While Paris’s Haut Marais continues to evolve into one of the city’s most fashionable districts, the hip factor is not limited to the third arrondissement. Continue north, past Place de la République into the 10th to discover a quarter that has in recent years created an identity all of its own.
When I moved to Paris in 2009, Rue du Château-d’Eau held very few secrets outside of a covered market overflowing with fresh seasonal produce. Marché Saint-Martin, dating back to 1880, was where locals would meet and mingle with the friendly cheesemonger, new wines were tasted and recipes exchanged. It was during frequent trips to my handbag manufacturer’s atelier on the nearby Rue Taylor that I observed this neighbourhood transform into a fashion and design hub.
As Haut Marais expanded northward, neighbouring Château d'Eau experienced its own revival, attracting business owners in search of lower rents and larger spaces.
Here are my top picks in this stylish enclave.
Where to shop
Founded by mother Genevieve and daughter Nina, Maison Lévy opened its doors at 20 Rue Taylor in 2013, seven years after its conception. This dreamy boutique transforms original paintings into custom fabrics, cushions and wallpaper, all manufactured in France. Of the five to 10 new prints a year, many are inspired by the works of painter Haby Bonomo, Nina’s late father. The latest addition to their 120 prints are custom paint colours.
La Trésorerie set up shop on Rue du Chateau-d’Eau in 2014, bringing with it a unique collection of ecological homewares from both Europe and Asia. This address, including a sweet and savoury café, recently expanded to a second showroom across the street which displays a selection of furniture and lighting in line with its minimalist design aesthetic.
Newcomer concept shop-slash-café O/HP/E is not to be missed. Standing for objets (objects), homemade patisserie and épicerie, this passion project came to life in early 2017, helmed by friends Rose and Anne-Sophie – one with an affinity for artisanal design and the other a natural-born baker. Where better to stop for café crème with a slice of homemade banana bread or matcha cake, buy a ceramic tea set and taste locally produced honey? It also just started serving lunch.
For home decor with international flair, head to Pompon Bazar. With a handpicked and handcrafted selection of homewares, including wool carpets from Morocco, one-of-a-kind lamps from Poland and wicker baskets from Ghana, it has no shortage of inspiration from worldly destinations. The bouquets of dried flowers alone are swoon-worthy.
Another name in artisanal accessories, this time rooted in Assam, India, is Jamini. Founder Usha Bora combines her Indian heritage with her adopted city to create hand-embroidered pillowcases, block printed scarves and notebooks made of 100 per cent natural paper.
Following the success of designer vintage shop Thanx God I’m a VIP at Rue du Lancry, which recently added its own label to the designer mix, others have followed suit.
Most notable is H24 Nomad’s Land, founded in 2016 at 24 Rue du Chateau-d’Eau. This creative laboratory of international fashion and accessory designers is carefully curated by ex-costume designer Hélène Busuttil. While gaining insights in style, this treasure trove will awaken your olfactory senses with niche perfume brand Oriza L. Legrand, among others.
A few doors away, bijoux concept shop Atelier Couronnes is well-appointed, with jewellery by Louis Damas and leather accessories by Fauvette Paris. Both labels are handcrafted in the French capital, as are many of the paper goods and designer shoes sharing the space.
Where to eat and drink
In the midst of Chateau d’Eau’s design stimuli, stop by Yumi to fuel up on fresh juice and a plate of veggies. This recently expanded restaurant offers both light bites and more hearty vegetarian selections, including avocado toast.
For a heavenly serving of sweet and savoury brunch, try Holybelly at 5 Rue Lucien Sampaix, which kickstarted Chateau d’Eau’s reputation as a chic neighbourhood. Lauded by both Parisians and visitors, Holybelly was opened in June 2017 by husband and wife team Nico and Sarah. The original outpost at number 19 of the same street reopened with new panache in February. With seasonal sharing plates and daily specials, this more intimate address makes for a perfect lunch stop.
Everything about farm-to-table restaurant Les Résistants speaks of its organic roots, from the plant-filled interior centred on wicker furniture, to the local producers from which the owner buys seasonal produce directly. Opened in January 2017, this neighbourhood haunt serving a daily changing menu helped to put Chateau d’Eau on the Paris map.
And no neighbourhood is complete without a chocolate shop, especially in this gourmet capital. Thankfully chocolatier Jean-Philippe Casteuble swapped his confection-carrying blue tricycle for a shop and opened Fifi la Praline in 2015. His artisanal pralines and caramelised nuts are all made in-store at his laboratory on 11 Rue Taylor. The almond truffles alone merit a visit to the quarter – take it from a local.
One-way fares from London to Paris on Eurostar start from £29. eurostar.com
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