Category Archives: cafés

Paris Autumn Festival starting September 13 at “La Maison Rouge”

Beginning next week-end, on September 13, Paris Autumn Festival offers up to december 21  a selection of all kinds of modern artistics productions to be seen in Paris.

It starts at La Maison Rouge, one of the Paris foundations dedicated to modern plastic arts, located next to Paris Arsenal Harbour, built in an old factory.

It’s first exhibition on this fall shows an untitled installation by Marie Cool and Fabio Balducci :

Their work is based on repetitive gestures and videos.

In a dark room, Christian Boltanski opens for us his Archives du Coeur (Heart’s files)

Both events start on Saturday September 13 from 11 to 15, and go on up to October 5, Wednesday to Sunday 11-19, up to 21 on Thursday. During next Paris Nuit Blanche (Wakeful Night), Boltanski’s exhibition will be running all night through October 4 to October 5

Next to the Maison Rouge exhibitions rooms is a bookstore dedicated to plastic arts, and usually a nice cafe, which is closed up to October 5. But during this time, instead of having a drink, you can pay a visit to Andrea Blum‘s Birdhouse Cafe.

It’s a birds house where public is staying stuck up  the aviary, looking down at birds who move freely.

La Maison Rouge, 10 boulevard de la Bastille 75012 Paris, Metro Bastille or Quai de la Rapée, tel 33(0) 1 40 01 08 81, entrance € 6,50, €4,50 for over 65, free under 13.

Festival d’Automne de Paris, information and reservation 33(0)1 53 45 17 17 (Monfay to Friday 11 to 18, Saturday 11 to 15) and on

Linger on an old Paris square : place du Marché Sainte Catherine

Located close to place des Vosges, Hotel de Sully and Musée Carnavalet, you’ll find a most charming, simple little square, la place du Marché Sainte Catherine. Though it was built on mid eighteenth century, it looks timeless.


It is very discreet, and looks quite closed, but as you can see, it’s very popular on sunny days, and there are bars and restaurants at every corner.

There are three ways to get there : leaving place des Vosges by rue des Francs-Bourgeois, turn left on rue de Turenne and right on rue de Jarente or rue d’Ormesson.

Leaving Hotel de Sully, take a right on rue Saint-Antoine, and a right again on tiny rue Caron.

Leaving Musée Carnavalet, go down south rue de Sévigné (crossing rue des Francs-Bourgeois), and take a left on rue de Jarente or rue d’Ormesson.


If you don’t feel like eating or having a drink, just sit on one of the benches – a truly romantic thing to do with your sweetheart. And to fulfill the cliché, look up on the flowers on the mansard windows behind, on rue de Jarente :


If you feel for a drink, I would suggest le bar de Jarente, just facing the house with lovely flowers on the roof. It was once really quaint when an old lady used to run the place – we just called it “chez la vieille” – but now it has become a more swinging place :

Bar de Jarente, 5 rue de Jarente open everyday 10 AM to 4 AM, “happy hour” 17.30/20 tel 33(0)1 48 87 60 93

Paris Montagne Sainte-Geneviève 1 : up and around rue Mouffetard

The south way to climb Paris Montagne sainte-Geneviève is to go up rue Mouffetard, starting at Saint Médard square.


It was former – long ago – a working class district, and the whole area was called “la Mouff‘”. All the lower part of rue Mouffetard and its crossing little streets was an outdoor food market. It still has beautiful remains.


Facing Saint-Médard, a completely tattooed old house – a pork and poultry shop, as we can see, shows this area’s historical tradition. Nowadays, you find there “Androuet“, which is one of the best cheese stores in Paris, and a fine Italian products shop.


Going all the way up, you’ll get to place de la Contrescarpe. There you have several options.


You can sit at one of the numerous cafés around. You can go down rue du Cardinal Lemoine and pay a visit to hotel des Grandes Ecoles courtyard and garden. You can go straight ahead on rue Descartes, and and pass Pierre Alechinsky‘s poetic “street tree”.


At rue Clovis corner stands Henri IV high-school, which is one of the “grandes écoles” left in the neighborhood, and at the end of this street, you have a glimpse on place du Panthéon.


From the Contrescarpe, you can also climb higher, taking on the left rue Blainville and rue de l’Estrapade. It goes through a nice little square:


Next to it, a former coffee roasting plant


has become a town house.


At rue des Irlandais’ corner, meet a shooting soccer player by FKDL


You can also stop for a drink place de l’Estrapade at the Café de la Nouvelle Mairie


Though it is rather chilly, many people sit outdoor, under heating devices : the smoking costumers. This is part of a recent phenomena.


Since the beginning of this year, it’s forbidden to smoke in all public places. So smoking has become a significant outdoor activity. You’ll notice people smoking outside offices and stores – where large outdoors ashtrays have been set on the ground. There are more people outside cafés than inside – when outdoor is heated. And even at home, rain or snow, you’ll see people smoking on their balcony. What’s more dangerous for your health, smoking or catching a bad cold?

You can get to rue Mouffetard by metro station Monge or Censier-Daubenton.

Paris Montmartre for newcomers

If you really want to feel like a regular tourist, the easiest way to visit Montmartre is to take a 40 minutes tour on the little city train.


You will take it place Blanche, and it will get you back there, next to the Moulin Rouge which is the last of Montmartre legendary cabarets.


The other ones no longer exist except on posters.


Another way to start visiting Montmartre could be to come to light at Metro Abbesses, on the lovely place des Abbesses,


If you don’t feel like walking all the way up, go the “funiculaire” station, and wait for it to come listening to the inevitable accordionist.


For a bus or metro ticket, it will take you up to the Sacré Coeur.


But you might as well walk around.


For example, take rue des Abbesses and rue d’Orsel, up to the charming place Charles Dullin, where the théâtre de l’Atelier stands, which besides being pretty and in a nice setting also often shows good plays.


Going up rue des trois Frères, you can stop for lunch or for a drink at the Progrès. If you can get a table, you’ll notice that some of the customers are French, and even Parisians, which is not the case of all Montmartre cafés.


Now you might feel strong enough to climb up the stairs, which is the hardest but the nicest way to get uphill.


Being on top of butte Montmartre,The Sacré-Coeur church is part of Paris scenery.


This huge white ugly church was built “to expiate the crimes of the communards “, number of which died on the spot, and in memory of French soldiers killed in the war against Prussians. Though it’s edification started in 1875, it was not finished until 1914, and consecrated only in 1919, and all the way it had a warlike, revenge, anti-German purpose, and I always think of it as unpleasant, though it’s very popular. But of course, sitting on the stairs back to it, you can’t see it, but you have a view on Paris.


I prefer to walk in the little garden below where stands a statue of Chevalier de la Barre, an unfortunate nineteen years old boy who got sentenced to death and tortured in 1766 for not taking his hat off in front of a procession. Voltaire wrote about this terrible case, and had to to run away to Switzerland not to be convicted of crime. French Revolution rehabilitated Chevalier de la Barre who has become ever since a symbol for all atheist groups.


Don’t bother to visit place du Tertre, it’s impossible even to look at it, for all space is completely filled with stalls selling junks and daubs and people offering to paint your portrait. I should advise you to refuse, and go by without stopping at any café or restaurant.


But close to it are lovely little quiet streets.


A peaceful public square with its strange statue of Saint-Denis holding his chopped head in his hands.


Place Marcel Aymé, Jean Marais carved version of the author’s “Passe Muraille“(Man getting through walls) seems ready to shoot in soccer ball.


It’s closed to wealthy and secured places.


At this Avenue Junot corner, film maker Claude Lelouch has opened “Cine 13, a place where you can show or look at films or theater plays, and have a drink.


If you look closer, you’ll discover on the wall this lovely art-deco figures mingled with branches.


Go back down by rue Ravignan and place Emile Goudeau where there is nothing left of the “Bateau Lavoir” where Picasso spent evenings with Max Jacob, Apollinaire and Douanier Rousseau. It’s a pretty place, though.


If you wish to feel what this long lost time of artists life in Montmartre was like, I strongly recommend you to read Dan Franck‘s “Bohèmes“, subtitle : “Modern Art adventurers (1900-1930)”.


I don’t know whether it has been translated in English, but it’s quiet easy to read in French. It’s available in paperback “livre de poche n°30695)

And go to the Orangerie Museum to look at Utrillo‘s ideal Montmartre.

utrilloplace-du-tertrejpg.jpgPlace du Tertre 1910

utrillorue-ravignan.jpgrue Ravignan 1910

“Petit train de Montmartre”everyday 10 to 18, one departure every hour place Blanche, tour 40′, see information at :

All about Moulin Rouge, programs and reservation at :

Théâtre de l’Atelier, 1 place Charles Dullin, 75018 Paris, Métro Anvers, tel 33 (0)1 46 06 49 24, programs and reservation at :

Café restaurant “le Progrès” 7 rue des 3 frères, 75018 Paris tel 33(0)142 51 33 33 Reservation 33(0)1 42 64 07 37

More about “Ciné 13” at :

And Montmartre has its website :

Thirsty or hungry after visiting Paris Musée du Louvre?

After a few hours pacing up and down musée du Louvre, you feel exhausted, may be your feet hurt, you’re thirsty, hungry or both ?

There are several places under the pyramid or in Carousel shopping center where you can eat and quench your thirst, but none of these are to be remembered.

The best place to rest enjoying the view is café Marly, inside the Louvre palace, it is located at the end of Richelieu hallway.


It’s terrace, heated in winter, has an impressive view on Louvre and Pyramid. It will cost you between 30 or 60 euros for a meal, but you can also just have a drink.


If you prefer, you can go inside, and have tea or lunch in a cozy room.

Café Marly, cour Napoléon, palais du Louvre, 75001 Paris, metro Palais-Royal, tel 33(0)1 49 26 06 60. Open everyday 8AM to 2 AM.

Another option would be le Fumoir, facing Louvre Palace,


and next to Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois church.


Inside room is interesting, with a library in the back, and large choice of papers and magazines. You can rest and read a book if you feel like it. It serves light tasty meals, great hot chocolates and good cocktails. Happy hour from 6 PM to 8 PM, all cocktails cost 6 euros.

Le Fumoir, 6 rue Amiral Coligny 75001 Paris, metro Palais-Royal, tel 33(1) 42 92 00 24, open everyday 11 am 2 am. Virtual visit and more information on :

Paris Saint-Sulpice, Arcimboldo and le Café de la Mairie

Let’s say, for example, that you just get out Musée du Luxembourg after visiting the magnificent Arcimboldo exhibition. (I should advise you to make a reservation before noon or after 7.30 PM and avoid Wednesdays and winter vacations not to find exhibition rooms as crowded as a subway station at rush hour. But it’s definitely worth while.


It’s sunny outside, and what better path to get to Saint-Sulpice than l’allée des Séminaires, where you haven’t got a chance to meet a seminarist. It’s a quiet art deco garden along rue Bonaparte.


When you get place Saint-Sulpice, at first you might feel disappointed, for nowadays (November 2007) and likely for a few months, you won’t see much of it : a large tent covers the fountain during its restoration, and the church almost disappears under scaffoldings (north tower is being restored).

But there is still a place worthwhile visiting : at the corner of tiny but lively rue des Cannettes, Le Café de la Mairie and it’s sunny terrace are waiting for you.


The upstairs room was the setting of a long treacherous seduction scene by Fabrice Lucchini on Judith Henry in “la discrète“, a 1990 french film by Christian Vincent .

The bar is the theater of endless speeches and day dreamings, dimmed by tobacco and booth haze in Djuna Barnes master piece “Nightwood” (1937).

In 1974, October 18 at 10.30 am, French Oulipo author Georges Perec sat there with a notebook, a pen and some change, and kept watching around until October 20 , writing ” Tentative d’épuisement d’un lieu parisien”. (Attempt to be exhaustive about a Parisian place).


It’s a magic place, haunted by lovely ghosts, and it’s still a writers’ as well as a fashion addicts café.

Just sit down in the sun, rest and dream a while, have a drink and may be a fresh and nice snack.

Le Café de la Mairie, 8 place Saint-Sulpice 75006 Paris tel 33(0)143 26 67 82, open everyday 7 am to 2 am , Saturday 8 am to 2 am, Sunday 9 am to 9 pm.

Arcimboldo exhibition up to January 13, Musée du Luxembourg 19 rue de Vaugirard metro Saint-Sulpice : Monday, Friday, Saturday open 10.30 to 22, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 10.30 to 19, Sunday 9 to 19. Tel : 33(0)1 45 44 12 90.

Reservation on :

If you haven’t read Djuna Barnes’ “Nightwood”, go to your bookshop or order it on

You’ll find many books by Georges Perec translated in english, but not “Tentative d’épuisement d’un lieu parisien” published in french by Christian Bourgeois.

Paris street art in “la Butte aux Cailles”

Besides graph and tags directly inspired from USA, smaller figurative stencilled images show up on Paris walls. Their authors have each a specific style, some picture always the same figure. They are outlaw and wiped off, but reappear on other places.


These days, Paris street artists have settled down in The Butte-aux-Cailles neighborhood. Close to the noisy Place d’Italie, this delightful small area looks like a provincial village. Of course, factories have closed long ago, and it’s no longer a working class district, but it has kept some memory of these times, and it’s still informal.


Place de la Commune de Paris, I spot one of FKDL dancers.


And a few meters down rue de la Butte aux Cailles, JEF AEROSOL’s drummer and his motto : “music makes walls softer “.


Passage Barrault, time seems to have stopped a hundred years ago.



Next to FKDL dancer, a small torn out poster “Misstic president” premonitory claims : “in what poor state am I?”


I have enjoyed meeting her sexy wild figure with it’s bitter sweet thoughts on other Paris walls for twenty years. Now at last she is quite famous, and besides street art she has made performances, had gallery exhibitions, and a beautiful book of photos of her work has been published.



“Time is a serial liar”

On the opposite corner of des 5 diamants and Jonas streets, at lunch time, chez Gladines is a local institution, inexpensive but often overcrowded . On the afternoon it is a café that you may visit if you feel curious, tired or thirsty.



Misstic‘s witticism is hard to translate because it always plays on words’ sound and spelling. (here : “No ideals, just high ideas.”)


“What I haven’t been given, I take it ”

Going down rue des 5 diamants, we meet another JEF AEROSOL’s musician .


This was a glimpse of Buttes aux Cailles area. Before leaving it, you might want to take a swim in it’s art deco swimming pool, which has an outdoor pool opened in summer, and the sweetest water of all parisian pools. Neighborhood people come and fill bottles at the fountain nearby.


And if it is lunch or dinner time, to stay in the local mood the place to stop would be “le temps des cerises”, a restaurant named after a famous nostalgic song of the Commune de Paris time. The place claims to be a “cooperative worker’s society”and serves tasty traditional French cooking.


Le Temps des Cerises, 20 rue de la Butte aux Cailles 75013 Paris, tel 33(0)1 45 89 69 48, Metro : Place d’Italie. Opened Monday to Saturday, lunch 11.45 to 14.15, dinner 19.30 to 23.45.

chez Gladines, 30 rue des 5 diamants, 75013 Paris, tel : 33(o)1 45 80 70 10. Metro Corvisart.

Piscine de la Butte aux Cailles (swimming pool) 5 place Paul Verlaine 75013 Paris, tel 33(0)1 45 89 60 05 Metro Place d’Italie.

To know all about Misstic and her work :

More about FKDL :

More about JEF AEROSOL : ttp://

“fetish” David Lynch in the Paris Galerie Véro -Dodat

The Vero-Dodat Galerie is named after its builders( Mr Vero was Montesquieu’s pork butcher, and Mr Dodat a businessman). Glass roof covered passages are typical of Paris XIXth century architecture. They are ancestors of our malls, much smaller and prettier.


This one is located in the old Paris center, near the Louvre. At the corner of rue du Bouloy, le Café de l’Epoque hasn’t change much since Gérard de Nerval used to hang around.


At the opposite entrance, on rue Croix des Petits-Champs, you will find shoemaker Christian Louboutin‘s store.


The Galerie du Passage, in the middle of this timeless and luxurious place, fits perfectly for the “fetish” exhibition : fancy and unwearable shoes designed by Christian Louboutin for the occasion and photos of women and shoes made by David Lynch.


Dazzling, as you see.


Fetichism has never been as cinematographic, elegant and humorous.

All framed photos and shoes are sold at the gallery, for wealthy amateurs only. Others can afford the 20 euros black and red catalog. Free entrance Tuesday to Saturday, 11 to 19, up to November 3.

Also see :

Galerie Véro-Dodat, between rue du Bouloy and rue Croix des Petits Champs Métro Louvre .

Sunday Morning : Aligre Market

Food markets are part of Parisian way of life, there are at least 69 outdoor and 13 indoor markets, and they’re all very popular. Sunday morning’s market is a social institution, and one the most famous is” le marché d’Aligre“, located in east center (between Bastille and Gare de Lyon). It happens to be my market.


The outdoor market opens every morning except on Mondays, but there are only a few stalls in the beginning of the week, so it’s better to visit it on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays, and it gets crowded around 11 am up till closing time (13.30).

Customers lining up around the best fruits and vegetable stalls meet friends, also talk to people they don’t know (and not only to their cell phone), and joke with the stall holders.


On the Aligre square stands a covered market, le marché Beauvau-Saint Antoine, a bit more expensive, but opening in the afternoon also, and offering many other products, like cheese, fish, meat, poultry, delicatessen, Italian food, selected olive oils and Caribbean dishes.


A lot of film and television people live nearby and make the place a bit trendy, but Aligre used to be a working class district, and the market still has an informal and independent spirit. There is an associative FM radio channel, Radio Aligre (93.1 on FM band) and an active district association, “la commune libre d’Aligre” (Aligre free community).

At the end of Sunday morning Market, it’s too late to cook lunch, and there are plenty tempting cafés around to sit and rest.

Another Aligre Sunday morning institution is to sip a glass of wine and taste oysters at the Baron Rouge. If you don’t go for oysters you can feed on a plate of “charcuterie” or cheese. The place is always crowded, and people drink and eat on the sidewalk.


On the opposite corner, you will find the Penty, where you can sit and taste a delicious and burning oriental mint tea, unless you rather go for the traditional “pastis”.


Marché d’Aligre : Place et rue d’Aligre 75012 Paris (Métro Ledru-Rollin) everyday except monday : 9 am to 13, 13.30 on week-ends. Beauvau- Saint Antoine covered market : place d’Aligre, same hours plus afternoon 16.30 to 19.30.

Le Baron Rouge: 1 rue Théophile Roussel (almost at place d’Aligre corner )

Le Penty : rue Emilio Castelar / place d’Aligre

For more informations :

Radio Aligre schedule and programs :

district association activities :