Mesdames et messieurs, all hail Paris’ romantic reputation, for a wonderful thing has happened. Granny Flat has fallen in love. And with the boy next door no less. Well the boy dans le coin to be exact, but in a capital city, that’s practically in her lap.
But alas, as much as I would like to bring you a happy end to this saga of love, I hate to say it’s more of a tragic tale seeing as the object of her fervent affection is far too young for her and currently the focus of every bright young hipster thing in the neighbourhood. But if two souls could be forged from the same spirit, then Granny Flat and her lover from afar are two peas in a pod. The good news is however, that you are free to fall in love with him too, and whether you exist in boy, girl, child, animal or vegetable form, then you surely will.
If you know Granny Flat, you’ll know that she’s an advocate of reduce, reuse and recycle, meaning that she’s furnished with artefacts from decades of Paris past, rather than all of the latest mass-produced kit from Ikea. She’s not ashamed of her ancient bidet on wheels, mis-matched cutlery or vintage mustard carpet. She’s proud of her bygone feel, tiny balcony vegetable garden and by consequence, her reduced impact on the environment.
It’s exactly the same ethos that permeates La Recyclerie at Porte de Clignancourt, once former train station Gare Ornano. Happily the moniker doesn’t refer to a municipal waste centre, but a lively new cafe (well, nine months by Paris standards is still young), adorned from the roof to the rafters with recycled materials, vintage artefacts and an eco spirit.
Their all-you-can-eat brunch at weekends is a huge draw, and at 20 euros, one of the cheapest in town. From hot bacon and eggs to cold salads and bursting baskets of pastries, a few hours spent here, and you’ll be waddling home like one of their family of chickens kept outside in their tiny urban farm. You might even get an egg for dinner too as they offer them for free on the counter if the chooks have been a-laying plenty. Or if you fancy an especially mammoth feed, hop on one of the vintage exercise bikes dotted around and make room for some more.
If you’re here for a bite because your blender’s on the blink, then Rene the resident Monsieur Fix It will bring it back to life for you, or lend you the tools to do it yourself. Or if you have a craving for parsley and your fresh herbs have seen better days, bring them here and they’ll be magically reborn at the on-site plant hospital. Now that’s surely a Parisian first.
It’s still very much a work in progress, and there are plans for expansion of the outside area, running alongside the old train tracks of la Petite Ceinture (which we’ll discover another day). But for now, there are events sprinkled all over the calendar, from gardening classes for kids, to cooking demos for adults and even a takeaway window if you’re just after a coffee to warm your hands whilst perusing for bargains at the nearby flea market.
Thanks to my good friend Iain for the awesome find, it won’t be long before the whole world is in love with Parisian chickens and mis-matched cutlery too. You’ll have to get through Granny Flat first though…
Post originally published 01/04/2015