Walking around the Gare de l’Est and Gare du Nord, two of the great Parisian train stations, you will surely notice many Indian establishments in the nearby streets of the 10th arrondissement. The La Chapelle district, nicknamed Little Jaffna, was indeed used as a gathering place for Indian, as well as Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi and Pakistani migrants in the 80s. This influence is still largely perceptible today, so get ready for an interesting and unusual visit.
What to see in the Indian district?
The Sri Manika Vinayakar Alayam temple
Behind an unassuming facade, only noticeable thanks to a “Ganesh Temple” sign, hides a Hindu temple that perfectly mirrors the inside of those you would find in Southern Asia.
Colorful decorations, painted god statues and sanctified altars cover every inch of the premises, where religious ceremonies in sanskrit are still regularly carried out.
Originally built in 1985 and located in the rue Philippe de Girard a couple of hundred meters away, it is the oldest Hindu temple in France.
However, in 2010, it was moved to 17 rue Pajol, where you’ll be able to not only discover the authentic inside of a temple, as well as buy protective amulets and participate in purification rituals if you so desire.
The passage Brady
The passage Brady, which was built between 1825 and 1828, was since cut into two parts following the construction of the Boulevard de Strasbourg.
The covered part, between the boulevard and the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis, was then claimed by Indian and Pakistani shop owners since the 60s.
Not only will you find several restaurants, but also the Velan grocery shop, the oldest one of the passage, which is still in activity today.
Even if it stands a bit apart from the district, the passage Brady is still perfect to have a first dive into the Indian-Pakistani scents and flavors.
What to do in the Indian district?
Shopping in the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis
All along the Gare du Nord, the rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis is full to the brim with Indian, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan restaurants and shops, offering a completely surreal traveling experience in the middle of Paris.
Clothing shops (selling sarees, between others), interior design shops, Bollywood movies shops and traditional jewelry shops all mesh together until you won’t know where to look anymore.
With the scents coming out of the many restaurants and grocery shops, this dive into the Indian district is truly incredible.
Grocery shopping at VS.CO Cash and Carry
Speaking of the rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, this grocery shop is the biggest around: because of its size and range of products, it is the ideal place to look for spices or traditional ingredients (lentils, rice, vegetables, dried fruits, condiments…) to prepare a typical Indian dish.
You will also be able to find ayurvedic products (from a traditional medicine based on plants), cosmetics and incense.
The shop is very well-known and appreciated in the district, so don’t hesitate to stop there, even if just to get an idea of what a traditional supermarket looks like.
Taking part in the celebration of Ganesh
Also known as Ganesh Chaturthi, this religious celebration is, like the name implies, a festival honoring the god Ganesh, generally represented as a man with an elephant head.
For this occasion, a colorful parade with flowers is organized by the Sri Manika Vinayakar Alayam temple and walks all around the district carrying the temple’s statue.
This celebration takes place at the end of August or at the beginning of September and enables everyone, both believers and onlookers, to admire the procession, which opens with dancers and wind and percussion instruments.
A celebration not to be missed to fully immerse yourself in Indian customs.
Where to eat in the Indian district?
Ganesha sweets: for the traditional pastries
Google review: 4.2/5
Sweet or savory, if you’re looking for small traditional snacks, you’ve found the perfect place.
Ganesha Sweets specializes in pastries from southern India and sells both little sweets like laddus or jangris, and savory snacks like samosas and grilled cashew nuts.
Everything may be either eaten on the spot or to-go. The wide range of products makes the choice hard, but no matter what your final decision is, you won’t be disappointed.
Address: 16 rue Perdonnet, 75010 Paris
Krishna Bhavan: for the vegetarian dishes
Google reviews: 4.1/5
This exclusively vegetarian and vegan restaurant offers a wide array of traditional dishes that will doubtlessly please all food lovers.
Soups, samosas and various fritters as starters, bread, curries and the rices as main course, not to mention the huge number of desserts and drinks… no matter the choice you make, you will leave fully satisfied.
Address: 24 rue Cail, 75010 Paris
Website: https://krishnabhavan.com/ (in French only)
Dishny: for the traditional flavors
Google reviews: 4.3/5
Warm and friendly, the Dishny restaurant also offers a wide range of typical dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, and both well-known and lesser-known ones, as well as lots of both traditional and European drinks.
A huge mouth-watering choice, all of which for a reasonable price: it’ll be easy to enjoy yourself until your stomach is full!
Address: 12 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris
Website: http://www.dishny.fr/ (in French only)
Where to stay in the Indian district?
Sure Hotel by Best Western, Paris Gare du Nord
Located in the middle of the district, the Sure Hotel will warmly welcome you for a visit or a prolonged stay at Little Jaffna.
A few steps away from the rue Louis Blanc, the rue Perdonnet and the rue Cail, the soundproof rooms with private bathrooms can easily be used as a central base during a walk in the neighborhood.
Prices: starting from €77 per night
Address: 224 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin, 75010 Paris
Hôtel de l’Aqueduc
Just at the border of the district, the fully renovated Hôtel de l’Aqueduc rents out less expensive rooms with all the comfort of a three-star hotel.
Located in a quiet street, its clean rooms can lend themselves to a well-earned break after the buzz of the Indian district.
Prices: starting from €55 per night
Address: 10 rue Philippe de Girard, 75010 Paris
Down the end of the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis stands the Hôtel Habituel, which will provide you with wide air-conditioned rooms and a nice room to spend the night in.
You’ll be able to enjoy the bar and its ideal location, thanks to which you will only have to walk up the street to discover the district of Little Jaffna.
Prices: from €80 per night
Address: 158 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris
St Christopher’s Inn
If you have to do with a tight budget and are not afraid of proximity, St Christopher’s Inn rents out individual rooms and dormitories with common bathrooms, only a few steps away from the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis.
Additionally, you’ll be able to enjoy the bar and the numerous activities organized by the personnel.
Prices: from €44 per night for private rooms, €22.90 per night for dormitories
Address: 5 rue de Dunkerque 75010
Timhotel Paris Gare du Nord
The quiet and well-decorated rooms at the Timhotel guarantee a relaxing and peaceful moment for a discounted price only a few minutes away from the Indian district.
Located right in front of the Gare du Nord and near the Gare de l’Est, its ideal position makes it a perfect resting place for all travelers.
Prices: from €57 per night
Address: 37 rue Saint-Quentin, 75010 Paris
How to get to the Indian district?
Thanks to its proximity to two train stations, the Indian district is easily accessible via several metro and regional train lines.
- RER B: Gare du Nord station
- RER E: Gare de l’Est or Gare Magenta station
- Metro line 2: La Chapelle station
- Metro line 4: Gare du Nord or Gare de l’Est station
- Metro line 5: Gare du Nord or Gare de l’Est station
- Metro line 7: Gare de l’Est, Château-Landon or Louis Blanc station
- Metro line 7B: Louis Blanc station
There are also many bus stops surrounding the district.
For the passage Brady, which stands a little aside from the rest, you may also stop at the Château-d’Eau station on the metro line 4.
Mona knows Paris like the back of her hand. Bars, restaurants, hotels… whether you want to sleep, eat, party or just take a walk in Paris, Mona gives you her best advice. Follow her lead, she will gladly give you all her good tips and best addresses!