Our RUN&FELL Tour Guide series continues with a trip to Paris. Forget the clichéd hotspots though, the connations of romance, and don't even think about mentioning Disney. The Eiffel Tower doesn't even feature on our list (actually though if you've not been before, do go up the Eiffel Tower, it's well worth a trip, and you simply can't not). This blog post is dedicated to the more authentic experience of Paris, exploring the City like a local. Plus, as always, we've sought out an array of environmentally-friendly places to visit.
A glass viewing platform juts out into the middle of the atrium at Galeries Lafayette
1. Get High at Galeries Lafayette
There's something about department stores isn't there? The potent aromas from the perfume section flood your nostrils on arrival. Row after row of clothes rails. Those memories of being dragged round after your mum whilst she tries on endless items. And there's always the smell of coffee drifting across from an in-store cafe. They're predictable and yet somehow quite charming. Well Galeries Lafayette has some less predictable features, which distinguish it from your mediocre local department store.
A far cry from the average Debenhams, Galeries Lafayette boasts a majestic Art Nouveau atrium, with an ornate glass domed roof. Each floor converges around this central space. A recent addition, and quite a contrast from the antique, maximalist Art Nouveau decor, is a modern glass viewing platform which juts out across the space, 16 metres above the void (accessible from the 3rd floor). It gets you up close and personal with the opulent design of the dome and the arches, and allows you to look down from this spectacular height, offering alternative views of the store, but its definitely not for the faint-hearted. I mean, it's made of glass, man.
If the thrill-seeker in you fancies getting even higher up, hop on the escalators up to the 7th floor. On this top floor, you can access the Galeries Lafayette roof terrace, boasting panoramic views across the city. Feast your eyes on the entire city, spotting famous landmarks amid all those characteristic grey rooftops. This is Paris, baby. What a sight.
Online: | https://www.galerieslafayette.com | Location: | 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, France |
Colourful Unisex Streetwear Store Agogogang
2. Shop at Agogogang
From the grand old department store, to the edgy independent boutique. Agogogang opened in November and was started by three friends. This colourful shop (the facade is pink, you can't miss it) stocks bright unisex clothing, influenced by music and dance. Inside, the rails are laid out by colour; an orange rail here, and blue rail over there. The changing rooms are shrouded with iridescent, holographic curtains. And in the back, theres a studio where the guys come up with their own designs. As well as stocking local Parisian labels, the shop carries Korean and Japanese brands as well as some global big names such as Obey and Huf. Every Thursday the store hosts events with DJs or acoustic acts, so if you're in town, be sure to check out what's on.
Online: | https://agogogang.fr | Location: | 6 Rue du Trésor, 75004 Paris, France |
Inside the re-purposed railway station now home to La Recyclerie
3. Brunch at La Recyclerie
A former railways station, this building has become an environmentally-friendly project encompassing food, farming (they serve what they grow on site), events and repairs.
The stretch of green space either side of the disused train tracks is now an urban farm, comprising an edible forest, two composting systems, an indoor vegetable jungle, sixteen hens and two ducks, and four bee hives on the roof. Pretty incredible.
Inside is a bustling kitchen and dining space. It's very popular, so the mis-matched vintage chairs and tables are all pushed together to accommodate everyone. It's a very communal vibe. A bit like school dinners, you go and collect your meal from the kitchen serving hatch, and clear your plates yourself afterwards. We ordered the brunch. It's a set meal, basically whatever they decide to serve that day is what you get. I must admit the hibiscus juice was a bridge too far for my tastebuds (you can also order beer and wine from the bar, fear not) but the food was good and there are baskets of fresh bread you can help yourself to.
There's also a studio where broken items can be brought to be repaired, and the space is often used for pop-up events, markets for independent designers or clothes swaps, and there's even an open-air cinema on the train tracks.
Online: | http://www.larecyclerie.com | Location: | 83, Boulevard Ornano, 75018 Paris, France |
Some eco-friendly provisions at Less Is More
4. Less Is More
So Canal Saint-Martin is pretty hip. Expect colourful buildings, epic street art, and people hanging out along the canal, chatting away in the sun. The streets in this arrondissement are lined with independent boutiques and cafes. We stumbled across Less Is More and were glad we did!
The lifestyle store sells eco-friendly clothing, homewares, books, and cosmetics along with some vintage items. Many products on offer are handmade, mostly without packaging, whilst makers and brands are chosen for the quality of their products and their values.
Online: | https://www.lessismoreeshop.com | Location: | 22 Rue des Vinaigriers, 75010, Paris, France |
Ambient rooftop scenes at Le Perchoir
5. Drinks at Le Perchoir
Friday night in Paris, and a couple of people loiter outside an open door to a rather nondescript office building. We knew we'd found Le Perchoir (or Leper Choir as one friend mistakenly read its instagram handle... lol).
Though the door and up the stairs and this bland industrial building shows off its personality. The rooftop has been transformed by the Le Perchoir crew into an insanely hip hangout. In winter mode this nightlife venue is partly covered with tarps, propped up with wooden struts, but much of the terrace still open. Grab your drinks inside the tent and then wander out for nighttime views across the city. This 7th-floor setting, with its grapevines, palms, cushions, and ambient lighting is the perfect spot to sip a little something and admire the Sacré-Cœur all lit up at night. The music is expertly curated, the atmosphere is very laid back, and the vibe attracts a young, creative clientele.
Online: | https://leperchoir.tv/en/ | Location: | 14 Rue du Crespin du Gast, 75011, Paris, France |
6. Patisserie Dupain
You can't visit Paris without partaking of a little pâtisserie. This artisanal bakery uses Organic flour and seasonal fruits natural ingredients. All the pastries are made freshly on site each day without dyes or preservatives.
I had an apple tart. It was like heaven, I'm not even joking.
Online: | https://www.dupain.paris | Location: | 20 Boulevard de Filles du Calvaire, 75011, Paris, France |