “pre-bottled” wine. They have about thirty to choose from – all French, largely natural wines. As if that’s not enough, they also have a couple of tables where you can sit down, relax, have a glass of wine and a plate of charcuterie or fromage. At 3 euros a glass, I think I know where my new favourite local spot is.


Essential Information

Address: 2 rue de l’Olive, 75018
Telephone: 01 53 26 03 94
WebsiteVin en Vrac, Facebook
Opening Hours: from 10am until midnight every day of the week. 
Reservations: not necessary. 
Suggested footwear: shabby chic works just fine