I don’t remember exactly when I discovered the upper Marais and Square du Temple. But this I do know: It was love at first sight. The streets all quiet and sweet with their window boxes and white-crackled shutters, you feel as if you’ve stumbled into a children’s story book. The Square itself is in a word, darling, but I’ll describe that later… What I absolutely love about this neighborhood is that it is pristine yet approachable. Elegant yet lived-in. An oasis of peace and quiet joy, with a sense of child-like wonder rising as you round her quaint corners.
It’s also a mecca for the brunch-lover and the vegan/gluten-free foodie. If your tummy’s idea of heaven is Avocado Toast, then I can’t think of a better area to stay. You’ll have your pick from at least a handful of restaurants all within a five-block radius.
Walking northwestward along Rue Oberkampf across the grand Boulevard Richard Lenoir is another quirky neighborhood, more akin to Montmartre or the Canal Saint Martin area than Temple and the north Marais. A bit grittier, here you’ll similarly find a plethora of Bobo and foodie-approved restaurants as well as plenty of shopping from the independent boutiques that line Rue Oberkampf’s sidewalks.
Both areas are unique yet very much worth visiting.
Images courtesy of MAGNIN-A, ©Pat Callahan, & ©besopha/flickr
Square du Temple
In the heart of this neighborhood lies a sweet little secret. A secret garden where the laughter of children fills the air as they climb and play on the great gymnasium sectioned off in the southwest corner of the park. A great place to visit if you’re traveling with little ones in Paris. A great place to visit if you’re not. Beautifully landscaped–there’s even a pond and a mini waterfall–it’s an ideal place to park it on a bench, basking the sunshine as you drink in the beauty of the buildings and nature that coexist in perfect harmony. It’s also the ideal overflow location for busy brunch spots in the surrounding area that offer takeaway. No need to wait 45 minutes for a table when you can take that avocado toast to go and enjoy it picnicking in one of Paris prettiest parks!
Images courtesy of Compass.com
- Rue Réaumur & Rue de Bretagne are full of cafes that have great happy-hour offers. Grab a curbside seat, a drink and take in the scenery. Or duck into Marché des Enfants Rouges for one of Paris’ best open-air markets and some delicious international fare.
- Rue Perrée is picturesque with the park on one side and shops on the other. Stop in at The Broken Arm – part boutique/cafe, or explore all that Le Carreau du Temple has to offer – an exhibition hall with all everything from art to sport to entertain…
- Rue Dupetit-Thouars and everything within the triangle created by Rue de Picardie, Rue de Normandie & Rue de Bretagne are personal favorites. Zig-zag your way through these quaint streets as you scope out breakfast/lunch/brunch options. But good luck choosing… some of the best spots are hidden here.
- Rue Oberkampf & Rue Vieille du Temple are your streets if shopping is on the agenda. Loads of boutiques and shops to duck into.
- Honestly nothing’s off limits in this neighborhood! As a general rule the larger streets tend to be more functional and utilitarian, lacking a bit of intimacy, ambiance and charm. But this is Paris… practically everything is charming. So just keep that in mind when you’re looking at hotels and where to stay.
Images courtesy of ©NickyInsideOut & ©besopha/flickr
Hôtel Best Western Saint Martin Bastille
I’ll be honest. The only neighborhood’s I’ve stayed at in Paris are South Pigalle and the 10th Arrondissement. Why? Because the closer you get to the center of Paris the pricier it gets. That said, if I go back there are two neighborhoods where I’d love to be located. This is one of them. And Hôtel Best Western Saint Martin Bastille is probably where I’d stay.
Yes, it’s a chain, but it’s a good one. Best Western’s are gold in our books. And not only can you can earn points staying with them, better yet, you can use points to pay. With the location ideally set between both Temple and Oberkampf you have some of Paris’ best eats at your fingertips.
The rooms look luxurious and well appointed and best of all the prices won’t break the bank at under $100 a night! A steal for this part of town!
If your price-point is a little higher I’d also recommend either Hotel Fabric – a chic four-star hotel in a former textile factory in Oberkampf, or Paris Boutik’s La Librairie – an elegant boutique apartment hotel set amongst a library of book right near Square du Temple.
Images courtesy of Best Western Hotels & Resorts
Tucked away just off Rue Oberkampf is this little slice of heaven for the celiac or gluten-intolerant traveler. When my naturopath advised me to go sans gluten not only was I concerned about traveling, but I was convinced my days of adventuring (in a culinary sense) were absolutely over. Not so! Thankfully Paris (as well as most of the world–Winchester included) is full of gluten-free bakeries & eateries where you can eat the gluten-free dream.
Chambelland is just such a place. Not only is their entire bakery gluten-free, but they upped the ante by building their own mill where they produce their own GF flours. The result: some of the finest baked goods in Paris, quite possibly the world. They even supply some of the best restaurants in Paris with their breads. My personal favorites are their chouquettes–little airy unfilled puff pastries that they sell in either 5’s or 10’s–that go down way too easily, or their pain sucre–a long rectangular baguette of sweet bread amazingness that comes in either plain or one with orange blossom water, orange zest & chocolate chips. I know which one I’d go for… But everything here is good. They even have sandwiches if you’re in the mood for something more savory & substantial.
Images courtesy of ©Lisa Klein Michel, ©Violet Grey, ©Emmanuel Naxos, & ©Adventures of a Gluten Free Globetrekker
Season + Wild & the Moon
I paired both Season and Wild & the Moon together because, firstly I couldn’t choose between them, and secondly they offer a similar experience: clean eats that’ll make your insides feel as pretty as those perfectly-plated pancakes in front of you. Dishes and decor that are an Instagrammer’s dream–just count how many people you see snapping pics of their plates… And with a combined following reaching well above 60k it’s good both restaurants offer takeaway, in case you don’t feel like waiting 45mins for a table…
If it’s pancakes and bacon you’re after, or maybe an avocado toast with smoked salmon & poached eggs Season is where it’s at. The food is fresh and delicious, with options for everyone: carnivores, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarians and vegans. They offer a selection of sweet and savory dishes including matcha bowls, muesli and yogurt, toasts, as well as salads and sandwiches in an oh-so-fashionable setting. They have a lunch formula (espresso + daily special) for €12, as well as a designated takeaway storefront just around the corner.
Wild & the Moon on the other hand is a completely vegan and gluten-free establishment –great for those going gluten & dairy-free, not so much for those with nut allergies… (they only serve their homemade almond/coconut milk blend). The narrow room feels like a jungle-oasis with plants hanging from every corner. Try one of their many cold-pressed juices or elixirs, especially concocted for any and every situation: detox, weight-loss, skin-care, hangover-cures etc. Or choose from their delicious bowls, both sweet and savory, or their salads, snacks and smoothies that you can eat in or grab from the wall fridge in the front for takeaway. At the very least snag a Wild Bar (homemade energy bars) and a Golden Latte or better yet try their Blueberry Lavender Latte! Both are outrageously good.
Images courtesy of ©30’s Magazine, ©Le Polyèdre & ©Photographie Ma Récreation.
With two locations, one in the 10th Arrondissement and the other here in Temple, Café Pinson has become a favorite of mine. And it’s no wonder with its retro decor, great light and fantastic gluten-free menu. Their slogan, “In detox we trust,” says it all – offering made-to-order juices, and committed to serving healthy and organic menus. They have an excellent petit dejeuner (breakfast) formula: espresso + soy yogurt & granola + freshly pressed juice + jam & bread or 3 madeleines. Or you could just order an almond milk latte and slice of their rich and delicious matcha tea cake. They also have amazing vegetarian and vegan lunch options with salads, soups, quiches and all sorts of other yumminess. Definitely worth checking out, in either neighborhood!
Images courtesy of ©HuffingtonPost.com & ©Paul Bowyer
Just off Rue Oberkampf and a block up from Chambelland is this unsigned little gem in navy blue, Café Oberkampf. But you’ll know it by the groups of girls waiting on its outdoor benches for a table inside this petite little place. If you’re lucky you can snag one of the window seats looking out onto Rue Neuve Popincourt, taking in the view as you sip a delicious latte whilst enjoying something off their all-day brunch menu. But the most difficult decision will be what to order (isn’t it always though?)… An almond butter & banana toast on Chambelland bread, or baked eggs in your own personal skillet? A bircher muesli bowl or granola, fruit and formage blanc? Maybe it’s best to come with friends, even if you do have to wait… Me thinks it’s worth it. Just make sure they like to share!
Images courtesy of Facebook & LeFooding.com/©Camille Pierrard
So you’re in Paris, but you’ve had enough of this french food… (a stretch of the imagination, but I’m sure it happens). Or maybe you’re just really craving something that tastes like home? And by “home” I mean Mexican food. Specifically tacos. Well I have the answer. Candelaria.
The green storefront, also lacking signage other than the white handwritten lettering on the window and the neon sign in the corner reading “TACOS,” is the true (and only) entrance to this Mexican speakeasy in Paris. In truth, the tacos are just a bonus… What people really come here for are the drinks. They only take reservations for cocktails at the bar (none required for the taqueria…) Now if that hasn’t convinced you, the intro to their Menu (of drinks) will :
Within this menu lies the last link of a chain of cooks, brewers, potion- makers, that since the pre-Columbian period have transmitted their traditions, their legends, their myths, their stories, and their recipes. Here is our statement of this heritage and of this marvellous art of mixing ingredients and creativity. We invite you to experience these libations containing folklore, fantasy and reality.
With love from l’équipe Candelaria,
Ivan, Alejandro, Thomas, Jacopo, Océane, Romain, Joris, France, Brittini, Carlos et Jesus
They also serve brunch here, and from the pics it looks well worth it. Definitely a unique experience with legit food and libations found only in Paris.
Images curtesy of Facebook & ©Diane A Broad.
A trip to Paris is not complete without having a crêpe. A real crêpe. Now there are plenty of stalls in the Latin Quarter and even some littered down the larger boulevards in Paris, but if you want a full dining experience I can’t recommend Crêperie Gigi more highly.
Situated along Rue de la Corderie, and facing a triangular square where bicycle’s congregate as happily as their riders is this sweet little restaurant, tucked behind Le Carreau du Temple. As the name implies Crêperie Gigi serves sweet and savory crepes: the savory are served on a sarrasin (buckwheat) base (gluten-free hooray!), and the sweet ones are served on a froment (wheat) base and are called crêpe sucre. But these are not the snacking kind you take away… With gourmet ingredients like smoked salmon, duck, shiitakés, truffles and burrata they require not only a knife and fork, but time to sit and savor every bite. I can’t think of a better place to enjoy this than at Gigi’s outdoor communal tables under her sweet awning. Get a bottle of cider and if you’re feeling adventurous order your crêpe Façon Salade —for an extra €1.50 it’ll come out as a salad in a buckwheat bowl – think taco salad only french style.
Images courtesy of Facebook & TripAdvisor
One day I was wandering around the Temple neighborhood and as I rounded the corner of Rue Debelleyme I stumbled upon this gleaming glass storefront. No name. Just a ginormous line. Obviously it was a popular place. Curious I looked it up when I got home and was supremely sad I hadn’t queued-up. What everyone else knew that I did not is that this little glass front houses some of the best Italian food in Paris, with an exquisite brunch and best of all gluten-free pizza. Yes. Gluten-free.
Part of the BigMamma clan, a restaurant group offering fresh authentic Italian food all over Paris, BigLove Caffe is their outpost in the upper Marais and their solution to the brunch trend that’s sweeping Paris. But not to worry… unlike a lot of places in Paris where le brunch reigns supreme, BigLove is open for dinner too. They don’t take reservations so be prepared to stand in line, but the wait definitely looks worth it. From the cured meats dangling in the window to the provisions stacked on shelves around you the feel is definitely a homey one. And if that doesn’t make you feel all warm & cosy I’m sure a stack of pancakes (unfortunately not GF), an avocado toast on Chambelland bread, or a plate of pasta will, never mind the pizza! Most definitely worth a try, especially if you can’t stomach any more cassoulet, or duck confit.
Images courtesy of Facebook.
I hope this guide to Temple and Oberkampf gives you some inspiration and a few places to put on your Brunch Bucket List. It’s really such an unexpectedly beautiful area and not too far off the beaten path!