I don’t know if I’ve ever properly expressed how much I love my neighborhood. For 4 years, I’ve lived in the Oberkampf/Parmentier area on the east side of Paris and can’t imagine life anywhere else. Yet just as anyone would, I enjoy outings in neighborhoods very different from my own – areas more posh, more calming, more central or even more green. I have fantasies of a large Haussmanian apartment with classic moldings, and a balcony that would fit a little two-person table, a couple of wicker chairs, and pots full of hanging flowers that transform the cozy space into an urban garden. Sure, it’s an expensive fantasy but one that comes to life as I stroll through much of Paris.
When I first moved to the 11th, much of my neighborhood was considered up-and-coming – full of potential yet still trickled with some seedy corners and vacant shops. Yet over the last year alone, I’ve witnessed a transformation; what was once up-and-coming has emerged a lively and increasingly active social hot spot. I’ve seen my own street evolve and while some might cite gentrification, I welcome the change. Whereas the world renowned Chateaubriand was once the primary source of foodie traffic to our part of town, we now have Jeanne A – an upscale épicerie à manger (grocer where you can also eat-in or take out) that replaced a deplorable old convenience store that was often crawling with suspicious characters.
I passed by during the renovations, eager to find out what the space was to become. We saw the sleek stainless steel countertops, shelves and wood tables take their places and could already tell it was going to add some refreshing modernity to the quaint place de la Fontaine. Little did we know it would become home to the Astier’s little sister and full of artisan products, from condiments and olive oils to cheeses and charcuteries. I take comfort in knowing that should I come home late, after the supermarkets and bakeries have closed, I can pick up a warm bite to eat at someplace better than the Turkish kebab stand. Jeanne A always has rotisserie chicken on hand but the rest of their offering is dependent on what is in season and what was freshly delivered that morning.
Homemade desserts, a stacked cheese case and almost an entirely organic product offering is enough to keep me popping in for weekly visits. The space can be reserved for a maximum of 50 guests for private parties and events and the little nook in the back of the shop can squeeze about 16. If their brunch menu for 27€ seems a little steep, their regular menu is always available. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, accommodating and athletic – as they make frequent trips back and forth to Astier’s kitchen.
The food is excellent and I’m excited to make it a local hangout be it for a glass of wine, an espresso or a hearty bowl of soup (pumpkin, please!).
If they happen to be full and you’re looking for a good sit-down meal, walk a few feet to its big sis, Astier, or Les Petites Indécises, another one of my favorite spots.
42 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud
Open daily: 9:30am-10:30pm
Open daily: 9:30am-10:30pm