While visiting Paris, it is hard not to notice the multicultural aspect of the city and the fact that people from all around the world can be found here. Therefore, just like in most big capital cities, you can find neighbourhoods in which one culture is especially highlighted. For example, the Rue Sainte Anne and the rue des Petits Champs are considered as a small “Japantown” in the very centre of the capital, in a beautiful and luxurious area near the Opéra Garnier.
While most big cities in Europe have a “Chinatown”, it is not as easy to find places dedicated to the Japanese culture and therefore it can be interesting for anyone to go for a walk in these streets. Restaurants, book shops, travelling agencies, schools that teach Ikebana (traditional floral art) or Japanese traditional cooking, you can find in these streets almost any Japanese thing you could be looking for. The first Japanese companies settled there in the 1960’s, quickly followed by restaurants and other shops. Through the decades, this phenomenon intensified and the fact that Japanese pop-culture became more and more popular in France in the beginning of the XXIst century is another element that explains this success.
If you are looking for a place where you can eat real Japanese food, run by people who actually come from the archipelago, this is the place to go. There, you will be able to taste not only sushi but also numerous other traditional meals such as ramen or soba in typical shops that will make you feel like you have travelled to the other side of the world. In the Rue Sainte Anne alone, you can find more than 20 restaurants, which have different specialties and prices so you should just pick the one that draws your attention depending on what you want to taste that day. Furthermore, if you want to cook yourself or have a snack, check-out the Japanese groceries such as Kioko, located on the 42 rue des Petits Champs (closed on Monday) where you should be able to find a wide range of authentic products. And of course, the bakery Aki, which is quite famous in Paris among Japan and cakes-lovers, is a must if you want to discover more about Japanese sweets(the Melon Pan for example, which name has nothing to do whith its taste) .
But nowadays, the Korean culture is also rising in that area as shown by the increasing number of restaurants and groceries dedicated to that country, and the big supermarket K-mart, 6-8 Rue Sainte Anne.
But it would be a mistake to think that only restaurants are a proof of these cultures’ presence in the area, and those of you looking for literature or even clothes will also be satisfied. The book-shop Junku for example (18 Rue Sainte Anne) is the perfect place not only for those coming from Japan and hoping to find books in there original language but also for those who just wish to learn more about this country.
So if you have a thing for Japanese and Korean culture, or even if you just want to see Paris’s multicultural aspect by yourself, why not take the subway to the station Pyramide (metro line 7 and 14) or Opéra (metro line 3, 7 and 8) and enjoy a walk in this little Japantown ?
On this exact street we have one beautiful short term rental apartment for 2 guests on the 3rd floor of an old and typical building, don’t miss it !