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Sunday 4th September – 12:30 – 13:30 EST
Centered on and around Rue Saint-Anne and Rue de Richelieu, today Little Tokyo is where Parisians come for culinary voyages. The neighborhood is known for its concentration of Japanese travel agencies, food shops and restaurants – including the oldest and most authentic such as Takara (opened in 1963) and Issé, the city’s first izakaya (a Japanese bistro specialising in sake), but also many that embody the love affair between Japanese and French cultures, like the cheese shop Fromagerie Hisada, founded by the first Japanese woman to become a member of France’s most ancient cheese guilds and confréries, and the Ramen restaurant Kodawari, founded by a French pilot who fell in love with Japanese cuisine.
But Little Tokyo is about more than Japan, and has attracted globally minded entrepreneurs of all kinds, from the founders of Librairie Voyageurs du Monde, the most comprehensive travel bookstore in Paris, to the spice hunters Olivier Roellinger of Épices Roellinger on Rue Sainte-Anne and Oliver Derenne of Le Comptoir des Poivres nearby – men who have transformed French gastronomy by introducing flavours from around the world. Other men who have changed French gastronomy include the British founders of Willi’s Wine Bar and the restaurant Juveniles on Rue Richelieu, who were the first to introduce Parisian palates to New World wines. For anyone who claims that Paris isn’t a global city like New York or London, Little Tokyo is a neighbourhood that proves otherwise.