Want to kill some time near the BASTILLE? I can't decide which neighborhood I love the most in Paris, but every time I'm in town I end up spending almost all of my time here. Here's what's really good.
I love all the ancient little pockets you can get lost in right near the Bastille, namely the area right near rue de Charonne. You will find big-name French staples like Isabel Marant and Feiyue on this charming, small street. Right off of rue de Charonne you can find dozens of adorable boutiques. I really love LE CORNER, 24 rue de Lappe, where I've found the most perfect Equipment-style blouses by local French designers (at a fraction of the price), the cutest accessories, and an amazing selection of unique and adorable bags. To me, the store is just so quintessential Parisian, it makes me happy just to think about it. The staff are also so wonderful and friendly.
Do not miss a stroll through the alley Cite de la Roquette. There's a great bookshop here with a huge children's section. Apparently there is a restaurant at the end of the Cite, Au Bois d'Amour Restaurant. I didn't have the pleasure of being there when it was open, but you can read about it (in French) here.
Next, you should dedicate some time to go through the treasures at nearby COME ON EILEEN (can you even resist?), 16-18 rue des Taillandiers. It's probably the most amazing vintage store I've ever been to. It's chock full of well-picked, designer vintage pieces. Don't forget to check out the incredible Converse and Levi's section. COMPTOIR DU DESERT, 72 rue de la Roquette, is a great stop for menswear, offering classic and functional pieces. I picked up an adorable white scarf printed with tiny sailboats for myself here. Rue de la Roquette is scattered with a ton of ethnic restaurants and cafes. It has an urban, mixed-class vibe compared to the Marais. It kind of reminds me of the Lower East Side (circa five years ago before it became completely oversaturated with hotels).
I always find amazing deals shopping on Rue St. Antoine, which is just on the other side of the Bastille from Rue de la Roquette. Right by the St. Paul metro stop, you will find a ton of boutique shops with incredibly reasonably priced clothing. There's usually sale racks that offer up some great finds. I'm particularly fond of ALLISON (also the name of my sister, same spelling!), located at 83, rue St. Antoine. I have been going here for years, after I once stayed at a hotel right across the street. They have lots of French labels at reasonable prices. You can find simple staples here and the most adorable printed shirts and dresses you could dream of. They also have great scarves (I bought my favorite scarf here two years ago - it's massive, as in I will use it as a blanket when I'm traveling, and covered in tiny, unassuming skulls) and carry (the amazing & stretchy) Cimarron jeans in every color imaginable (they remind me of Harlows - anyone remember those?).
You can find a number of amazing bakeries, cafes, and restaurants right along St. Paul. Be sure to get some poulet roti from the butcher shop right by the carousel.