Paris Upcycling – The new face of urban spaces in Paris
Paris does a lot of visitors. But thankfully it’s not only the millions of tourists who are on the forefront of improvements in the city. City mayor Anne Hidalgo has made it clear that she wants to make Paris one of the greatest capitals in the world in terms of transportation and open spaces. To the chagrin of many automobile drivers in Paris, space has been turned over from car traffic to foot traffic. Take for example les Berges de la Seine (the quay along the river Seine) or the closing of the Champs Elysées to cars to allow bikers and pedestrians free reign. The city is moving and we love these changes.
Recycling, already important in Paris, has become the fashion of the day. Recycling of used objects & unused spaces. Let’s call this Paris upcycling.
Last Summer, I headed over to Le Grand Train – the temporary installation run by Ground Control who took over a former SNCF train depot to install a bar, pop-up restaurants, a concert stage and even a produce market all with the incredible decor of old SNCF trains and a collection of model trains to make any enthusiast envious.
I got a heads up via a newsletter I’m subscribed to (you see following a newsletter can pay off), telling me about the opening weekend of another initiative that promises to be more permanently installed in yet another former train station similar this time to the Recyclerie in the 18th (Porte de Clignancourt at least in layout if not in form article from Time Out. Welcome the newbie, Le Hasard Ludique a concert venue but not just. This new edition to the repurposing of what is referred to as “Le Petit Ceinture” (the belt around Paris before you hit the suburbs), is a multi-functional space that is bringing an eclectic mix of events and activities from brunches to learning English through hip-hop.
The idea from the folks behind this initiative is to make things accessible to the locals and have therefore created a site where we can propose ideas for workshops and other initiatives. So of course I wanted to go and see for myself what this newest example of Paris upcycling was all about. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much from the brunch given that I don’t eat eggs and basically most brunches I’ve been to in Paris all evolve around egg dishes. I just wanted to see the space. I’m not sure if it was just for the opening weekends they planned, but you actually booked the brunch online and pre-paid for it. The price for our son was 11.70 euros and for us adults 22.70 euros. We started off with viennoiserie (croissants or pain au chocolat), with hot chocolate, coffee or tea. There was a butternut squash soup which was perfect on this cold May morning and as the main course, Remi has home-made chicken nuggets with fries and an egg sunny side up. Mom & dad has marinated glazed pork and fish rillette served with a salad. Dessert: brownie, fruit salad or banane flambée. Everything was made fresh. I ended preferring Eric’s pork to my rillette but all in all we could not complain.
The space was one that I had known and seen for years having lived in this very neighbourhood some years back but only from the outside. Across from the Darty in Ave de St Ouen on the same street that serves as a local market, in a dilapidated building sitting on top of now defunct tracks, which once housed a pottery depot, now stands Le Hasard Ludique. I remember seeing this place and thinking – wow that would make an awesome location for the cooking school . . .
We were delighted with a musical brunch in a child-friendly atmosphere. The staff was friendly and things look promising. As it is essentially set up as a music hall the seating was not exactly restaurant quality. You can tell with the site being entirely in French that this one is really for the locals – not to say that visitor will not be allowed. While so far I don’t find the space quite as cozy as it’s big brother, Le Recyclerie, there is obviously potential here and maybe they too will open up access down alongside the tracks.
I’m looking forward to seeing what this venue has to offer.
Just one more reason to love Paris.
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