Guaranteed Personality – Melissa Unger – writing for I V Y paris
Last weekend, rushing from République, in an effort to get to the Marché des Enfants Rouges before the 15 euro orchid plants were sold out, I cut across the Carreau du Temple.
Because I am cheaper than day old bread, this type of bargain incites me to take perilous risks, like running in high heels and venturing down unknown streets. Despite nearly falling twice and being more focused on horticulture than culture ‘tout court’, I still managed to notice that there were a whole slew of new art galleries and trendy shops on the criss-cross of streets just north of the rue de Bretagne (rue Charlot, rue de Saintonge, rue de Poitou and all around the Carreau itself).
Featured in photo: the soon-to-be renovated Carreau du Temple.
Orchid plant now safely in hand, having pried the last available one out the shaking fingers of an old lady too weak to fight me (told you I was cheap), I made like Nancy Drew, and embarked on a full investigation of the ‘hood. Here’s my report:
This northern section of the Marais is one of the best new places to discover emerging contemporary art, design and fashion.
The days of meeting my friends for morning coffee in my pyjama bottoms and flip flops are officially over. The arrival of a seemingly endless stream of cutting edge shops has upped the ante on local wardrobe. Dressing to buy baguette here is now more daunting than assembling an outfit to get past the bouncer at Le Baron.
An influx of new art galleries, paired with last year’s arrivals on neighbouring St Claude, and firmly anchored by the established, larger dealers (Thaddaeus Ropac, Emmanuel Perrotin, Yvon Lambert) a few streets away, has made what was already a cool quartier, almost toxically trendy.
Le Progrés, the café which used to be the preferred place for all the local artists, art dealers and fashionistas, while still retaining a portion of its deliberately scruffy clientele, has been somewhat overshadowed by a new bastion of BoBo chic, the Café Charlot.
At Charlot, the hipster to mere mortal quotient is such that I thought perhaps I’d be handed a slim leather jacket at the door, have my hair tousled by the waitress, and told “Blend, Chérie, blend.”
Aside from the impossibly attractive patrons, the place is genuinely cozy and appealing and offers basic, but solidly decent food, particularly the hamburgers.
And most importantly, in a city whose restaurants tend to keep somewhat, shall we say, ‘arbitrary’ hours, Café Charlot is open ALL THE TIME. From 7am to 2am daily. The kitchen even serves dinner until midnight.
Check out the new galleries, innovative design and clothing shops, and then head over to Café Charlot. Pick one of the low tables with the comfy armchairs, bring a book, doesn’t matter which one, you won’t be reading it, like Karl over his fan, you’ll be surreptitiously peering over it, to check out one of the best impromptu fashion shows in town. Trés cool, trust me.
38 rue de Bretagne
For gallery and shop addresses and more great info on this quartier visit Haut Marais.