Between November and December 2020, France entered the second wave of lockdown. Restaurants have to close and the residents have to stay within a 1km radius from their houses. However, you can still get take-away!
As a Paris Spotter I thought it would be nice to put together this list of my favorite places around my neighborhood Faidherbe – Chaligny to break the routine.
10 am: Egg&Bacon Roll at Les Copains de Faubourg
What draws me in there, is the fine quality of the ‘egg and bacon’ roll. Served on sourdough bread, the egg is perfectly poached, serving you a perfectly rendered golden liquified yolk. Tip: I’ll definitely advise you to get a napkin!
This place has its local mascot (‘mascot’ is the French word for ‘pet’) – a tender beast of an English bulldog breed, weighing a good 25kg. The owner and baker occasionally pops-out to check on the dog’s whereabouts; they usually find him flailing flat-out on the ground just outside blocking the doorway access. This dog is pretty much the icon of the neighborhood: at closing-time, you can see a spray-painted artistic mural of the said dog. It’s a joy to see. Check out a snapshot of the mural on the main spot.
1 pm: Fresh Homemade Soup at Maison POS
Paris’s 11th district is famous for its artisan-sized retailers and Maison POS is one of them.
This tiny business is a fruit & veg seller, focused on organic fresh produce, but also carries an array of conserved foodstuffs for all budgets. Here you can discover tastes from local suppliers – check the interior photo on the spot – and much more.
They offer a delightful ‘formule midi’ (French for Meal Deal) for only 5€. The deal gets you a pot of fresh soup, cooked up daily in the enormous Dutch oven, plus an empanada, either spicy sausage, cheese or there’s a veggie choice. It even includes a dessert, composed of a piece of fruit of choice (my favorite being banana, apple or pear), and a yogurt as well, of which I go for ‘le riz au lait’ (rice pudding) variety. It’s such a great find!
4 pm: Cookies and Puppies at La Kabane café
The main attraction here it’s the proprietor’s dog at La Kabane cafe that welcomes you with all paws. It almost looks like he’s luring you in -and you won’t regret falling for it.
By contrast to the cake shop dog at Les Copains du Faubourg which prefers to get comfortable on the doorstep in front of you, this coffee shop one here is really attentive! And on your arrival, s/he’ll quietly just hang-out with you while you wait outside for your take-away order. What’s funny is the color of the dog’s fur, which appears to be in tune with the cookies baked in Le Kabane – verify for yourself on the photo of the main spot. The ‘parfum’ recipes of citron and coconut, triple chocolate and granola could equally describe our adorable furry friend’s look.
Another neighborhood hangout I’m usually found in, either side of lockdown, is cafe Nomade.
8 pm: chez Antoine
Come here to taste some delicious dough. It’s so perfectly proved, moist but sturdy enough to be the perfect on-the-go eating experience. Which is great as I can’t resist and often eat it before getting home.
They offer also dried hams and fresh herbs and a mean selection of savoury pastries including empanadas. Hard to choose between Chez Antoine and Maison POS who deserves the empanada crown.
Welcomed at the counter, you tell them your order and they’ll call you when it’s ready – nothing new there then! Then when your fresh-baked pizza is ready they call your name. And since lockdown, they now know it’s ‘Paul, in for his Sicilienne!’. I will change my order occasionally, but at Chez Antoine it’s usually a pizza Sicilienne, which I really recommend you try.
Staying local has, at least for me, its psychological benefits – like, being recognized in a neighbourhood feels good, even if just for ordering pizza.
Any time: Refugee BD
And then there’s always a need for reading matter, of which there’s a local comic book supplier called Refuge BD. BD means “bande dessinée”, French for ‘comic’ or ‘graphic novel’.
Comic or graphic novel? I watched my favorite comic book wife-husband couple Aline Kominsky and Robert Crumb give an interview recently and they label their work as ‘comics’.
Whichever your bent, a new release I just got is the newest, volume 5, of Raid Sattouf’s biography L’arab du futur. It charts in pictorial dialogue his childhood living between Lebanon, Syria, and France. Picking this up rendered me a happy chappie (check the blog pic).
They released it on the first Thursday of November 2020, and this counts then as my non-edible take-away.
Sidenote: Thankfully, France has embraced the whole ‘click and collect’ approach for locals to easily support the local businesses. And another great asset to my neighborhood also doing click and collect is record shop Music Avenue.
The golden 1km rule: this rule applies to click and collect as well. The shop of your choice needs to be within a 1km radius of your home. Should the police stop-and-zap your barcode, and see and see you’re outside the boundary, you risk a €150 fine.