On Location:
The Bastille

Refinery29 discovers a different side of Paris's alluring Bastille neighborhood.
by Cassi Bryn Michalik
Bastille_OnLocationIt's impossible not to link Paris's chic neighborhood, Bastille, with the landmark event that bestowed its name: the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, ultimately the most symbolic moment of rebellion during the French Revolution. Since then, cities around the world have honored Bastille Day's rebel spirit with celebrations galore, and the neighborhood has naturally become host to many a festive meeting spot, from cafés and bars to late-night clubs. Few would identify the neighborhood as one the city's more important retail centers, but all that seems to be changing. Over the last five years, la rue de Charonne and la rue Keller have ushered in a handful of intriguing boutiques alongside the area's blossoming art galleries. While the Bastille is large, streets to shop here are few, yielding a stress-free stroll through these off-the-beaten-path boutiques. Refinery29 reports back with our favorite addresses from the neighborhood.
Isabel Marant, 16, rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris, +33 (0) 1 49 29 71 55
The beloved native designer's rue de Charonne shop is the original—Marant's flagship in Paris. Using a myriad of materials, her creations can only flatter the fashionable Parisiennes who are avid fans of her "la melting mode," which is how the designer describes her style. That somehow translates to layered Asian and African influences to embellished bohemian-style cuts. Her staples include rough-edged dresses made of a fine-wale corduroy or soft cotton, which are often worn over stovepipe black denim trousers or leggings with boots. Marant started her career in jewelry design before moving onto ready-to-wear, which would explain the perfect long-chained gold coin necklaces and belts that are a visual wonder.
Philippe Roucou, 30, rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris, +33 (0) 1 43 38 81 16
The interior of Philippe Roucou's boutique is slight and minimal, which allows the merchandise to do most of the talking. "A collision between retro and futuristic, town and country, rock and tradition," is how Roucou aptly describes his collection of delightfully "broken in" leather handbags in varied shapes and shades. The Roucou Icon range (which also includes gloves, belts, and coin purses, too) is made from the most beautiful handpicked leathers issued from tanneries in both France and Italy, while other models use a contrast of materials such as soft chenille knits and sheepskin. These bags take their inspiration from the past with a respect for tradition along with an eye for deconstruction. Roucou likes to keep his handbags "light, easy, multi-purpose, and above all else...beautiful."
French Trotters, 30, rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris, +33 (0) 1 47 00 84 35; www.frenchtrotters.fr
The words "concept" and "shop" feel a bit tired together, but the idea still seems fresh at this 2-level space on the rue de Charonne. French Trotters devotes itself to researching the latest trends in art, fashion, and culture in the world's most cosmopolitan urban centers. The boutique is named after its owners: Carole and Clarent, two photographers who scour the globe for their shop's unique findings. Each season, French Trotters showcases a new city with a selection of local clothing and accessories designers, many that are exclusive, as well as the works of local artists. Some designers stocked are Xuan-Thu Nguyen, Anna Sui, Indress, Sigerson Morrison, and the list goes on. The intimate space is divided between two floors, with a gallery upstairs linking the stores current theme or city of the moment.
Anne Willi, 13, rue Keller, 75011 Paris, +33 (0) 1 48 06 74 06
Taking notice that the major trends dominating the runway (and therefore the entire fashion industry) are not always in accordance with what fashionable people really want, Anne Willi decided to break away from the norm and present her clothes in a more personal way. By creating her limited-edition lines (each garment's label displays a model number), Willi addressed her customers' needs, as well as her own, for personal identity. She's also just launched a collection for children inspired by the birth of her son, Noé. Special logos distinguish the lines: a cutout cradle for kids and a cutout dress for women. "I was motivated by a desire for order, and attention to the architecture of the structures," Willi says with regard to her inspiration. "The clothes are constructed by a graphic image and two-tone lines reinforce their designs." Ultimately, these special garments play on the assembly of fabrics, comfort, and of course, individuality.
Dine. Drink.
L'Ami Pierre, 5, rue Main d'Or, 75011, +33 (0) 1 47 00 17 35
You don't get much choice in this petite convivial bistro, but you do get excellent sustenance at decent prices, and, if you're lucky, good live music in the bar.
L'Entre-Pots, 14, rue de Charonne, 75011, +33 (0) 1 48 06 57 04
This American Bar on the rue de Charonne is the perfect place to stop in for a post-shopping, pre-dinner drink. The clientele is as eclectic as the funky décor.
Chez Paul, 13, rue de Charonne, 75011, +33 (0) 1 47 00 34 57
Not vegetarian-friendly, but oh so French! Traditional starters such as escargots and bone marrow are staples in this crowded eatery. Request to sit upstairs for a cozier experience.
Pause Café, 41, rue de Charonne, 75011, +33 (0) 1 48 06 80
A favorite of the young and fashionable magazine set, this café is far removed from the tourist track and is home to the loveliest terrace; the amiable prices don't hurt either.
Refinery29 discovers a different side of Paris's alluring Le Bastille.

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