One of my secret pleasures is to poke around private courtyards, narrow passages and the charming covered passageways of Paris. Especially when I happen upon one that I wasn’t expecting. I have been known to gasp out loud, much to the amusement of passersby.
My Paris Adéle itinerary, as I affectionately call my mapped out walks, was shorter than normal at 4.5km’s long the other day but I didn’t manage to finish it. With so many surprises along the way, I barely made it half way.
Today I attempted to finish it but nothing ever seems to go to plan.
It seems to be a familiar Paris story for me. The so called plan of the day tends to fly out the door but generally what takes it’s place is always a nice surprise.
Problem is, if I could call it a problem, was that I got caught up in a couple of delightful passageways today and the plan deteriorated very quickly.
My first passage of the day was Passage de la Trinité.
Nothing remarkable, except that I was the sole Flâneur, following it’s long curved and tiled path, as it became narrower and narrower, wondering where it would take me.
Passage Bourg l’Abbe is where I ended up.
Shorter in comparison to some of the grander covered passageways but complete with it’s own special charm.
Quiet and peaceful and much nicer than I remember it from a few years back.
A pretty pink painted ceiling that extends to a curved glass ceiling, a small but interesting collection of stores including a gorgeous cabinet maker’s workshop that had everyone who entered the passage stop for a look and a discussion about how charming it is.
Across the Rue Saint Denis leads to the stylish Passage du Grand Cerf.
Occuping both sides of the entrance is a wine bar come restaurant Le Pas Sage, clearly a play on words. I spied a leg of ham, propped up in a ham holder, a deers head anchored to the façade and it looked fresh, funky but at the same time traditional. They must have taken the opportunity of the Christmas holidays to either expand or renovate, therefore I didn’t get to try it out… next time.
Moving further in to the passage and although I was engrossed, enjoying the detail and learning more about how my camera reacts to certain levels of light, I couldn’t help but notice people stopping to admire something in one of the nearby boutique windows.
Inside, a beautiful French woman, who I would later learn is Fanny Roux de Bahilhac, was busy at work, making hand-made jewellery. Shopping was not part of my plan but a row of delicate rings with semi-precious stones had me excitedly bursting through the door, lugging my tripod with camera attached.
Breaking from my solitude to speak had me forgetting the French word for ring but she very sweetly spoke English and I left her store with the promise of mentioning her boutique; Khara Tuki on my blog, all the while beaming and admiring my new pretty pink ring.
Unfortunately with the excitement of my recent purchase, I didn’t get a good shot of Fanny’s lovely store; Khara tuki (above) but if you find yourself in Paris, the shop is charming and worth a visit.
Fanny invites other like minded artists to display their works in her shop and currently has two pottery displays.
The store of Marie et Benoit also provided a problem for me. I have a tea towel fetish and there they were, stacked high with matching napkins. Oh dear. Again another charming and wonderful shop owner, who also spoke English and was a delight to deal with.
A dinner party will soon have to be arranged, simply so I can show off my new French napkins.
Marie et Benoit specialises in ex-military paraphernalia. The French seem to have a certain nack with display and this store was up there with the best.
Wonderful displays and even more upstairs.
The independent boutiques are artistic and stylish and yet very affordable.
Again, this is another Parisian covered passageway that I had visited before but unless I walked through with my eyes closed, I think that the stores within have certainly changed for the good.
More than an hour passed while I explored every store and each nook and cranny, delighting in the artistically displayed windows and gems on offer.
Although it was in between lunch and dinner, I was hungry and getting a bit weary. A quirky little place was nearby and I had wanted to check it out, not so much for the food but for the decor.
This is yet another thing I like about Paris, I can always eat when I feel like it, not needing to stick to ‘eating hours’.
Inside a tiny half timbered façade that appears to be wedged between two buildings is Le Tambour.
Full of ‘stuff’.
The waiter pulled out the table to allow me to squeeze onto the banquette seating, I ordered a Pastis and settled in, my eyes darting all over the place, trying to take it all in.
The ‘stuff’ in mention is mostly old metro memorabilia but not exclusively.
A mishmash of paraphernalia clutters the interior of the ancient stone walled bistro.
Beneath my seat a disused set of stone spiral stairs, with a glass top, imbedded into the floor reveals a skeleton, lying on the stairs.
A collection of old dusty books on the bench behind me.
Old train seats from another era makes for a raised booth for four people.
A fish tank with a munching crocodile.
Above, sits a diorama depicting the inhabitants of the bar and another of the kitchen with the knife wielding chef in a wheelie bin, glad I saw that one on the way out!
Disused bus stop signs fashioned into bar stools. It goes on and that was the reason for my visit, to witness the eclectic and eccentric strange old bar.
Never go to the toilet without your mobile phone, well that is my theory, you may need the light, or you may need to capture a ‘toilet experience’, as I call them.
I entered through the door with a large sign depicting a tourist free zone, obviously a loud and clear message to tourists wanting to pop in, purely to use the toilet and inside I discovered rooms covered in graffiti as if I was in an underground tunnel.
I am not one to leave my mark but hey, everyone else did. So why not.