The best third places, wastelands and alternative places in Paris Region
Whatever you call them, they are all places of sharing and creativity.
In Paris, you can now do yoga, brunch, attend a workshop, and mosh to a gig by the latest band all in the same space. Across the capital, a new generation of alternative spaces is changing the face of the city’s lifestyle scene. Their credo? To create accessible, hybrid spaces, where different people and art forms can interact, off the beaten track.
Off the rails
Full steam ahead
At Ground Control , set in a former postal sorting office near the Gare de Lyon, the fun is super-sized: the vast 4,500m2 hall houses six food counters offering dishes from all corners of the globe, before your yoga or photography class. On fine days you can also relax in the huge terraced garden.
Back on track
The former Gare Saint-Ouen station, by the Porte de Clichy, has found new life as the Hasard Ludique : a buzzing space that holds weekly concerts and workshops. Whether for a bit of lunch, a weekend brunch or an evening drink, make the most of the good weather from the 300m² outdoor terrace overlooking the centre of Paris.
With its recycled furniture, healthy canteen and green spaces, the REcyclerie is a place to live off the beaten track. Located on a former station in the Petite Ceinture, a stone’s throw from the Saint-Ouen Flea Market, the project combines an urban farm, Do It Yourself and user repair workshops, a locavore canteen café and a varied artistic programme. An unusual location where people like to get together with family and friends.
Founded by the MU arts collective in an abandoned former railway station at Porte d'Aubervilliers , the Gare des Mines showcases the edgiest names in the emerging arts scene. Be prepared for a potent cocktail of electro DJ sets , indie gigs , writing workshops , film screenings, and live performances.
Nestled alongside the Canal de l'Ourcq in the suburb of Saint-Denis , the 6B dedicates its massive former industrial space to creativity and culture, hosting regular concerts, exhibitions and performances. In the summer, its vast terrace transforms into an urban beach, where you can dance the night away, your toes in the sand.
6-10, quai de Seine - 93200 Saint-Denis
At the Ferme du Bonheur , an ideas lab and rural oasis set on vacant lots next to the Paris Nanterre University , pick your way amongst the vintage furniture to a table, where you can enjoy a drink , watch a show , or join in a dance party. Nature lovers will enjoy the bee-keeping classes and tours around the poetic vegetable gardens.
Decorated with objects from across Africa, the Comptoir Général is a delightfully eclectic sanctuary, set right by the Canal Saint-Martin , filled with plants, salvaged treasures, a record store, a library, and cocktail bar – not to mention an exotic restaurant and even witchcraft workshops! Make sure to visit the luxuriant indoor garden.
Set in the former General Electric offices , the Mob Hotel dramatically shook up the Paris hotel scene when it opened by the Saint-Ouen Flea Market in 2017. Highlights include elegant rooms, a rooftop vegetable garden, an open-air cinema, a vegetarian restaurant and a pop-up store dedicated to the hippest new designers.
On the Waterfront
With its hugeterrace garden, Dock B , in a former customs building in Pantin just north-east of Paris, is the perfect place to enjoy a summer drink with friends or listen to an outdoor concert to an unmatched backdrop over the Canal de l'Ourcq. In between gigs, why not stop off at its excellent restaurant and cosy café , or get inspired at the concept store?
The Point Éphémère , set on the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin in a former construction supplies warehouse, has, over the years, become one of Paris's unmissable culture destinations. As well as regular exhibitions , concerts , performances , festivals and parties , it also boasts a great downstairs bar and a roof terrace , Le Top : the perfect space for a summer drink and a bite with stunning views over the canal.
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- Copyright image: Point Ephémère