November 19 2014
I find the line 2 métro fascinating. Of all the different lines, it is peut-être this one which covers the widest range of Parisian communities. Starting off at Nation, moving through the Chinese communities in Belleville and Menilmontant, you see the hoardes of sunbathers getting off at Jaures and heading for the Canal Saint Martin. There are the Indians and Pakistanis in La Chapelle, the usual ragamuffins at Barbes-Rochechouart, the wide-eyed tourists at Anvers and those who consider themselves at the next level up because they’re off to see the Moulin Rouge at Blanche. Then there are the more upmarket areas around the Parc Monceau, Courcelles and Ternes. Office-workers, suited and booted, having one last cigarette before facing the reality of another day’s work.
After that, you have the Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile and all that goes with. Beyond, you have Victor Hugo and Porte Dauphine, two of the most luxurious residential areas within the city walls. I remember – aged 18 – staying for a couple of days with a friend who had a chambre de bonne on the avenue Victor Hugo. I was in awe at how broodily the Arc de Triomphe loomed at the end of his street but bizarrely, my strongest memory was the horror of unwittingly overhearing a gaggle of BCBG* self-absorbed teenage girls gossiping at the local Starbucks about how cool they were.
This morning I was back on that same street corner to chase up some bureaucrat. It’s not a secret how long administration can take in this country… and my new favourite way of getting anything done is to go in person.
Having finally accomplished what I set out to do, I decided to treat myself to a pastry. La Petite Marquise is a fantastic spot in the 16th arrondissement for the baguette de tradition. They came 8th in the 2014 Best Baguette in Paris competition, and 6th in 2012. I spent a reasonable 1€20 to try it for myself, and let’s just say, I was not disappointed! I also got a croissant au beurre (1€.) As you might know if you’ve followed this blog for a while, I have a penchant for really good buttery pastries and this one was super.
As it was almost lunchtime by the time I left, I spotted two servers putting out some mouth-watering sandwiches for the working and/or picnic crowd. There’s also a salon du thé towards the back of the shop, where you can sample their delicious creations on-site and wash it down with a cup of coffee or tea. Perfect for those with more time on their hands.
An extremely good address to have up your sleeve if you’re in the area.
*Bon Chic, Bon Genre: literally Good Style, Good Type. Not derogatory, the term first came about in the 1980s to describe well-dressed people with a style that now we expats have come to think of “typically Parisian”. Not to be confused with BoBo (Bourgeois Bohemian.)
Essential Information Address: 3 place Victor Hugo, 75116 Telephone: 01 45 00 77 36 Opening Hours: Monday – Friday from 7.45am til 7.45pm. Saturday from 7.45am – 7.25pm. Closed Sunday.