Looking for an alternative way to experience the French capital? Explore a handful of India in the spicy and colourful “Indian garden” hidden in the city’s 10th district
Let me guess. You always had a thing for spicy food, exotic dance moves or the movie-like charm of hazel-eyed beauties? Then I know just the right place to take you to. No, it’s not India, we’ll be staying in Paris.
Probably the most exotic of Parisian passages, Passage Brady is your standing invitation to discover the new, exciting and incredible world of India.
Built in 1828, it was listed as one of Paris’ historical monuments in 2002 and for a good reason.
What makes Passage Brady unique is that Paris simply doesn’t exist there! Beyond the passage doors awaits India – with its spicy flavours, flamboyant colours, distant perfumes and local vendors.
The relatively small surface of the passage (216 m length) is big enough to give refuge to an Indian deli, a beauty parlor, some sari stores, a hairdresser’s & barber’s shop and a good number of Indian and Pakistani restaurants you might want to try. The first passage eateries were founded by Indian immigrants from Pondicherry (a.k.a. The French Riviera of the East) around 1970.
For the uneducated eye, the local Indian market looks like a curiosity cabinet with items for sale.
You will come across a diverse array of curios – from shiny bracelets, aromatic incents and Bollywood movies to traditional beauty products (henna, shampoos and essential oils), spice bouquets, rice mixes and strange beverages.
If you are a thrill-seeker, why not even venture the 6 € treat of having your hair styled by a local hairdresser?
Brady is also the Passage to be, if you need to buy a sari for a costume party, get some fresh ginger for a hot and spicy Chicken Tikka Masala or just enjoy a walk in an exciting new world.
Following the logic of all passages, this one too serves as a connection between two other streets, harboring their own strange and captivating worlds. Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis is famous for its Turkish shops and fast food restaurants (with their traditional low wooden chairs and tables), whereas Boulevard de Strasbourg is the hub of African hairdressers (note that all the posters on the window shops feature only dark-skinned models).
Take your time to explore these areas, too, after rejoicing the discovery of the passage.
You should be advised, however, that you’ll find nothing classy or upscale about Le Brady.
The passage is like a worldly temple of India – a tad wasted, but with lots of character and soul.
So if you have the Kerouacian spirit sneaking somewhere in you, be sure you’ll find this unusual trip worth taking.
NB! Keep in mind that on Sundays the area is less animated since only the restaurants are open.
How to get there: Passage Brady
Entry from 43, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis (Look for the signs “Passage Brady”)
Metro line: 4
Metro stop: Château D’Eau