One of the best things about Paris is that no matter how many times you visit (and revisit), there’s something new to discover. Take the 2nd arrondissment in central Paris: Once a notoriously seedy area, every year it grows further into a haven of hipsterdom. Yes, there are still daytime prostitutes on Rue St. Denis (d’un certain age, as they say), but right now that allows us to describe it as “edgy,” which is where this story is going anyway.
A quick walk along rue Tiquetonne, for example–one of the cobbled and curving streets that once screamed old-world charm–reveals a short corridor that has given birth to a series of hip clothing boutiques and other forms of retail. The folks at Royalcheese have taken over no less than three storefronts: One flagship for their selection of Cheap Monday and Ben Sherman looks (heavily sold on Paris’ growing population of the flannel & glasses crowd), one Vans store selling exclusive designs of the trademark sneaker (some found only in Europe!) and one boutique called Bluecheese, a tongue-in-cheek way of selling just denim. If you’re from New York or LA (especially certain parts Brooklyn or Silverlake) you may feel too much at home, which is what globalization is all about!
A bit farther down rue Tiquetonne, passing a few cute restaurants, 3D Haircut (a great and very hip hair salon) and other boutiques for shoes and fringues (slang for “clothes,” pronounced “frahn-gh”) is L’Epicerie de Bruno, a six-years strong gay-owned business featuring spices, chilis, and other tasty condiments shipped in from around the world (Bruno’s sachets for hot spiced wine are worth every centime). And of course L’Espace Kiliwatch, back at the westernmost part of the street still holds it down as one of the premier vintage stores in Paris, having arrived first in the line of gentrification.