Sunday 22 February 2009

Rue de Lappe Paris 75011

This is rue de Lappe. A cobbled street in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, in the Bastille neighbourhood and best known for its nightlife.

When I first moved to Paris it is here that I rented a small attic room of a building built in 1750. I’m a sucker for history, so when I was looking for an apartment and the landlord told me that the courtyard in front of the building, the Cours st Louis, played an important role in the French Revolution for it was here in July 1789 that the Sans Culottes, the radical Parisian working class movement, congregated before marching on to tear down the Bastille an overthrow the king and state, I didn’t need any more convincing. I loved the fact that from the very apartment where I was going to live France and indeed the world was changed forever. Despite its historical significance, a year later I had to move out for a reason far more prosaic – it was infested with mice!

During the 19th Century rue de Lappe became a centre for skilled artisans particularly for ironmongery. Later in the 19th Century and in the 20th Century rue de Lappe started picking up a reputation as a centre of Paris nightlife. By the 1930s 17 dance halls were installed in the street one of which the Balajo (9 rue de Lappe, 75011 Paris) still exists. The Balajo played host to many legendary entertainers of the day such as Edith Piaf and Django Reinhardt.

Today rue de Lappe is still a lively place with a great number of bars, cafes and restaurants. One of my favourites is the Bistrot le Sans culottes (27 rue de Lappe 75011 Paris). It’s a 1920s café with a rare pewter bar. There is also a hotel on the establishment. For more lively places try Some Girls (43, rue de Lappe, Paris 75011) or Bar a Nenette (26 bis Rue de Lappe. 75011 Paris). A good restaurant is Chez Paul at the end of the street on the corner with rue de Charonne.

Sunday 8 February 2009

Le Marché des Enfants Rouges Paris

This is the Marché des Enfants Rouge (The Market of the Red Children) whose colourful name comes from an orphanage which once resided nearby and whose children wore red uniforms. The market stretches back to 1615 which makes it the oldest surviving market in Paris.

It is a pocket sized gem of market situated on rue de Bretagne in the 4rd arrondissement of Paris and you’re more likely to come here to partake of an al fresco lunch at one of the many cafes that lie within its gates than you are to do your weekly shopping. I’d highly recommend the Japanese cafe which serves some of the best Japanese food I’ve had in Paris. There is also good Traiteur Marocain: serving couscous tajines and pastilles, a Caribbean café, a pizzeria and Italian deli and café and a French wine bar and restaurant which is the only place to have indoor seating; plus you can get soca, roti and huitres and a lot more besides to fill your picnic basket.

It’s a splendid place but was once almost demolished in the 1990s to make way for a car park but was saved after a campaign by local residents.

While you are there be sure to check the photography shop specialising in portrait photography and where you can delve through a vast array of old photos and postcards on sale. Watch video here Fabien Breuvart Photographie

Marché des Enfants Rouges: 39, rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris. Métro: République, Filles de Calvaire or Temple.

The market is closed on Monday.