The go to places of the trendy Parisian bourgeois boheme

Starter for Ten Belles

Sometimes it’s not about knowing the right answer, sometimes it’s about asking the right questions. Enter Ten Belles, the little coffee shop near the Canal Saint Martin in the 10e assisting bobos in coffee crisis. Opened last month, Ten Belles is a collaborative effort by Thomas Lehoux, celebrity coffee man about town, and talented kitchen ladies from Le Bal Café (cf. 24/4/12).  The team also includes a barista from one of Sydney’s well known coffee hot spots: Mecca. The décor is basic – white walls, concrete floors, blue wooden tables, colourful stools – and everything is small other than the enthusiasm of the boys behind the counter who, I might add, are not too hard on the eyes ladies. The menu is limited with a particular focus on sweets, but the stand out is clearly the coffee. 15 euros max for your goûter, but you’d probably be devouring more than one chocolate caramel tart or a second cappuccino to confirm the first was as good as you thought. Your starter for 10? Ten Belles.

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Ten Belles, 10 rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010

06 22 71 28 15

Nanashi: Bohemian Rhapsody

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Bohemians all over Paris are certainly enthusiastic about Nanashi, the organic Japanese inspired canteens multiplying all over the capital. The Northern Marais branch perfectly embodies its ethos – simple and cheerful, both in terms of décor and food. A long, narrow hall flanked by white walls on one side and floor to ceiling windows on the other are brought to life by colourful wooden furniture, blackboards and hoards of fashionable fresh food seeking bobos.  The menu reflects the chef’s Japanese heritage and stint at Rose Bakery, you can choose the bento and chirashi options or opt for a salad, brioche pizza or cheesecake with a twist.  Prices are reasonable, no Freddy Mercury meltdowns here, 20 euros for a meal with an organic fruit juice thrown into the mix. Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got to go. To Nanashi that is.

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Nanashi (the original), 31 rue du Paradis, 75010

01 40 22 05 55

Nanashi (the 2nd), 57 rue Charlot, 75003

01 44 61 45 49

Nanashi (Bonpoint boutique), 6 rue de Tournon, 75006

La Maison Mere: Word to your Mother

The girls may be wearing more than bikinis but they’re still hot at La Maison Mère, the hip Franco-American fusion restaurant in the 9e. Looking like a trendy New York bistro that has set up camp in a Parisian butcher shop, this bobo hangout is only a few doors down from another well-known SoPi institution, Hotel Amour (cf. 22/2/12). Decked out mainly with white tiles and vintage wooden furniture, it’s the lights hanging above the bar in the shape of Derby hats that add an extra touch of originality. The daily and brunch menus combine classics from both cultures, but given it’s harder to find bagels, burgers and cheesecake in Paris than tartare ou entrecote, it’s certainly more tempting to focus on the American inspired items.  Prices are reasonable at 35 euros for 2 courses plus wine. Yo Bobo, let’s kick it!

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

La Maison Mère, 4 rue de Navarin, 75009

01 42 81 11 00

Le Dauphin: the King’s firstborn

They say that France is a republic, but in Paris, many answer to a King by the name of Iñaki Aizpitarte. After the success of Le Chateaubriand (cf. 7/3/12), its offspring Le Dauphin is his new too-cool-to-be-true wine bar and restaurant. Located next door to its regal predecessor in the 11e, the decor is dominated by majestic white Carrara marble. With a fit out consisting of a few floor to ceiling mirrors, an island bar and some wooden tables and stools, Le Dauphin is suited to its trendy patrons. But noble bobos should know that the royal treatment does not end here – the tapas style menu, both varied and creative, is also befitting of monarchs. More affordable than its patriarch, 45 euros is the budget for a meal with wine. Call in advance if you want to book a table for the first service, or turn up around 9:30pm for the second, no-reservations coronation. Long live the King!

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Le Dauphin, 131 avenue Parmentier, 75011

01 55 28 78 88

Le Point Ephemere: Here to Stay?

They say all good things must come to an end. Le Point Ephémère, part bar/restaurant, part cultural super center in the bobolicious 10e, was conceived to respect this rule. But everyone who’s anyone knows rules are meant to be broken, and so it is that eight years on, Le Point Ephémère is still kicking it. Housed in an impressive brick and concrete dock style building covered in graffiti, Le Point Ephémère lies on the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin and is home to exhibitions, concerts and artist residences as well as a very down to earth watering hole and eatery. So down to earth in fact, you might find yourself sitting on the floor to enjoy your beer, served (un)cheerfully in a plastic cup. Be prepared to fight the hoard of trendy bohemian and arty types on a warm day – its perfect location canal side coupled with very reasonable prices (under 20 euros for a main and a glass of wine), makes Le Point Ephémère a serious contender for best outdoor terrace. Check it out bobos: nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Le Point Ephémère200 quai de Valmy, 75010

01 40 34 02 48

Coutume Cafe is the Bee’s Knees

If you’re confused by the title, don’t get your knickers in a knot.  You’re about to learn a couple of expressions from our friends down under. Finally, Parisians are being introduced to coffee: Aussie style. The hip Coutume Café is shaking up the Paris coffee scene from an otherwise uneventful corner of the 7e. The boys behind the café, a Frenchman trained in Melbourne and an Australian, may as well be mad hatters, serving up untraditional coffees by Parisian standards in a chemistry lab inspired setting – bonding elements such as classic period ceilings and wooden floors with plastic curtains, laboratory glassware and white tiles. They roast their own beans, using different methods depending on the variety, and have sourced a special milk: their secret ingredient. Before you spit the dummy about the food you should know that the brunch, at a respectable 20 euros, is also the ant’s pants. Alerting all bobo coffee lovers: this is possibly the best coffee in Paris. Fair dinkum.

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Coutume Café, 47 rue de Babylone, 75007

01 45 51 50 47

Le Bal Cafe: Little Britain

Britain, Britain, Britain, they may have invented the cat but we have Le Bal Café, a café/restaurant tucked away in a suprisingly charming alley off the Avenue de Clichy in the 18e. Recognisbly anglo-saxon, Le Bal Café’s cool colours, modern design and menu that screams Pom is a genuine voyage to the land of hope and glory. If scones and capuccinos don’t butter your toast, you may be interested by the venue itself: Le Bal, an independent exhibition space dedicated to the image in all its forms. A melting pot of English accents, the café has a pretty terrace facing a little park, making for a most enjoyable brunch that will cost you around 20 euros. With the cat out of the bag there’s only one thing left to do - head for a cuppa to chew the fat with the lads at this intellectual bobo paradise. 

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Le Bal Café6 impasse de la Défense, 75018

01 44 70 75 56

Back to the Future Chez Jeannette

It’s a good thing a leopard cannot change its spots, or we may never have lived to see Chez Jeannette. This ever so trendy bar/cafe in the animated rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis in the 10e, looks like it hasn’t changed a thing since 1950, despite its recent renovation. Modernity’s loss is our gain: [zinc bar + red satin lampshades + neon signs] x frayed, yellowing walls = a room full of snappy dressers. The food is reasonably priced at an average of 14 euros a main. For a slightly rougher version, try Le Sully down the road at number 13. The crowd is eclectic and the drinks are so cheap, they could be classified as social security benefits. Carpe Diem bobos!

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Chez Jeannette, 47 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 

01 47 70 30 89

Le Sully, 13 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010

01 77 10 74 70

Le Floreal: Cocktails and Dreams

This funky, hard to miss corner café, bar and bistro, not far from some Goncourt heavyweights in the 10e, is the latest venture from the team behind the hipster Chez Jeannette. The décor is a mix of 60’s retro, classic French bistro and the best of the 1980’s. The generous terrace is luring with its bright colour blocks and classic wicker furniture. Inside, it’s Formica tables, leather benches, individual table lamps and a colourful ceiling to contrast the warm wooden tones. My favourite touch: a neon “Cocktail” sign behind the bar, reminding us that once upon a time before Scientology and Oprah, Tom Cruise actually made good movies. The menu varies from burgers to lobster, average budget around 40 euros. If you want to keep up with the Joneses bobos, strike while Le Floréal is hot.

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Le Floréal, 73 rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75010

01 42 08 81 03

Le Chateaubriand: how fine it is to know a thing or two

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, le Chateaubriand is breaking hearts all over Paris. We had Great Expectations from this néo-bistro found in an unpretentious avenue in the 11e, whose name simultaneously depicts the father of Romanticism and a rather dandy bit of beef. I could tell you that the time-warp décor, so à la mode with its zinc bar, mosaic floors, dim lights and dark wood furniture creates a casual, somewhat nostalgic atmosphere. I could also tell you that the set menu at 55 euros, printed in black and white on an A4 piece of paper and probably photocopied, is the daily brainchild of a genius self-made chef of Basque origins. All these things are relevant, yes, but the truth is that you only need to know one thing. At Le Chateaubriand, I ate possibly the best dessert of my entire life. If you think that’s an exaggeration, ask the queue trying to get into the second seating because they missed out on a reservation. Sorry Molière, but we think bobos should live to eat.

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Le Chateaubriand, 129 avenue Parmentier, 75011

01 43 57 45 95

Apocalypse Bobo at Mama Shelter

If Mama won’t come to bobo, then bobo must go to Mama. Mama Shelter: the funky hotel, bar and restaurant in the OMG-its-gritty-and-so-far-away-how-ever-will-we-manage-to-get-there-did-I-just-see-a-Porsche-pull-up? 20e. Mama Shelter is a bustling, quirky, rough and tough hub for the fashion conscious, designed by Philippe Starck. Four spaces to enjoy on the ground floor: a no reservations pizzeria with a long communal table (11 euros average), a more traditional, reservations necessary restaurant (around 35 euros for 2 courses), a square island cocktail bar (approx. 12 euros a pop) and a narrow private outdoor terrace, decorated in a deliberate mismatch of industrial, vintage and rock gangsta styles. The focus, a chalkboard ceiling covered in graffiti. The hotel rooms continue the contemporary theme and are a treat, if you’re into bed side lamp shades in the shape of batman’s face. I love the smell of chalk in the morning… smells like, victory.

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Mama Shelter, 109 Rue de Bagnolet, 75020

01 43 48 45 45

Hotel Amour: l’amour dure toujours


Beigbeder might think that love lasts 3 years, but at Hotel Amour, it lasts at least 6, or one hour, depending on how you like to look at things. Opened in 2006, this boutique designer hotel in the 9e is still one of the places to be in Paris. Embracing its past life as a brothel, and reminding us that notwithstanding its hipster location we’re still in Pigalle, it’s one of the few hotels where you can book a room by the hour. If you like provocative but don’t have anyone to provoke, there’s always the restaurant/bar, a destination in itself. Fitted out with 1950’s style furniture, the décor is understated (red booths, dim lights, mirrors) with the exception of a few erotic photos and the trendsetters lining the tables. And yet Hotel Amour has another card up its sleeve: a leafy internal courtyard - coveted in Paris - perfect for a summer brunch, in fact, a summer anything. Budget around 40 euros for traditional bistro fare, unless you’re hoping for a dangerous liaison. But please, don’t go all Glenn Close on us.

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Hotel Amour, 8 rue de Navarin, 75009

01 48 78 31 80 

Buena onda at Candelaria

Meet Candelaria, the taqueria in the upper Marais that is bringing authentic tortillas to the discerning Parisian bobo. There’s an air of exclusivity at this tiny establishment, housing a small communal table, narrow counter and genuine Mexican accents. The décor is minimalist, some might even call it sterile, but all that glitters is not gold - the proof is in the quesadilla. As if that wasn’t enough to write home about, there’s a cocktail den hidden behind an unassuming white door by the kitchen: push through to go from Mexico DF to Playa del Carmen, figuratively speaking of course. The bar is seductive with its exposed wooden beams, stone walls and candles, and feels very private. Watch out for the Guêpe Verte, a delicious cocktail made with chili infused tequila and cucumbers. At 11 euros a pop, it’s going to be one pricey, spicy evening. Que pasa güey? Candelaria, that’s what. 

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Candelaria, 52 Rue de Saintonge, 75003

01 42 74 41 28

Au Passage is not De Passage

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A notion dear to the crew behind the Caves and Pères Populaires (in the 17e and 20e respectively), successfully applied to their business model. Their latest venture, Au Passage, is built upon the tradition of its predecessors. A canteen/bar where shabby is synonymous with chic and the hobos have turned into bobos, tucked away in a narrow alley in the 11e that you’re unlikely to hazard upon by simple chance. Au Passage has joined the wave of Parisian bistros offering tapas style dining, and they’re doing it with a talented kitchen team. At an average price of 8 euros a plate, Au Passage is making good quality produce accessible, and encouraging that conviviality around a meal we could only envy once upon a time about our endearing Spanish neighbours. Strike while the iron is hot bobos, and check out the New Kids on the Alley.

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Au Passage, 1 bis, passage Saint-Sébastien, 75011

01 43 55 07 52

Le Carillon: be there with bells on

Le Carillon is an old school café and bar in the 10e, without the bells and whistles (pun intended) of some of its Canal Saint Martin neighbours. The authentic, no frills approach of Le Carillon is exactly what drives Parisians there, and the reason why some have made it their local HQ. A popular bobo hangout, there’s not enough room to swing a cat on a Saturday night, but who swings a cat anyway. Prices for beer and wine are reasonable, though when it came to the mixed drinks, they varied slightly depending on the bar tender. The crowd is clearly more boBO than BObo, don’t expect just pretty faces. This place is a gem - being at Le Carillon is like running into an old friend and realising that some things never change. Amen to that.

Bisou bisou, Paris Bobo

Le Carillon, 18 Rue Alibert, 75010

01 42 39 81 88