Frédéric Sonntag is a French playwright and theatre director, based in Paris. His play George Kaplan, has been staged in 12 countries, and has won the Prix Godot des Lycéens.
My favourite view in my neighbourhood is of Aboukir Oasis, a vertical garden designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc, at the corner of the Rue des Petits Carreaux.
Where to live
The Sentier, otherwise known as the 2nd arrondissement of Paris and, historically, for its textile industry, is a neighbourhood that connects many of capital’s highlights: Les Halles, the historic covered market, and the Grands Boulevards, the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre.
Here, you are right in the centre of Paris, a 10-minute walk from Opéra, the Comédie Française and the iconic Jardin des Tuileries.
I have lived in the Sentier for 17 years now, more specifically, in a tiny block nicknamed La Petite Egypte after the local street names: Rue du Caire, Rue du Nil, Rue d’Aboukir and Rue d’Alexandrie.
Where to have brunch
Tucked away behind Place du Caire, at the end of a narrow passage of the same name, is the elegant Café Edgar — a hotel as well as a restaurant. Due to its location and commitment to cooking only fresh seasonal produce, it is the ideal place for a terrace brunch in the summer. In the winter, you’ll find its trendy interior design inviting.
Where to spend a rainy afternoon
The 2nd arrondissement is characterised by 19th-century covered arcades known as passages; indeed there are more here than in any other Parisian neighbourhood. Walk in the footsteps of a Surrealist and see Paris through the eyes of philosopher Walter Benjamin, who made these arcades one of the central focuses of his work. My ideal stroll on a rainy afternoon takes me to the Passage Choiseul, a place to reimagine oneself as a fin-de-siècle flâneur.
Where to go on Saturday mornings
On weekends I’ll head to Rue du Nil, a tiny street which, over the past few years, has been informally taken over by Chef Gregory Marchand. After opening his restaurant Le Frenchie there in 2009, Marchand collaborated with his most trusted suppliers to open a wine shop as well as a traiteur, from where you can buy meat, fish, and fresh produce of a quality traditionally only available to upmarket restaurants. There is also a bakery in the street, the Boulangerie Terroirs d’Avenir, which sells — in my opinion — the best croissants in Paris.
Where to unwind
A 10-minute stroll from the Sentier via the Rue d’Aboukir, all the way to the elegant Place des Victoires, is the Jardin du Palais Royal. It is a vibrant place which hosts the Comédie Française, the Ministère de la Culture, and the famous Colonnes de Buren, a controversial contemporary structure created in 1986.
You’ll find many antiques shops in the arcades around the nearby Louvre, and the garden is a small corner of greenery and peace in the heart of Paris.
Where to eat lunch
Next to the Palais Royal is the Quartier Japonais, which has a wealth of traditional restaurants that know how to produce a quick and flavoursome meal in the lunchtime rush. Every restaurant has its own specialty: udon, ramen, soba, sushi and so on. They offer lunch menus at reasonable prices.
Where to be seen
Be prepared to fight for the privilege of sitting at one of the laid-back café and wine bar terraces on the Rue Montorgueil, a trendy pedestrian street. Seats are especially prized by Parisians on sunny days — and in all weather on Friday nights.
Where to be mystified
Located on the Rue Mandar, the Bûcheron Club is perhaps one of the most enigmatic shop fronts in Paris, its name and outlook both reminiscent of the world of the Twin Peaks TV show. You could walk many times past this address and still not know what it is supposed to host. A bar? A hotel? A mysterious recruiting agency? Perhaps its quaint-looking counters really hide a secret portal to a parallel universe. (In fact, it is a temping agency).
Where to buy a book
The Librairie Petite Egypte bookshop opened about a year ago in my street — which, as a writer, I thought was a stroke of luck. Thanks to the Librairie Petite Egypte, the neighbourhood has recovered the use of a true independent and well-stocked bookshop. It organises readings with new and established writers to match their great selection of contemporary literature. Their youth and comic books section is also a must-see. One can sit on a bench outside the shop, provided for customers by owners Alexis and Claire, and from there admire the Aboukir Oasis.
Where to work out
My lack of time will often trump my determination to work out. However, my partner never misses a pilates class at Studio Equilibre Pilates — a little studio perched high up on the Rue Montmartre, behind the Bourse. The studio’s excellent teachers speak both French and English, and give lessons in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. You can attend classes without subscription.
Where to be a VIP
The half-hidden Club Silencio is located right by a locksmith whose key-shaped neon sign it could easily claim to itself. You may one day be lucky enough to be invited to one of the club’s mysterious private art events around happy hour — unless you’d prefer to sign up to its exclusive, year-long membership scheme.
Photographs: Alexandre Guirkinger; Martin Argyroglo; Patrick Aventurier/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images; Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images; Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images; Getty Images; Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images; Samuel Kirszenbaum