Where the hipsters hangout in the French capital
Iconic restaurants, bars and cafés such as L’Avenue (popular for celebrity-spotting), Lex Deux Magots, Café de Flore and Laduree Bar in Paris have been popular amongst tourists and, without a doubt, must-tries if at least once. But for those who wonder where the young, cool Parisians actually flock to, here are five hip hangouts to avoid the tourist crowds:
1 Le Comptoir General
Located in Quai de Jemmapes near Canal Saint Martin, Le Comptoir General is not your usual Parisian bar and café. It is an art museum, book and vintage shop and restaurant dedicated to the rich African or ghetto cultures, with its eclecticism evident in its shabby-chic décor, a menu that changes every now and then and the bar list that includes African beer and cocktails. It used to be one of Paris’ best-kept secrets, but a queue outside its entrance is a norm these days, especially on weekends when they serve their popular Franco-African brunch.
2 La Recyclerie
The Ornano station located north of Paris was shut down in 1939 and has been abandoned for many years. In 2014, however, the people from Le Comptoir General decided to give the space new life by opening their latest franchise, La Recyclerie. Just a short stroll from the Port de Clignancourt metro station, it features a restaurant that overlooks an old railroad track, an urban farm and a flea market every weekends. No lines when we visited, but with its growing popularity, that might soon change.
3 Aux Folies
Aux Folies is a quaint watering hole on the corner of rue de Belleville and graffiti-lined alley of rue Denoyez. It is considered one of the best bars in Paris and is always packed with locals (you might even spot some local celebrities if you are familiar with the French film scene), thus finding a table might prove a challenge. Prices are reasonable, too, but a little French might come in handy when ordering.
Merci is a chic café around the hip Le Marais area. The restaurant and café space is divided into three: Used Book Café, where choosing your coffee can go hand in hand with choosing from the 10,000 books in the library; Cinema Café where you can enjoy lunch amidst projected classic films on the wall; and, finally, The Merci Canteen, where you can enjoy fresh, healthy dishes with a beautiful garden ambience.
5 Le Perchoir
Hidden in the Rue Saint-Maur and Menilmontant metro stations is a speakeasy rooftop bar called Le Perchoir. There is no sign on its front door, but more often than not, a queue outside will give it away. Its cocktails, tapas and beers can be a bit pricey, but the 360 degree view of Paris from its 7th floor location makes it all worth it.