Paris with Ave part 1 // 2ième arrondissement

Welcome to the newest tap on my blog- Paris. 
Think of this as Gossip Girl except the Paris version. I’m Blair, and the mysterious blogger Gossip Girl is following me around reporting about all of the hip places I’m going as a parisian elite. (lol I wish) The scandals, the drama, the fashion and the brutal truth included!! xoxo 

I was thinking of making this just a general travel tab, but then I realized that Paris deserves it’s own section of my blog because well, it’s my home and favourite city, and I have a lot of insight into the coolest places. My goal is to eventually give every arrondissement (french for district) a blog post, but I’d need some more time to explore some arrondissements that I didn’t spend as much time in. So we’re starting off with one of my favourite places in the whole city, the 2nd arrondissement. From Sentier to Strasbourg Saint Denis, Opera and Grands Boulevards- I spent many wandering days and late night outs in the 2nd. My best friend Kate worked at a veggie burger place in Sentier, so I would spend a lot of mornings in the area passing through bookshops and lush fabric stores, then go meet her for lunch when she was off her shift. I wrote an interview for @triplemoontravels in the Paul on Rue Montorgueil, found a crepe place selling nutella crepes for 4 euros at 4am with another one of my best friends Leonie just off of Boulevard Montmartre, had my first night out in Paris back in September at an Irish pub there, and went to many workout classes thanks to @classpass , all in the second district. 
I’m going to sort this into four sections of the second- Sentier, Strasbourg Saint Denis, Opera and Grands Boulevards. Some I’ll have more to say about then others, but overall it should give you a pretty good feel for the area. 

My general description for the second is: 
The textile quartier. Lots of hidden gems, really an underrated area since it’s nestled between the infamous 1st arrondissement and Le Marais in the fourth. However, not one to miss if you want a non-touristy approach to the city. Everything is real in the second- from the bakeries to the artisan shops to the cobblestone passageways. Very starving artist chic. 

I could scroll around this area all day to simply admire the beautiful fabric shops and artisan stores. During the Christmas season I also recommend strolling down Rue Montorgueil for a dazzling display of lights and street vendors, making great stops for finding unique Christmas gifts. There’s also a stunning restaurant called Au Rocher de Cancale on the same street. I’m going to be talking about my favourite food and shopping destinations in this area.

Boneshaker was founded for me by my mom who told me Martha Stewart had been talking about it, and seeing as I consider my mom to be a Marthat Stewart level cook, I had to check it out. I’ve been several times now, all with different friends, so I’ve tried various flavours. My favourite so far is the matcha, and bonus- most of them are vegan!!! This is the only donut shop I’ve heard of in Paris, as with all the boulangeries flaunting baguettes and assorted patisseries, donuts are not a traditional french sweet treat. Nonetheless, it did not disappoint and I would consider them to be some of the best donuts I’ve ever had. Top three things about Bone-shaker: they’re always fresh, the workers are always nice, and it’s an ideal location to grab a donut and espresso then sit down for some people watching. 

This is actually the burger place Kate worked at, and I couldn’t think of a better place to suit her environmentally conscious behaviour. Like the name states, all the packaging used is recyclable or compostable, and all the burgers have a vegetarian option. Not to mention they’re really, really good. Best fries and milkshakes too. The price is also very reasonable compared to the often inflated Paris food prices. I’d suggest going on a weekend or a bit after lunch time, as during the week this place fills up with people taking their lunch breaks here before heading back to work. 

Another cool and trendy vegan place with the chillest atmosphere. I shared a vegan hot dog here with Kate once and it was to die for. A necessary stop. The desserts are also something else- we had a piece of blueberry cheesecake topped with coconut and honey. The coffee is really nice and the prices are very affordable, they don’t raise them because of the vegan title which is so nice to see. The interior of the place is also really cute, filled with succulents and vivid colours. 

Founded by a true Parisian queen Jeanne Damas, Rouje is a boutique with an attached restaurant. Their clothes are effortlessly chic and sport the ultimate cool-girl parisian vibe. I haven’t had a chance to eat at the cafe yet, but it has been on my bucket list for awhile and has excellent reviews. An easy place to kill an hour trying on fab clothes in the silky curtained change rooms and playing with makeup that is a haven for all shades of pink and like the name, red. Jeanne also has a book that focuses on women who live in different parts of Paris, and I’ve been meaning to pick up a copy. They sell it at Rouje as well. 

If you’re trying to find the perfect designer thrift shop in Paris, look no further, I’ve got you covered. Bobby’s is a consignment shop that sells designer pieces, and is also a depot where you can sell your pieces to them. I’ve found some great finds here, from a Max Mara blazer to And Other Stories leather gloves. I’ve never been disappointed with Bobby’s. While it might seem on the higher price range for thrifting, the store has amazing deals when you consider the high fashion brands that are being sold, from Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and more. The store itself is also adorned with vintage posters, signs and accessories, adding to the retro atmosphere of the shop. 

Just down the street from Rouje, there is a cult followed brand store called And Other Stories. I went to my first And Other Stories in London when I was seventeen, and since then I’ve been in love with the brand's traditional pieces and boho vibes. And Other Stories is basically really good quality basic pieces that will last you a lifetime, and I find it very similar to the Canadian brand Aritzia which I have adored since I was a pre-teen. You can find anything you’re looking for here but probably even nicer than you imagined, or on the contrary, you can find things you didn’t think you needed until you saw them, which makes it easy to drop lots of cash here. 

Unlike Bobby’s- Emmaus is your thrift store that is a real thrift store, where people drop of their used items for free, like a Value Village or Salvation Army-esque place. Finding thrift like this is difficult and requires patience in Paris, since most of the thrift is catered towards people looking for used designer items. However, if you’re willing to do a bit more digging for great deals, Emmaus is the perfect place. It’s located just down the street from the Sentier area on Rue Leopold Bellan. I found a copy of Romeo and Juliet in French with the original movie poster of Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting on it, and a cute mini tote bag with Mickey Mouse on the front for hauling books around or for my veggies at the Farmer’s market, both for a euro. 

Most of my outings in this area were to workout, so I have less to say about the food and shopping scene. I am going to tell you about a cool cocktail bar though, which is hard to find for a reason. Generally, I would suggest being cautious in this area at night-time and to bring a friend with you as it is a little dodgy sometimes. However during the day it is a nice place to take a stroll due to the winding streets and big walkways. There is also a giant arch just when you exit the Strasbourg Saint-Denis metro stop, making for a cool photo op. 

Hands down one of the best workout places in Paris. Kate and I took several boxing classes here, I went to some early 7:15 am pilates and core classes, and took a dance fusion class here once. The studio itself is a loft apartment that has been converted into a fitness center with each room having a different focus, from boxing, pilates, yoga and more. There’s also a few rooms for lounging in that have scattered magazines and comfy sofas, plus a little cafe set-up with juices and coffee. Near the check-in they sell local brands of clothes, products, and greeting cards. AND THE CHANGEROOMS. Wow. The showers are so nice and they sell this brand called Hello Beauty, (which I discovered there) they have lotions, body wash, makeup remover- you name it, all from that brand free to use in the change-rooms. Gym and spa treatment all in one? Sounds good to me. 

I only got the chance to go to this spin studio once, as the times were hard to fit into my schedule, but the time I did make it was awesome. The place has a super friendly atmosphere and the instructors are very encouraging and clearly love teaching the classes. The space is in the basement of a building, so it has a very cool vibe with neon signs everywhere and sleek black paint. The time I went was also my first time at spin, and being a rookie the guy beside me graciously helped me adjust my seat and get set up properly. The only thing I would note is that the class is all in French, so if you don’t have an advanced level of the language it might be a bit hard to follow what the instructor is saying. However, I’m sure there’s english classes offered, and I wouldn’t let the language barrier prevent you from going. It might be a nice opportunity to improve your French! 

girls duh!! 

Probably one of the coolest speakeasies in Paris, with a lowkey hidden location. (I’ll give you a hint: fortnite posters.) The cocktails are pricey but just a warning- most speakeasies in Paris are expensive because it’s the whole ~artisanal~ drink vibe. However, you’ll find a reason to justify spending 12 euros on a drink when you read the menu. This is just adulting right?!! If you want a place with an exclusive vibe, friendly servers and a great drink menu, I would not miss le Syndicat. 

While technically the Opera is in the ninth arrondissement and not the second, I’m still including it in my second arrondissement round-up because it sits just on the line of the second and the ninth. Looking at it from one end of place de l’opera you’re in the second, and then if you cross the street to look at it closer you transition into the ninth. For this reason I’m putting it here because it’s kind of in both. The opera is one of my favourite landmarks in Paris, and that is being said without even seeing the inside yet. I was meant to go to a ballet here, however that was back in December when the strikes were beginning and they actually cancelled the show due to the dancers not being able to make it to the opera with all the riots. So, when I go back to Paris you bet I’m going to book tickets asap. I like to think of Opera Garnier as Paris’s version of the Met steps in New York. On the weekdays flocks of lycée students perch on the steps eating a sandwich and chatting avec leurs copains. If you go through the door on the right it leads you to a magnificent gift shop filled with ballet treasures like French capezio and bloch magazines, programs for the shows, and cd’s of the soundtracks. From the gift shop you can glimpse a tiny bit of the infamous glistening opera chandeliers. My favourite part of the structure is the two gold angels that sit on the corners of the building just under the green scaffolding. Green and gold are a classic pairing and these impressive massive angels can be seen from many perches throughout the city. As a dancer, I probably appreciate this structure more than the average person would, however it is still a must-see spot in Paris. 

If you’re looking for a pup crawl type of night out, I would suggest Grands Boulevards. I’ve had the best experience at an Irish pub called O’Sullivans on Grands Boulevards, which is actually where I had my first ever Paris night out with 3 other Canadians. Basically, it’s just a fun area where you’re certain to meet people and find a crepe stand open at 3am, which is the real definition of a successful night-out in Paris.
With that, I hope you enjoyed my first Paris round up and are staying safe and healthy. Take care!!

O'Sullivans pub



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