In the beginning the 10th arrondissement wasn’t even part of Paris proper. Our little corner of the world wasn’t fit for les Parisiennes, so much so that there were actual walls built to surround the better parts of the burgeoning City of Light. The beautiful, gigantic archways that still stand, were once used as gateways through which Kings would enter. Now they are mostly used as a convenient meeting spot for the thousand or so city pigeons that congregate all day, every day and smell like poop.
But the arches, both then and now, mark the point where a dreamy, picture postcard Paris crosses over into our melting pot of Paris, with a heavy dose of Middle Eastern and Indian influence that everyone affectionately refers to as “Little Turkey.” And, while many a tour guide will channel The Lion King and tell you, “That’s beyond our borders…you must never go there,” do not be afraid. We’re all okay here.
It’s not necessarily what we thought we were getting when we rented our apartment from the confines of the good old US of A. Our dreams of classic Parisian architecture – white washed stone buildings, window boxes spilling over with brightly colored flowers and streets dotted with quintessential corner patisseries, were quickly replaced with kebab à emporter stands and the always eccentric Boulevard de Strasbourg. It’s an arrondissement few tourists will ever make it to and if they do, they’ve either scored a great deal on accommodations for their stay and are wondering what they’ve gotten themselves into or they’re lost (yes, I will help you get back to the ‘real Paris.’) Except, this is the real Paris. And it’s pretty great.
The 10th is a little rough around the edges for sure and at times more closely resembles Brooklyn circa the late 1990′s, but in exchange, and I get this from a very reliable source who shall remain nameless, you can wear sweatpants out of the house and blend. right. in. Boom. Whoever says that’s not an integral factor in determining living location is flat out lying, plain and simple.
The 10th covers a huge crop of land, from the Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle all the way to Canal St. Martin, so every couple blocks really does have its’ own identity. That said, our little slice of Parisian heaven has a lot going for it across the board. We have 2 train stations, 3 central metro lines, no less than 4 solid grocery stores, a Lidl (never, ever underestimate the importance of a Lidl, and no, it’s not just another grocery store) and, I’m just going to come right out with it (like ripping off a band aid, the quicker, the better): we have the best croissant in Paris. There, I said it. Phew. And it comes from a little place called Juhlès on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis. When they bring their A-game, and I mean really pull out all the stops, they produce the most delicious, most flaky, most buttery, most awesome croissant of dreams and unicorns. Possibly also rainbows.
So, add to that the fact that you’re within walking distance of the center of Paris without center of Paris prices and you’ve got some pretty great reasons to grab a welcome-to-your-new-neighborhood kebab. The 10th is a stone’s throw from Rue Montorgueil, beautiful covered passageways (if you’re tired of the tasty Indian food in Passage Brady that is, which I can’t imagine to be true), the largest movie theater in Europe and what many are calling the best bakery in the city. There’s so much going on and so many people are relocating to the 10th that many of the best new bars, restaurants and cafes are popping up this side of the Seine (their words (here too), not mine). And you know what all that means – hipsters. Lots and lots of hipsters.
But don’t let all that ironic facial hair fool you, the 10th arrondissement is as Parisienne as it gets.