Autumn is the peak time for openings in Paris, be they restaurants, bars or impossible-to-categorise multi-concept spaces. Over the summer, the city is famously quiet as residents decamp to the beach or country gites, but the mass return – la rentrée – triggers a succession of new arrivals across town, plus full launches for venues which gingerly soft-opened during the lull.
With days shortening and bikini-diets shelved, cosy bistros, hip cocktail bars and welcoming cafes play a big part in helping combat those seasonal blues … so check out these hot – and decidedly affordable – new addresses.
Ratapoil du Faubourg, 10th arrondissement
The streets off rue Lafayette in the smart 10th arrondissement form Paris’s top restaurant hub, with regular openings and a buzzy feel. Best is this “neo-bistro” and wine cave. Launched in September, Ratapoil does imaginative fish and pork dishes, and its salted-caramel chocolate pudding is to die for. Three courses cost €30; some diners order a trio of desserts. Gluttony: c’est chic.
• 72 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, +33 1 42 46 30 53, ratapoildufaubourg.com. Metro: Poissonnière. Open Tues-Sat noon-3pm and 7pm-11pm
Blind Pig, 4th arr
“Take a large former garage, add a bar, invite different food trucks every week, et voilà! – you have a trendy hangout!” laughs Maxime Froissant of website Merci Alfred. This just-launched bar clandestin in the upmarket Marais district is completely unmarked (push the big green door), and hosts wine tastings, art installations and street food (typically €8 a dish). There are cushions, craft beers and, charmingly, a swing.
• 5 rue des Guillemites, facebook.com/blindpigparis. Metro: Saint-Paul. Open Tues-Sun noon-10pm
Folks & Sparrows, 11th arr
“We hope to be a hidden gem,” says Folks & Sparrows’ bearded, hatted and very friendly owner Franck Ale, a Parisian returned after a decade in Brooklyn. Located up a snug side street, his deli-cafe offers sandwiches (€6.50), homemade cakes (try raspberry and green tea) and artisan foods. Armchairs and chunky tables combine for a dreamy, Macbook-tapping vibe.
• 14 rue Saint-Sébastien, facebook.com/folksandsparrows. Metro: Saint-Sébastien–Froissart. Open Tues-Sun 10am-7pm
Les Niçois, 11th arr
In the same area, Les Niçois “does an excellent job of bringing south of France flavours to Paris”, says Forest Collins of cocktail blog 52 Martinis. Forest’s tip is the socca, a crêpe made from chickpea flour. With two tasty courses for €14, the 50 seats in the airy ground-floor restaurant fill quickly; other guests head downstairs, where board games and an indoor pétanque pitch form a Pernod-fuelled playpen.
• 7 rue Lacharrière, +33 9 84 16 55 03, lesnicois.com. Metro: Saint-Ambroise. Open Tues-Sun noon-2am
Bespoke, 11th arr
“Paris has plenty of classy, well-run cocktail bars,” says Merci Alfred’s Maxime. “Bespoke has brought the concept to younger, rockier Oberkampf.” While serving sliders and sharing plates (from €5), the low-lit bar majors in bonkers alcoholic creations. Order a somehow-fantastic Capri C’est Fini (€12) – cherry tomatoes, rum, basil and balsamic vinegar – and admire a wall made from old leather belts.
• 3 Rue Oberkampf, bspk.fr. Metro: Filles du Calvaire. Open Tues-Sun noon-2am
Charlie, 12th arr
A less cool younger bro’ of the 11th, the 12th arrondissement will probably be the next hangout du jour. Charlie, a small bar with art exhibitions and basement concerts, is already a hot spot. Eponymous 25-year-old Charlotte Galitzine – she also owns restaurant Miel & Paprika opposite – provides absurdly cheap beer and cocktails; a pint of pilsner is €4 – a bargain in London, practically illegal in Paris.
• 29 rue de Cotte, facebook.com/bierrea2balles. Metro: Ledru-Rollin. Open daily 6pm-2am
Rachel’s, 3rd arr
Rachel Moeller is the baker from whom every self-respecting Parisian restaurateur sources their buns and cakes. Now she has opened her own place – a cosy, teal-coloured cafe. Forest says: “Rachel is attracting all the foodies, not just with fantastic homemade food, but reasonable prices.” A giant po’boy with breaded shrimp, okra and smoked cherry tomato relish is €16.50.
• 25 rue du Pont aux Choux, +33 1 44 61 69 68, facebook.com/RachelsParis03. Metro: Saint-Ambroise. Open Wed-Fri 8.30am-11pm, Sat 9.30am-11pm, Sun 9.30am-6pm
La REcyclerie, 18th arr
Sinny & Ooko is a design agency famed for transforming derelict Parisian buildings. Their latest switcheroo sees Gare Ornano, a high-ceilinged station which had lain vacant since 1939, become an eco-focused cafe, restaurant, garden and urban farm. Near the Clignancourt flea market in northern Paris, it offers a madcap mix of DIY workshops, €12 dinners on global themes, screenings and cocktails beside the old train tracks.
• 83 Boulevard Ornano, larecyclerie.com. Metro: Porte de Clignancourt. Open daily noon-midnight
The Office, 13th arr
The Office is a new supper club held in the offices of a rugby magazine inside a vast, graffitied old warehouse. Once the editorial staff have departed for the day, 29-year-old Emilie Suzanne lights candles and welcomes up to 15 diners, many English-speaking. She charges €40 for three French-international courses (BYOW). Check Facebook for themed nights, including a Halloween dinner with guest actors.
•facebook.com/theofficetabledhotes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for dates and reservations
L’Alveole, 9th arr
A restaurant, exhibition space and tearoom, L’Alveole, which means honeycomb, is an old place boasting new proprietors and a fresh look. Yet for all the colourful cushions, plants, rustic ivy-lined facade and local artworks, it’s the nouveau prices that most appeal. Despite being in chichi southern Pigalle, three-course dinners cost just €15. The menu changes daily but is always fresh and seasonal.
• 42 rue Saint-Georges, +33 6 98 13 24 24, facebook.com/pages/Lalvéole. Metro: Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. Open daily 11am-2pm, 6pm-10pm
Train travel was provided by Eurostar (08432 186186, eurostar.com), which has London-Paris returns from £69