Saturday 2 August 2014

Hidden Paris

A whistle stop tour of hidden Paris is what we did last week. We compiled an edited list of the best gems and delights that await you on the streets of Paris. Enjoy!

First up was an adventure to find the inner city village of Bercy which you can get through Bercy Park which is home to an orangery, a vineyard and three old wine warehouses.

Below, Parc de Bercy with it's mass of wildflower meadows and tall trees.

With a beautifully wild allotment set against the back drop of some of the city's apartments it was the perfect city garden project.

The duck pond (above) was surrounded by the tallest bamboo canes. Once through the park you get to the village itself.
Bercy Village has been set on a disused railway line and has a selection of boutiques and cafes to wander through after your walk around the park.

Next up was a coffee to refresh and replenish the stores at Tuck Shop on 13, rue Lucien Sampaix. After an espresso and some dark green lentil salad, recommended by the 
friendly staff, we were ready to explore the next hidden gem.

Bleuet Coquelicot was a hidden secret that was spotted on Pinterest.  Nestled on rue de la Grange aux Belles just off the Canal Saint-Martin this leafy florist was unfortunately closed for the day, but the lavender blue exterior looked like a welcoming and intriguing oasis. I think this would be well worth a trip back.

Across the street was an unusual jewellery boutique with a delicate soft pastel coloured window display. 

Next up something completely different, Rivoli 59, an art squat set in an unsuspecting building on 
rue de Rivoli a bustling shopping street in the heart of Paris. 

On entering the brightly painted front entrance you are greeted by the most awe inspiring staircase. 
Whilst walking up to each of the four levels there was someone was playing the abandoned piano that 
sat in the hallway. 

Each level of the building was occupied and in total there are 30 artist spaces, each one very individual 
and unique.

Rivoli 59 was an inspiring place for anybody to visit and in stark contrast to the next hidden jewel. 

L'illustre Boutique a crisp, clean and bright store. Fresh white walls show off beautiful pieces of 
illustration and artworks. The shop also stocks a fabulous range of greetings cards, stationery and unique 
jewellery pieces.

The city has many parks which are dotted along streets and spring up in front of you 
before you realise, after hopping out of one particular green haven from the heat of the 
Paris sun we came across Babel a lifestyle store on quay de Valmy on the canal de Saint-Martin.

Unusual in decor this store boasted quirky tree trunks shooting up inbetween jewellery cabinets and 
tables of metallic clutch bags. Industrial metal lamps hung spontaniously around the walls 
and from the ceiling making the space cosy.

Our favourite display? Definitely the toy soldiers facing the attack of plastic animals!

Another great display idea was the marvellous underwear box layout!

Narrow and curious, Abbey Bookshop is run by a Canadian guy called Brian Spence. Every inch of this eccentric bookshop is filled with books of all shapes and sizes. Browse around the rabbit warren of books and come across a fresh pot of coffee which is especially for customers with a spoon of maple syrup to add to your drink. The shop stocks both second-hand and new books and has a cellar crammed with tomes on politics to Jane Austen.

With full hearts and happy minds we jumped on the train home after a week in this wonderful city but not before taking a peek at the huge gold pineapple in the Printemps entrance!

C'├ętait parfait!

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