12 Days in Paris: Day 9

On the ninth day my French friend Véronique offered to show me around.  I was curious to see the 19th arrondissement, which is a diverse residential neighborhood that has recently grown in popularity (or rather is gentrifying).   Our first stop was 104/Centquarte, a contemporary art center in the former building of Municipal Funeral Services. Over 200 artists work in the center’s studio spaces, which are open to the public. Unfortunately, we were there too early and most of the building was closed, but we saw some installations around the vast lobby.

Hills covered in CDs at 104/Centquatre

The coolest wire fence ever

After 104/Centquatre, we took the subway a few stops to the nearby Buttes-Chaumont park.  Buttes-Chaumont makes Central Park look like a flatland.  The park has a lake, waterfalls, bridges, cliffs, hills, etc.  It reminded me of the romantic-style settings of Watteau’s fête galante paintings (a genre of paintings typically depicting aristocrats frolicking outdoors).

On the suspension bridge in Buttes-Chaumont Park

Look at Véronique's t-shirt!

We went for a mini-hike in the park and then met up with our friend Jacqueline for lunch in the Marais. We went to one of the two locations of the Rose Bakery, which is my favorite non-French, non-Moroccan restaurant in Paris.  The restaurant is owned by a Franco-English couple and serves English-inspired food, specializing in market-fresh vegetable dishes and baked goods.  We ordered two vegetarian tarts and one tofu avocado salad to split.  The food was delicious and the trendy people-watching was equally interesting (my friends recognized a French actress, although I didn’t know her).  I found it was funny that the restaurant’s help wanted sign was only in English.

Excellent meal at the Rose Bakery

Following lunch Véronique and Jacqueline showed me their favorite boutiques in the Marais. We walked to the Bastille and then decided to go to the Great Mosque of Paris for tea. The Great Mosque is the largest mosque in France and it is stunning!  We selected several types of middle eastern pastries and then sat in the courtyard garden where waiters came around with trays of sweet mint tea.  The courtyard was pretty and relaxing, minus the occasional pigeon flying around.  We peeked into the indoor restaurant, which was also quite beautiful and took some photos there.

Courtyard at the Great Mosque of Paris

Marzipan-ish pink almond pastry and delicious sweet mint tea

Indoor restaurant at the Great Mosque

Jacqueline and I posing at the indoor restaurant

We took the bus back to my friend’s apartment to meet Monica.  It was my first and last time on a bus in Paris, since  similar to NY’s buses, it was scenic, but very very slow.  At night Monica and I went out for (an undocumented) dinner with a family friend at the historic Brasserie Wepler.  Picasso, Modigliani, Apollinaire, Henry Miller, and Truffaut all frequented the restaurant, so it was lovely to experience the grand brasserie and enjoy a meal with great company.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “12 Days in Paris: Day 9

  1. Yana

    Hey Shane! I love the Paris installments. When you say that the 9th arrondissement is a diverse residential neighborhood…where is the diversity coming from? I was under the assumption, maybe incorrectly, that Paris is not a particularly diverse city?

    • roseofbohemia

      Hi Yana!

      Thank you for stopping by! I’m glad you are enjoying the Paris posts. Paris is super diverse! Well, it’s more diverse outside of Paris in the suburbs (the banlieue), but you do see a lot of different people in Paris proper and especially in certain neighborhoods. I’m certainly not a sociologist or expert, but I know most of the immigrants are from former French colonies, especially from the Maghreb region (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria).

      In the 19th, there are a lot of African, Arab, and Jewish families. Here is an article about tension and antisemitism in the community: http://www.tabletmag.com/news-and-politics/25494/battles-of-paris/

      The neighborhood of Belleville has traditionally been the immigrant neighborhood and it encompasses parts of the 10th, 11th, 19th, and 20th. It is known for having a lot of Arabic and Arabic-Jewish people, but I heard there is actually a growing Chinatown there, which I didn’t get a chance to see (though I did eat in a Kosher tunisian restaurant there, but it was night time so we didn’t explore).

      The 10th arrondissement where I was staying has a large area that is like Little Africa, with lots of African stores and beauty parlors. I was surprised by how much the African area had grown since I was last there in ’06.

  2. So jealous that you’re in Paris — I’ve always wanted to go!!!!

    Have fun!!

    Fashion Translated

    • roseofbohemia

      Thank you, but I’m actually not there right now…just very very behind in posting. One day you’ll get there and love it!

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