Once only known to shoppers in the market for professional photography equipment or motorcycle accessories, the grand boulevard stretching from the Bastille monument towards Place de la Republique has been reborn as hub for fashionistas and foodies. Dotted with upscale chain stores, independent boutiques and gourmet eateries, the Boulevards Beaumarchais and Filles-du-Calvaire abut two of Paris’s most vibrant shopping districts: the chic, artsy Marais and the hipster enclave around Oberkampf. The strip’s best-known retailer, the brilliant concept store Merci (which opened on Boulevard Beaumarchais in 2009 and still provides one of the best shopping experiences in Paris) is now surrounded by new crop cutting-edge boutiques like Maison Kitsuné, Leon & Harper and Soeur and stylish cafes Maison Plisson, Fragments and Folks and Sparrows. Read on for Indagare’s intel on where to shop and eat in this up-and-coming neighborhood.
The French label’s fourth boutique (pictured above) in Paris is also its largest. Sporty and chic prêt-à-porter fashions are displayed in the bi-level space whose California-cool interior décor was inspired by David Hockney’s paintings. Café Kitsuné, located on the lower level, serves health-conscious fare like juices and gluten-free pastries—perfect for a mid-shopping pause gourmand.
Leon & Harper Founded in 2011, this Parisian label is known for its flattering women’s wear. Flirty, but never frilly or fussy, Leon & Harper is a go-to source for trendy accessories like hats, scarves and bags, as well as a good bet for staples like sweaters and jeans.
Soeur Created by two sisters (one a former designer for Bonpoint and cofounder of the fabulous children’s store Bonton), Soeur specializes in relaxed fashions for young women. Youthful Parisians flock to this sweet boutique for sandals, sweaters, jeans, dresses, hand bags designed specifically for stylish teens.
Maison Plisson Often referred to as the “Dean & Deluca of Paris,” this modern epicérie fine opened in 2015 to much fanfare. Selling fresh organic produce and high-quality delicacies sourced from top-tier purveyors, Maison Plisson prides itself on a wide array of French products. More than 80% of the goods for sale are made in France, which makes this an ideal place to stock up on comestible souvenirs from honey to champagne. Plisson’s onsite restaurant, whose canopied terrace overlooks the Boulevard Beaumarchais, is a comfortable place for breakfast, lunch or a snack.)
Tucked behind an unassuming black façade, this sleek coffee counter serves some of the neighborhood’s best crèmes, espressos, and filtered coffee as well as a small selection of sweet and savory snacks. Re-caffinate at one of the two-top tables—where you are likely to rub shoulders with regulars enjoying a pause café and international students tapping away on their laptops—or take your cup to-go and head over to Place des Vosges, a leafy oasis just a few minutes away.
Folks and Sparrows This concept-café—a hybrid of a trendy Brooklyn coffee bar and a country general store—was an immediate hit with the hipsters of Paris’s uber-cool 11th arrondissement. The owner, a thickly bearded Parisian who spent ten years in Brooklyn and Woodstock, created a cozy faux-rustic alternative to the neighborhood’s crowded corner cafés. In addition to tasty sandwiches—one of the best jambon beurres in town and decent bagels (to stay or to go)—foodies will enjoy the eclectic assortment of imported specialties for sale, from Icelandic chocolate to BBQ sauce from Kansas City.
To learn about the latest happenings on the Parisian art scene, read Paris: Fall 2015 Art Exhibitions
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