The 14th arrondissement isn’t particularly known for its cool cafés and interesting nightlife hotspots, but now there’s at least one sure bet at the Porte d’Orléans. Opened in July and officially inaugurated today, Poinçon is a café-restaurant and cultural space for artistic, musical and social events run by the same team as Le Bellevilloise in the 20th.
The octagonal brick and stone building was originally built in 1867 as the Gare de Montrouge for the Petite Ceinture, the local railway that was slowly replaced by the metro and finally put out of service in 1934. After laying empty for 74 years, lobbying by historic societies and neighborhood associations finally convinced the local municipality to give new life to the old station. It has been completely renovated and opened up, with 400m² of space on the ground floor and mezzanine, and 250m² of terrace overlooking a disused section of the Petite Ceinture.
Located on a busy avenue and surrounded by modern buildings, it certainly stands out among its neighbors. For lunch there are menus at €19 and €23, while at night there is a large selection of small dishes to order tapas-style with two or three vegetarian options. Acoustic jazz brunches are every Sunday and holidays. The calendar of events changes each week, but there is a regular “Locavore Marché” each Thursday night, DJ sets on Saturday nights, and film screenings, book signings, philosophy debates, and liver performances on other evenings.
I attended the opening festivities with Canadian transplant Lily Heise (pictured below), who came all the way down from Montmartre to check it out. It’s hard to get Right Bank Parisians to cross the Seine after dark, but she was impressed with the chic-yet-cozy setting and the relaxed vibe. Add this venue to your smartphone, and consider it a great excuse to check out the south side of Paris (Montparnasse Cemetery, Catacombes, Liberation of Paris Museum, Parc Montsouris, Puces des Vanves flea market, La Petite Ceinture, etc).
124 ave Générale Leclerc, 14th arr.
Metro Porte d’Orléans
Open noon until midnight Wed-Thurs, until 2am Fri-Sat, and until 5pm Sundays.