Tour de France: Paris, 1ère – Prête-moi-Paris

{ed. note: does anyone else see the Eiffel Tower in this coffee?}

The 1st arrondisement (75001) is the central hub to Paris, and is the start of the nautilus shell that wraps around to create the 20 different districts. Home to the more upscale Louvre, Tuillerie Gardens, Palais Royale Gardens (one of my favorites lately), concept shop Colette, and Angelina’s famous hot chocolate, it also contrast with the Chatelet and Les Halles (currently under a major renovation) where masses of people enter the city through the RER commuter lines. Today’s edition of the ‘Tour de France‘ with Melissa Ladd of Prête-Moi Paris tours us around the 1st. Melissa’s blog looks at everything from food to fashion and what’s happening in Paris, and today she shows us around the neighborhood she visits every day for work.
From Melissa:
The Saint Opportune / Châtelet quarter is full of EVERY kind of people : tourists, pickpockets, hoodlums, mall rats from the Les Halles area, chic ladies who live on the Rue Sainte Honoré, shop keepers, business people who work in the offices on Rue de Rivoli, artists, theater goers, people in transit… it is the central hub of Paris, with the beating heart of the Châtelet les Halles metro and RER station. There is so much shopping in that area, the kind that draws a younger crowd like H&M and Zara.

What I like about this area is how it modernizes in the crowds and people it attracts yet holds steadfast to the past with it’s older architecture and streets, like the Tour Saint Jaques that was finally restored and uncovered from ten years of scaffolding, like the rue de la Ferronnerie where people place flowers every year on the anniversary of the death of king Henry the 4th, who was assassinated on May 14th 1610, or the old cobble stone Place Sainte Opportune and the several hundred year old buildings that circle it. Modern life and old Paris meet here in this central spot and they coexist happily in a charming chaotic way that I like.

Most people that have come to Paris have passed through this quarter… whether it’s under ground in the metro station or above ground. And from this place, you can get to almost anywhere in the city in about 30 minutes or less. It’s the heart of Paris!

{Entrance to artist squat at 59 rue de Rivoli – free and open to the public when the door is open [ed. note: don't forget to look up to see what crazy installation is covering the façade today; right: work on the street by one of the artists, seen throughout the city}
{Art nouveau metro entrances at Chatelet}
{Saint Opportune / Chatelet}
{a "memorable" shop window with dead rats in Chatelet [ed. note: always entertaining to show visitors in town!]; right: gerbils in pet shop along Quai de la Megisserie}

{Practice flyover in anticipation of Bastille Day}


Worth checking out in the 1st:

  • The gardens below the Tour Saint Jaques for chilling out.
  • Théatre de Châtelet
  • The rotating createurs store on rue Sainte Opportune for fun interesting fashion that’s not made in china.
  • The bagel place Fast, at Place Sainte Opportune for a good bagel sandwich or wrap that reminds me of home… (beware of the teenage girl/boy gang of pickpockets that hang out there… it’s the meeting spot).
  • Beho at 8 Place Sainte Opportune for it’s awesome happy hour prices. The restaurant/café/bar on the corner of rue des Halles and rue des Bourdonnais
  • Carpe Diem is kitch-chic with their décor, and great chill out attitude and their good food that doesn’t cost a fortune.

Thanks, Melissa!
Guest post by Prête-Moi Paris.
@PreteMoiParis on Twitter

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