What’s New in Paris Neighborhoods

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What’s my favorite Paris pastime?

Wandering the streets, poking into shops and courtyards, sitting in parks, people-watching in cafés, communing with artists in the far corners of museums, and sampling French food from new chefs. I’m always in search of new Paris addresses!

Here are a few recent discoveries, organized by arrondissements:

2nd
Wall garden: French horticulturist Patrick Blanc’s best known Paris project is his mur végétal at the Musée Quai Branly. But it’s hard to get a good view of it without standing in the middle of a busy street. His smaller wall garden, at the corner of Réamur and Petits Carreaux, is flanked by benches, so you can properly take it in.

3rd
New resto: Poilâne has a new outpost of its Cuisine de Bar, at 38, rue Debelleyme. The specialty is the tartine, oblong open-faced sandwiches made with fabulous Poilâne bread, topped with meat, fish and veggie pâtés, melted cheese, figs, and more.

New café: Le Petit Marché, just off the Place des Vosges at 9 rue Béarn, is a pleasant place for a coffee or a late dinner.

5th
MOF Florist: Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) is a prestigious title certifying that the bearer is one of the best artisans in France, but I didn’t knew it applied to florists until I stumbled onto Muriel Le Couls’ sliver of a shop at 51, rue Cencier. This is innovation, French style.

New concert venue: St Julien le Pauvre, the oldest church in Paris, hosts classical concerts yearround. Reserve on the website, and pay at the door (cash only). http://www.concertinparis.com/?lang=en

6th
New address for cold-pressed oils: Huilerie J Leblanc et Fils, makers of small-batch, handcrafted cooking oils, has moved from 6, rue Jacob, around the corner to the gourmet grocery Tomat’s at Nº5 (it’s tucked into a tiny cobblestoned courtyard). The hazelnut and truffle oils are my favorite.

7th
New boutique: Master Chocolatier Jacques Genin has opened a boutique at 27, rue de Varenne. His meticulously crafted, gleaming ganaches are refined and subtle, with sweet and savory flavors equally accounted for.

King of Pastry Takes Residence in the 6th

If you saw the film “Kings of Pastry,” you’ll want to visit Franck Kestener’s new chocolate shop. Kestener became a MOF (a prestigious title certifying that he is one of the best pastry chefs in France) at age 27. Before that, he worked as a pastry chef/chocolatier for Jacques Chirac.

Kestener’s new shop near the Luxembourg Gardens contains chocolate in many forms: filled and unfilled bars, heavenly ganaches and pralines, delicious macaroons – and a surprising cannelé.

The traditional cannelé is a molded, rum-laced cake with a custard center and carmelized outside. Kestener’s version, which he developed for MOF competition, replaces the custard and cake with a dense guimauve, or marshmallow, in intense flavors – raspberry, porcini mushroom, and Japanese citrus.

Dark chocolate enrobes each wonderful piece.