"La Campagne à Paris"
The house is located in the heart of a very romantic part of the capital called “La Campagne à Paris” (“The Country side in Paris”). This picturesque group of houses was built at the beginning of the 1920s on a hill and there are around 100 houses each with a completely different style. This “green” and very quiet area is a popular destination for lovers of authenticity who love wandering around with their families. You can often see film shootings, guided tours and even photography lessons.
The Père-Lachaise Cemetery
At less than 15 minutes walk away you will find this very famous cemetery. There are nearly 70 000 tombs spread out over 110 acres on the site making it the biggest green area in Paris. All kinds of styles of funeral art can be found here: Gothic, Haussmannian vaults or antique mausoleums.
With over 3m visitors annually it is the most visited cemetery in the world. You will need at least 1h30 to admire all the graves of famous men and women… Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, , Yves Montand, Gaugin to name just a few and whatever you do don’t miss the columbarium, a huge place built to house all the ashes of cremations dating from 1890.
For individual visits here is the free map of the Père-Lachaise cemetery also available in paper at the conservation building next to the main entrance on Boulevard Ménilmontant (open Mon-Fri from 8.30am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 5pm).
Because of the size and richness of the site I would seriously recommend taking a guided tour:
- Dorothée a historian friend of mine organises regular meetings. She is an expert in unusual tours of Paris.
- Bertrand Beyern a connoisseur of the site proposes almost daily and without reservation out of the ordinar tours such as “Père-Lachaise Erotic” or “Amazing Epitaphs”.
71 rue des Rondeaux, 75020 Paris, open Mon-Sun from 8am to 5.30pm
Because of the cobblestones covering most of the area I would advise you not to wear high heels or take a pram!
SHOPS & SERVICES
The advantage of a big city like Paris is that you can find anything at all times. The area around the unusual bed and breakfast is no exception. Everything you need is only 5 minutes away on foot. Here is a list of those that I recommend. The welcome is very sympathetic and the prices reasonable... for Paris!
The “Meunier” bakershop
Lets start with the baker, not just alphabetically but because it is the best in the neighborhood. Gwendoline & Aurélien are craftspeople passionate about what they do and you feel it straight away by their warm greeting. They use butter from Normandy and guaranteed (non modified) organic French flour. Don’t miss their sweet puff pastry cakes, corn bread or chocolate bread. Each day they make a different “creative” daily bread such as with circuma, white chocolate, fenouil seeds or chestnut flour and figs.
12 rue du Capitaine Ferber, 75020 Paris, open Tue-Sat from 7am to 8pm.
"Nicolas" wine shop
"Nicolas" is a chain of 500 wine shops (off licenses) with a very good reputation and reasonable prices. The one in the Edith Piaff square run by “Tomas with no H» is no exception. A large choice with several different prices and advice from Tomas. He doesn’t push you to sell and really takes the time to find out exactly what you are looking for. So with the bakery & cheese shops just opposite the dinner is almost ready!
Place Edith Piaf, 75020 Paris, open Mon-Sat from 10am to 1pm and from 4pm to 8.30pm.
Shopping center "Bel Est"
50 shops, nothing original (just the usual large chains) a good last minute if needed. On the other hand if you need a large food shop the supermarket “Auchan” is worth a visit : 15 000 square metres on 2 floors, it is without contest the biggest in Paris. Low prices, lots of choice (including organic) but no petrol station.
To get there I advise you not to walk, there are cars everywhere and it’s not very pleasant. Take the underground (one stop from Porte de Bagnolet) or take your own car. Parking is free for 2h30.
26 ave du Général de Gaulle, 93170 Bagnolet, open Mon-Thu from 10am to 8pm, it closes on Fri and Sat at 9pm. www.belest.fr
The supermarket "Auchan" is open Mon-Sat from 8.30am to 9.30pm and from 8.30 to 12.30pm on Sunday.
The "Riondet" cheese shop
France is the second largest consumer of cheese in the world after Greece. It is the fault of passionate craftsmen like Justin & Kevin the owners of the “Riondet” cheese shop who will cast a spell on you the minute you cross over the threshold. A perfect knowledge of their products, an incredible choice (I found out that even cheeses have seasons!) and always ready to offer you some samples. The platters are very nicely presented on a real piece of slate and can be offered just like a bunch of flowers!!
Place Edith Piaf, 75020 Paris. Open Tue-Sat from 9am to 1pm and from 4pm to 20pm. Facebook
The first time I went I asked myself if I ought to come back by bus! This market is spread over 600 metres of pavement between the Edith Piaf square and avenue Gambetta. All the usual stands are here from vegetables, fish, cold meats and pre-prepared dishes. The fruit and vegetable sellers by the Hospital Tenon offer the best deals just before closing.
Place Edith Piaf, Wed. and Sat. from 7am to 2.30pm.
A local shop where the prices are correct. Mainly food but you can find batteries and toothbrushes. At the end of the day the ready-prepared roast chicken and potatoes is very practical and avoids having to cook.
Place Edith Piaf, open Mon-Sat from 8.30 am to 10pm and from 9am to 6pm on Sunday.
Intermarché is cheaper than Franprix. Theatre-goers always choose to go at rush-hour: so the queues at the tills often overflow into the aisles causing some very loud verbal conflicts.
Porte de Bagnolet, open Mon-Sat from 9am to 8.30pm and from 9am to 1pm on Sunday.
For 29 years Alex (who you can also call “the Egyptian”) has jealously preserved the very soul of this bar from the thirties. The deco has stayed the same and the owner will not take long to show you all the photos of the actors & actresses who have stopped by for a drink which cover the walls: the entire French “box office”. A sunny nad quiet terrace. Good unpretentious reasonably priced food. A very secret Parisian address which I recommend.
5 Place Octave Chanute, open daily from 8am to 9pm
"La Bolée Belgrand" (crepes) Closed since 01/01/2020 (and will be replaced by a Thai restaurant soon...)
Sweet and savoury pancakes have been served here for more than 40 years. Surely a sign... Gilbert the present owner knows the job very well and treats his customers to all the well known classic pancakes from Brittany in a simple and very nice surrounding. On the menu there are also mussels salads and grilled food.
19 rue Belgrand, 75020 Paris, open Tue-Sat from noon to 2pm and from 7pm to 10pm. Phone: 09 86 07 15 33. Tripadvisor / check the menu
"Au Fond du Jardin" (pizzas & a bit of everything)
From the street we can see a very modern contemporary decor : metal, factory lights and exposed bricks. But once we have crossed the restaurant we discover the gem : a very large 350 square metres terrace covered in vegetation. Needless to say that the atmosphere is very lively in summer. Perfect place to have a drink at any time, or eat a pizza or a salad during eating hours.
39 rue de Pelleport, 75020 Paris. The bar is open daily from 11am to 11pm, the restaurant from noon to 2.45pm and from 7pm to 10.45pm. Phone: 09 54 33 04 96. Facebook
"Le Bistrot du Parisien" (Typical French food)
Bistro classics perfectly prepared. Beautiful dishes, professional service in a décor full of antiquities. Oysters when in season. The bill reflects this but is largely justified. An excellent address in the area.
31 rue Pelleport, 75020 Paris, open Tue-Sat from noon to 2.30pm and from 7.30pm to 10.30pm. Phone: 01 43 61 07 91. Many pictures on Facebook and discounts here / check the menu
"Brutti E Cattivi" (Pizza parlour)
Google says : Brutti E Cattivi translates "Ugly & Nasty". Fortunately their cooking is something else. Connaisseurs of Italy will tell you there are as many pizzas as regions: the young owners of Brutti E Cattivi don’t make rectangular pizzas a la romaine or pizzas with fine crusty bases but napolitaines pizzas.
So a thick soft crust, super ingredients all cooked in a wood fire oven at 460°C.
I can tell you that this is an excellent address. The rest of the menu is classical with desserts that could be a bit bigger. Eat in or take-away.
6 rue du Surmelin, open Tue-Sat from noon to 2.30pm and from 7pm to 10.30pm. Phone: 09 81 68 39 36. Facebook / Trip Advisor / check the menu
"Le Papillon" (Inventive French cooking)
A place I adore. This is a chic brasserie from the beginning of the 20th century. The decor is listed but has been renovated for the better. Soft bench seats, ceramics, ceiling moldings, the counter is in wood and zinc. Modern and romantic. Irreprochable dishes and very well presented. For a 2-course menu 20 EUR, 19 EUR for the brunch at weekends.
144 rue de Bagnolet, 75020 Paris. Bar open daily from 9am to 2am, restaurant open daily from noon to 3pm and from 7 pm to 11.30pm. Phone: 01 43 73 38 55. Website and discounts here
Chez le Kabyle (couscous)
Family cooking in a kitch decor which doesn’t displease me (you will understand when you see the facade!). Semolina, very digestable soup, well flavoured tajines. Home-made pastries. Houcine, the owner for the last 27 years is at your beck and call and always available for a chat. His wife does the cooking. Take-away. The restaurant is small so you need to reserve.
22 rue de la Dhuis, 75020 Paris, open Mon-Sun from 7pm to 11pm, also open for lunch on Sat and Sun (noon-3pm). Phone: 01 40 30 17 53. Check the menu
Close to the family guest house you can find:
- The post office, banks, phone shops , self service laundry, chemists
- Corner shops open till 2am, Mc Donald’s 9am – 2am 7j/7, 3 petrol stations (very rare for Paris)!
- A square of 6 acres with a large children’s play area (clean and safe) and a small pond with ducks (and often pigeons!)