Vingt Paris Magazine knows that there’s nothing quite like a local’s insider knowledge, so we go straight to source. To get the low-down on the northern part of the 18th arrondissement, we chatted to Anne-Laure and Harry, a couple who are long-term residents of the area. Anne-Laure is Parisian born-and-bred, working as a director in media training and recruitment. Harry is English, currently completing a doctorate in biology at a Paris hospital. Both of them love their neighbourhood!
1. Why did you move to this area and what do you like about it?
AL : I grew up in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. When I moved out by myself, I immediately thought of Lamarck-Caulaincourt – there is a perfect mix of cool bars/family ambiance/green spots/tourist attractions. It is cosmopolitan. It’s 5 minutes walk to Porte Saint Ouen and 10 to Sacré Coeur!
H: I moved to rue Damrémont from the south coast of England over 2 years ago to be with Anne-Laure. Inevitably, I never left, due to her many great qualities, not least among them her taste in Parisian neighbourhoods! I am also lucky to now work a short walk away from our apartment, at Hôpital Bichat. I love that you can find everything you need within walking distance – and everything is independent! The fancy hair stylist is just next to the 7 euro barber; the very pricey (but worth it) traiteur is around the corner from the 4 euro kebab shop; I can buy an ironing-board cover from the quincaillerie and in 2 steps be either in the green-grocers buying fresh Sharon fruit or in the specialist chicken-only butcher… all-in-all, it’s a nice change from the supermarket culture of the UK.
2. Tell us something surprising about your quartier/something that other people don’t know:
AL : It is truly a little village inside Paris. We have our own Mayor of Montmartre and of course the Miss Montmatre competition!
H: There’s the best spot in Paris for viewing the Eiffel Tower. But it’s a secret and I won’t say any more.
3. Favourite restaurant?
4. Are there any urban legends/historical trivia that you know about the area?
AL : Everyone has heard about this homeless woman. She has been living on a bench, on the corner of rue Damremont/Ordener, for ever. Some people say she must be superhuman to survive to so many winters.
H: ‘Montmartre’ translates as ‘The Mount of the Martyr’, named after Saint Denis, who was beheaded on top of the hill (although Wikipedia informs me that it may have had the name before this event…) Also, the route followed by Rue Lepic makes no sense, but I’m not sure that counts as trivia.
5. Favourite shop?
AL: I love my coffee shop on rue Damrémont [La Brûlerie de Montmartre]. It is a very traditionnal ‘brulerie’, with incredible smells emanating throughout the day. And they have jazz concerts during the summer.
H: The 7 euro barber on the corner of rues Ordener and Damrémont. And the corner shop close by which has incredibly limited stock but very friendly service and a huge dog-in-residence.
6.What makes your area different/distinctive compared to other quartiers in Paris?
AL: The hills of Montmartre, all those stairs. Up and down!
H: The melting-pot quality
7. How would you describe the people who live in the area?
AL: We have families, bobos, artists, immigrants, young workers and famous actors! It is really hard to describe in only one word.
H: In very close proximity, there are increasingly more young French couples/families; but walking 10 minutes to Porte Saint-Ouen or Marcadet takes you to highly ethnic communities based on immigration from French (ex-)colonies.
8. How has the area changed since you moved here?
AL: It has become much more trendy. There are all these new hipster bars and gastro restaurants opening everywhere!
H: New restaurants open regularly. And my favourite boulangerie extended its opening hours!
9. Favourite bar?
H: The one next door: La Gamine.
10. Describe an activity/place/walk/something you like doing in your quartier:
AL: I like walking from métro Lamarck-Caulaincourt to avenue Junot, looking at all the beautiful Montmartre houses and small hidden streets. I finish at Lapin Agile, one of the oldest cabarets of Paris, and walk down the many stairs to go home.
H: Running up the hills of Montmartre, cutting through small alleys where restaurant staff are taking a quick smoke break, and walking back down the old streetlamp-lit stairs under the moonlight in the winter months.
Anne-Laure and Harry’s neighbourhood picks:
14 rue de Ruisseau, 18th
01 44 92 72 15
Métro: Lamarck-Caulaincourt or Jules Joffrin (12)
La Brûlerie de Montmartre
66 rue Damrémont, 18th
01 42 54 26 29
Métro: Lamarck-Caulaincourt (12)
129 rue Caulaincourt, 18th
01 53 28 00 15
Métro: Lamarck-Caulaincourt (12)