Ethicando : cultivating community in a café

So the French Socialist Party has taken over the executive power of the state in France… so let’s hear it for a little social and ethical thinking!

Ethicando, is a place with such values. A cooperative market that is “100% made in social Italy” as they put it.

6, rue de la Grange Aux Belles
75010 PARIS
+33 (0) 1 84 06 18 43
Métro : République ou Jacques Bonsergent

An interesting boutique/café and Chéri and I came across it the other day quite by accident. They have only been open for about a month and a half, but it is right in the middle of the quarter of near the Canal Saint Martin that is swiftly becoming über trendy among the “bobos” of Paris. (Bobo is short fo Bourgeois-Bohème, in other words “hipster”).

But this place goes beyond just a surface hipster movement. It is deeply rooted in concrete social efforts. They fight against economic criminality, and promote the cultivation of fairness. All of their products in their store and café are made either by troubled youth that work the lands confiscated from the mafia, or by prisoners who are in a reinsertion program that teaches them not only a new trade but also pays them a fair wage for their labor. One such of these products made by prison inmates is a line of chocolates of which one product has even won an award for it’s quality and taste! The wine they sell also comes from confiscated Italian mafia vineyards, and Chéri and I tested one bottle which was absolutely divine. There are also products made by groups of unemployed women or communities.

Everything here has more than one purpose. The purpose which the customer puts to use, and the purpose of being a way to make abetter life for someone else back in Italy.

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We were drawn in by the simplistic charm and “récup” attitude of the place, the clear and bright sunny nature of the interior, the happy attitude of the guy behind the bar, and the interesting double personality of the place. Is it a boutique? Is it a café?

It is both. But these aren’t just any products. they are carefully chosen for their style, taste and from their organic and ethical origins.

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The atmosphere is inviting, where you can hop up on a stool at the coffee bar for a bite of pie and an espresso, or sit and read in the book corner, come in for a fresh lunch, there is even a common interior courtyard that they share with the people who live in the building which when the weather is nice adds a lovely community feel to the whole place.

Wasn’t this the original role of cafés in Paris? To cultivate community? I like this return to roots and an idea of simpler values. Let’s hope the new French government follows this same line of thinking.

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