Neighborhood Guide | Montreuil
Montreuil may seem like a strange choice to write a neighborhood guide on when you live in a city like Paris, but don’t be fooled as there are some very quirky hidden gems to discover if and when you find yourself in la banlieue. Foodies and connoisseurs alike are being drawn to the suburban town which has decided to boost it’s reputation with a kick start from Paris’ continually growing gourmet food scene. Watch out Paris, because Montreuil could just become the 21st arrondissement!
The historically communist town is home to some very funky, colourful and artistic looking houses due to it’s political and artisanal heritage.
Located on the metro line 9 just a few stops outside of the eastern districts of Paris, Montreuil is quite the contrary to the uniformly chic looking capital. Although it may lack classic Parisian beauty, it has an ambience of it’s own with a somewhat run down yet artistic look. This is due to the fact that Montreuil is full of artists in all senses; actors, directors, painters, sculptors, musicians, etc, and was home to one of the most famous French filmakers Georges Méliès.
Not only was the communist town of Montreuil famous for it’s artists and creatives, but it was also THE place to grow peaches. In the 17th century, peaches were grown against white walls to benefit from maximum sun exposure which gave the peaches a very sweet and unique taste. It was these “murs à peches” that provided the royal court with their peaches and even to this day, you can still see parts of these walls which have been preserved.
We spent a day wandering the streets of the authentic Montreuil to discover some of the hidden gems that it has to offer. Here are are few of our “must visit” suggestions for when you next want to venture out of the city for something different…
6 Place du Marché, 93100 Montreuil
A natural wine and pizza bar located on the Place du Marché makes this Italian a little hot spot for locals in Montreuil. With a sharp vintage interior decor and an open kitchen to watch the chefs at work, this place always brings in a buzzing crowd. Be sure to visit in the summer months when tables spill out onto the market square and you can enjoy a nice bottle of natural wine from a very well selected and extensive wine list!
La Conquête du Pain
47 Rue de la Beaune, 93100 Montreuil
La Conquête du Pain is one of the most famous bakeries in Montreuil which maintains it’s Montreuilloise tradition as a communist boulangerie. The very old fashioned and somewhat random decor inside, of stuffed animals and communist literature, gives this place a lot of character. Nothing in particular seemed to stand out in terms of the bread and pastries on display, but the familial ambience creates an understanding of the loyal clientele who get their fresh bread every morning from this bakery with a free cup of tea to send them on their way!
Deck & Donohue
71 Rue de la Fraternité, 93100 Montreuil
Thomas Deck and Mike Donahue met studying abroad in America and bonded immediately over their passion for beer. Fast forward 10 years with the opening of Deck & Donahue microbrewery, they have made quite a name for themselves, not only in Montreuil, but in Paris too. Their idea was to share their passion for beer and highlight the taste of perfectly brewed craft beer. 10 years of tasting, visiting numerous breweries, playing around with various recipes and using knowledge built up over years of drinking beer, Thomas and Mike have become professionals and strive for quality and excellence in production of a wide variety of freshly brewed beers.
Go check out their free tastings on a Saturday between 11am and 3pm. If you really can’t make it all the way to Montreuil, then fear not, because their beers can be found in and around Paris in places like Septime, La Fine Mousse and Les Trois 8, to name a few.
129 Boulevard de Chanzy, 93100 Montreuil
In the wake of the first World War commercial cinemas were set up in Montreuil for the entertainment of the locals. Home to the famous filmaker, Georges Méliès, Montreuil became known for cinema and the L’Alhambra, which was the oldest cinema in town, is still standing strong today. Now it is a well known music venue with over 800 seats and six different musical performances per week to attend. It may look a bit run down, but it’s reputation speaks for itself!
Rue Etienne Marcel
This isn’t a particular monument, restaurant or shop of any kind, but this little square that’s positioned at the intersection of Rue Etienne Marcel and Rue Arsène Chéreau has the most beautiful mosaic benches. With so many colourful mosaics dotted around the peaceful square, this is the perfect place to sit beneath the trees with a book and take in the artistic atmosphere of Montreuil.
Although Montreuil may not be on your list of go to’s, if there was ever a time to go, now is that time! Go explore and take it all in before it becomes a part of Paris and looses it’s authenticity.
June 26, 2018
June 12, 2018