The area around the Canal Saint Martin, known for its community spirit, has been blossoming with new boutiques, restaurants and cafés for the past 10 years. On Friday, Sept. 12, the shopkeepers on the Rue de la Grange aux Belles will throw a party from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. to celebrate the opening of two new boutiques, Anne CharlesDante & Maria (jewelry), while the art galleries open new exhibitions and Carmen Ragosta of NapoliParis shows her new fall line of handmade clothing. Participating shops are at numbers 3, 6, 8, 10, 11 and 23. (clothing) and 23.
BOOKS ON BRETAGNE
With the retail world, even in Paris, being gradually homogenized by chain stores, it is refreshing to note the survival of a good independent bookstore. Comme un Roman (39, rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris; tel.: 01 42 77 56 20), has been around for some time, but has been hidden away on a side street. Now it has a beautiful new two-floor store on the street side of the Marché des Enfants Rouges. Browsing there is a pleasure it will never be in the stuffy, crowded, low-ceilinged FNAC stores.
Art lovers keeping their eyes peeled for inexpensive ways to acquire original works should check out L’Œil Ouvert, a Web site and gallery that sells limited editions (of between 25 and 200 prints) of aluminum-mounted art photos for prices ranging from €29 to €390, depending on the format. The gallery (11, rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010 Paris; tel.: 08 72 58 72 88; open Wed.-Sun., 3 p.m.-8 p.m.) holds regular exhibitions of works by the artists represented. The current show features American photographer Doug Biggert’s images of hitchhikers (until Feb. 28).
BOOKS & TEA
An intriguing new shop in the Marais with the unlikely name I Love My Blender (36, rue du Temple, 75004; tel.: 01 42 77 50 32), sells only things young owner Christophe Persouyre loves: a selection of books in English (and their French translations) by the likes of Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, Monica Ali and Bob Dylan; fine teas and teapots; toys; designer notebooks; and more. Why did he call it “I Love My Blender”? For its touch of absurdity and because of the unusual blend of merchandise. You can even sit down and have a cup of tea at a little café table in the windowFavorite