From Pantin to Romainville, discover the Brooklyn of eastern Paris
With their industrial buildings converted into loft apartments or art galleries and their numerous festive venues, Pantin and Romainville are often described as the new Brooklyn. However, these two towns in the former industrial heartlands of eastern Paris have a character all their own, and bear witness to the vitality and renewal of the Paris Region. Offering an arty, working-class and pastoral atmosphere, whether you’re visiting as a family or among friends, Pantin and Romainville are certain to make a lasting impression on you.
A leisurely morning along the water’s edge
You can begin your trip at the intersection of the Quai de la Marne and the Quai de Metz, not far from the Ourcq Metro stop, or directly on the edge of the Parc de la Villette. Whether on foot or by bicycle, head off along the Canal de l’Ourcq making the most of the first rays of sunlight as you make your way along the Cycling routes in Paris Region.
Whether you decide to cross the La Villette Park or enjoy a leisurely ride down the cycle track laid out along the water’s edge, you’ll be amazed at the architectural originality of one of the capital’s largest areas of greenery. Here and there, you’ll spot the Follies dotted throughout the park, fascinating bright red structures inspired by the gardens of the 18th-century.
Further on, you can make out Philharmonie de Paris – Cité de la musique, one of the park’s most emblematic buildings with the Géode, but also the Trabendo and the Cabaret Sauvage, venues dedicated to contemporary music which you’ll doubtless be visiting in the near future to take in their concerts and exhibitions.
Pantin, a cool and arty area
So here you are now, in Pantin, a cool and trendy town but also one which is decidedly working-class and socially committed, always popular with Parisians seeking a welcome spot of greenery. On the left bank, the Mairie (town hall) skilfully embodies both the past and the current modernity of the district of Seine-Saint-Denis, as does the Leclerc swimming pool, which captures all the spirit of the 1930s and is today listed as a historical monument (it’s scheduled to reopen in 2022). On the right bank, we find the impressive Centre national de la danse.
This former administrative building produced from concrete in a style typical of the brutalist movement, designed by Jacques Kalisz in 1972, today houses a centre for creativity and for advanced and demanding contemporary dance shows. Angelin Preljocaj, Robyn Orlin and Régine Chopinot have all performed there and the rehearsal studios welcome the very best upcoming dancers and choreographers.
This is the perfect place to enjoy a break on the terrace at the café-restaurant on the upper floor of the CND, Mingway, which offers an unimpeded view of the town and the striking works produced by the street artists.
Still have a little energy left? Before lunch, drop by the contemporary art gallery Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Pantin. This huge former boiler works dating from the 19th century is well worth a visit!
Enjoy lunch with a holiday atmosphere
Hungry? Well you’re in luck, because Pantin boasts some excellent little eateries. The gourmets among you will surely opt for Les Pantins for its bistro cuisine at reasonable prices. But to really get a feel for the rapid transformation of the inner suburbs, what could be better than the Dock B with its huge waterside terrace and its mouthwatering food counters, including seafood and Corsican or Mediterranean delicacies. Take advantage of the occasion to visit the current exhibition underway at the Magasins Généraux, the creative centre located on the ground floor of the BETC agency.
An afternoon of shopping and culture in Romainville
When you’re ready to get going again, head off to discover **Komunuma – Fondation Fiminco, the new cultural district in Romainville, adjacent to Pantin. With its contemporary art galleries, the collection rooms at the Fond d’Art Contemporain d’Ile-de-France (FRAC) and shortly a fashion school and performance venue, this former industrial site is reshaping the industrial landscape in the Paris Region.
After the culture, it’s shopping time. Right opposite Komunuma, discover Paddock Paris, a new outlet in eastern Paris with its many fashion store chains offering discounted prices including Galeries Lafayette, Adidas or the girly Marie Sixtine. You certainly won’t be going away empty-handed!
Fun and festivities in the eastern Paris region
It’s the end of the day and you can’t wait to grab a cold drink and chill out in one of Pantin’s many festive venues. Although you’re spoilt for choice, take a walk (or a cycle ride) to Kilomètre 25 the popular new venue in the Paris Region located under the ring-road, which offers a lively atmosphere all summer long! This 2,200 m2 establishment situated along the Canal de l’Ourcq and sheltered from the bad weather looks forward to welcoming you at one of its delightfully liberating electronic music evenings. What could be better than making your way back through the Parc de la Villette when the fun’s over!
More festive venues with exciting atmospheres waiting to be discovered
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- Copyright image: CRT_IDF / Helene Tonnelier