Paris Bourse, Rue Sentier, Rue Saint-Anne
ABOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD . . .
The Second is the city’s smallest arrondissement and its most business oriented, with a great concentration of commerce and enterprise. It’s also the least interesting architecturally, but there is a lot going on behind the 100-year-old walls of its mostly nondescript buildings. One hint is the concentration of office workers and food trucks on the streets at lunchtime. The Second is something of a media center with headquarters for the wire service Agence France Presse and Les Echos, the most important business paper, blocks apart. One of the few remarkable buildings is the pseudo-Greek temple that once housed the Paris Bourse (stock exchange). It now hosts a cutting-edge restaurant on the ground floor, Le Terroir Parisien, an example of how the French recycle the obsolete. Another example of repurposing is Rue Sentier, a street that winds through the district. Once the epicenter of the garment and textile center, it has been relabeled “Silicon Sentier” for the many tech startups that have occupied the old factory spaces. For a taste of old Paris, see the few remaining 19th century arcades – predecessors to our shopping malls – filled with vintage and high-end clothing shops, antique shops, bookstores, cafés and restaurants. Must-sees include Passage des Panoramas, Galerie Vivienne, Galerie Colbert, arcades filled with beautiful boutiques and small restaurants, and the historical Bibliothèque Nationale on rue Vivienne with its vast 18th-century Oval Reading Room. The Second is also a center of Asian food in Paris; Rue Sainte-Anne offers several blocks of Japanese and Korean restaurants and Asian food shops that are always packed for lunch. Many are open late at night and draw both young Parisians and Asian business executives.