Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Discovery in Real Paris

I love my neighborhood, which is, technically speaking the Quartier Saint-Marguerite (east of Bastille, south of rue de Charonne, north or Nation). However, I generally have a broader sense of my "neighborhood" when talking to friends. I usually try to claim anything north of the Seine and east of the Marais as "mine". I would throw in Montmartre if I could but that would definitely be a stretch. I affectionately refer to this area as Real Paris because it's generally where the working class folks tend to live except for the pockets of Bobos dispersed throughout.

Because I live in Real Paris I sometimes feel a need to defend the area and to be a strong and vocal advocat of all the wonderful things it has to offer (Marchés Aligre and Bastille, Bastille Opera, Canal Saint Martin, Parc des Buttes Charmont, Promenade Plantee, Père Lachaise Cemetery, etc.). Thanks to a friend who is way cooler than I am or can ever imagine being I've got a new endroit in my arsenal.

The place Mama Shelter, a budget hotel designed by Philip Starck. Instantly upon entering the hotel I no longer felt like I was in Paris. I felt like I was transplanted back to the one trendy, hip, design bars of NYC. To top it all off they make excellent cocktails with a proper ice to cocktail ratio which is generally hard to find in Paris.

So if you find yourself in Real Paris and you're looking to quench your thirst and you don't mind being around hipster types it's definitely worth checking out.

Mama Shelter
109 rue de Bagnolet


David said...

Actually, your neighborhood (the real one, not your extended one that encompasses one third of the city ;) ) has changed a lot in the past twenty years. It used to be really working class, not so much anymore (after all you live there too).
I don't know if you know the film "Chacun cherche son chat." It takes place almost entirely in your neighborhood and is not technically about its gentrification, but it's an underlying theme all throughout the movie.

In the things you mentionned "as real Paris" there are a couple (Canal St-Martin, Promenade Plantée, I'm not too sure about marché Aligre, I don't know it too well) that have become part of boboland... But I've notice a shift in the bobo population, we now have two of them: the upper class bobo (one can find mostly in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements) and the middle class bobo (10th, 11th, 12th and 20th arrondissements).

"The place Mama Shelter, a budget hotel designed by Philip Starck."

And you say, that is not bobo. "budget" and "Philippe Starck" in the same sentence... Hard to do more bobo than that. ;)

Finally, what kinds of cocktails do you drink (or what kinds of places do you drink your cocktails at)?

Except for a few exceptions, the only appropriate ice to cocktail ratio is 0% ice. And they're not hard to find in Paris if you avoid fancy and touristy places (I can give you a few addresses if you want).

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

David, you're a wealth of knowledge aren't you? Ideally, I would claim 100% of Paris as my own but that would just be extreme now wouldn't it? So I'll stick with 1/3 ;)

Have you not read my previous post "Beer Budget, Vintage Champagne Tastes"? I AM a workin' class gal. I haven't seen the movie you mentioned but I'll have to check it out.

I'm not going to get into the whole Bobo/Philip Starck debate here but I will say that I enjoy discovering new places and especially ones that don't fit into the typical Parisian mold. Although I do enjoy those places as well.

I will however get into the cocktail ice ratio debate with you. A good cocktail needs ice plain and simple. Empirical proof to follow. These days I usually stick to wine or panaches. The few times that I've ordered cocktails here they weren't cold enough for my liking or the right proportions for that matter.

Anyway, I am always up for trying new places so I definitely welcome your suggestions.

David said...

I admit some cocktails require ice cubes, but most of the best ones don't.
Don't get me wrong, you have to have ice to prepare them, in the glass, not so often.

The best cocktails in Paris can be found:
-in the Hemingway Bar of the Ritz Hotel (most likely the best cocktails in the world), but I can't afford €30 cocktails.
-at the infamous Harry's New York Bar (birthplace of the Bloody Mary, the Blue Lagoon, the Side-Car, the D'Artagnan and many more)
-at the Forum on bd Malesherbes near Madeleine.

The best cheap cocktails bar I know can be found at the Rhubarb (rue Laplace, near the Panthéon) and surprisingly enough (because it's a British pub) at the Bombardier on place du Panthéon.

Evolutionary Revolutionary said...

I love your hood and I hope that you bless me with such coolness SOON. Because even though I am certainly not as cool as you and Sarah I find that hanging out in the company of such people generally ups my standings.

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

Thanks for the suggestions David. I've been to the Hemingway bar and I was definitely put off by the prices and demographic. I've never been to the other places but I'll definitely have to check them out.