This is the third of four profiles of Seattle neighborhoods that are somewhat off the beaten track (i.e., Downtown and Pioneer Square will not be featured, sorry guys!). This installment is a guest post from Madison Valley resident Dominique Barni (@dominiqueb), who will be enjoying her first trip in many years to the “real” Paris this summer.
Though very clearly planted in Seattle, between the waterfront of Madison Park and the nightlife of Capitol Hill, there’s more than just a little touch of France in the tiny neighborhood of Madison Valley. “Little Paris,” as I like to call it, is home to four French restaurants on one block (on Madison St between 28th Ave E & 29th Ave E), along with a patisserie and a local butcher. [Ed. Note: This “Little Paris” enclave will even celebrate Bastille Day on July 14 with gourmet food, wine tasting and live entertainment! Check out MadisonValley.org for more details.]
See: No visit to Madison Valley would be complete without a visit to Henrietta’s Hats. The small shop has occupied the same storefront for over twenty years, and the proprietress, Henrietta Price, remains Seattle’s go-to-gal for custom chapeaux. Whether you’re in the market for haute headwear (say, a deluxe Kentucky Derby hat or Easter bonnet) or just want a peek at Henrietta’s handmade creations, friends report that it’s worth stopping by the shop to admire these works of art.
Do: The southern end of the Washington Park Arboretum is just around the corner from Madison Valley, with easy access – less than 5 minutes on foot – to the Japanese Tea Garden (admission required) or winding trails off of Arboretum Drive (which is closed to motor vehicles, but well trafficked by joggers and cyclists on sunny weekends). For the ultimate “Little Paris” experience, pick up coffee and fresh baked goods from Essential Baking Company and enjoy them from your pick of park benches along the paved and unpaved paths.
Eat: Home to some of Seattle’s best neighborhood restaurants, it’s hard to go wrong food-wise in the Valley. Thierry Rautureau’s Luc (a bistro-style sibling to the swankier Rover’s) offers classic French fare (steak frites, trout amandine, the croque madame pictured above) and wine on tap, and the Kobe Beef burger (with brie!) at Voila! is incroyable. The Basque-inspired Harvest Vine and locally-sourced, sustainable, vegetarian (and delicious) Cafe Flora are other local favorites.