It always kind of amazes me how much of Paris I still haven’t seen. I like to think I know this city so well, but even in areas I’ve been to loads of times, there’s stuff I didn’t have a clue about. Like the Village Saint-Paul in the 4th arrondissement. Countless times I’ve walked around this neighbourhood and yet I’ve never noticed this hidden, village-like, space.
So when the male and I were in Paris last month, strolling from République via le Marais towards the river Seine, I didn’t expect to find a bunch of super cute courtyards at all. But you know how you sometimes see something new every time you return to a street or an area you’ve already been to? That’s exactly how it is for me when I’m in certain parts of Paris. And it’s probably why I finally spied one of the alleyways leading to the courtyards of the Village Saint-Paul.
Inside the mini-village there is cuteness all over: from antique stores to restaurants and (vintage) boutiques filled with all kinds of quirky looking objects. In other words: there’s enough (window) shopping and artefact-admiring for at least half a day. I don’t know whether it was because we were there on a Saturday morning in July, or because there are more people like me who don’t know this place exists, but it was nice and quiet; just how I like to do my exploring.
So what exactly is this Village Saint-Paul then, I wondered afterwards. An ‘urban entity’ it says on the dedicated website. Right… what else? Well, since the end of its renovation, in 1979, the cobblestone streets and green courtyards of the Village Saint-Paul have been a home to about 80 different businesses. Most of them are vintage, design and craft boutiques as well as antique stores, art galleries and cafés. The idea is for the Village to bring this discreet area alive and to develop commercial activities focused on antique, design, craft and arts. A pretty cool initiative, isn’t it!?
One More Thing: Go!
Unlike some of the other places I wrote about in my Secret Paris series, the Village Saint-Paul is one I think you should definitely go to. Not because the others aren’t worth a visit (on the contrary!), but because this one simply is located very central. So even if it’s your first time in Paris, you can easily pop over for a quick visit. It will probably be a welcome change from the super busy tourists spots… and the perfect place to unwind.
In what city do you keep finding new places?
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