"The New York Times" Sunday ,27 March 2011
“……As I was happily sinking my teeth into the quartier’s dining scene, other new ventures were infiltrating. Art was creeping up from the not-too-distant Haut Marais, includingGalerie Chantal Crousel’s second Parisian exhibition space on the Rue Léon Jouhaux. And as a sign that the bobos might soon be ceding their territory to tourists — already appearing on boat tours of the canal — Le Citizen, the quartier’s first boutique hotel, made its debut.
“So many people are fed up with the conventional Sixth Arrondissement,” Sophie Berdah, a real estate developer who opened Le Citizen, explained as I sat with her in the hotel’s sun-flooded lobby, looking out at the prime stretch of Quai de Jemmapes. “This neighborhood is very off the track, so clients are people who know Paris a little.”
I appreciated how in tune Ms. Berdah was with the quartier’s spirit that is still more shabby than chic. I spent a night in one of the 12 rooms, enjoying personal touches like hand-delivered carafes of sparkling water; artwork from the California-based Creative Growth Art Center, which supports artists with mental and physical disabilities; and books from Ms. Berdah’s private collection as well as Artazart, the exhaustive design bookstore across the street. Mostly though, I contented myself bytaking in the views overlooking the canal — knobby chestnut trees, vagrant homeless camps and all……”
AMY M. THOMAS, who writes about food, fashion and travel, lived in Paris for two years. She is writing a book about her Parisian experience.