There is a special place at Fredriksberg in Copenhagen called Little Paris, not only because the Lycée Francais Prins Henrik is in the area, but Værnedamsvej has a kind of Parisian charm. Even the vet shop is called Le Chic Dog. Enjoy Little Paris, Copenhagen.
The name of the 180 meters short street was given after Werner Dam, a German mercenary, who in the early 1700s opened a pub on the corner of Vesterbrogade. At that time, it was a mud road between Vesterbro and Gammel Kongevej. In 1854, a private school for boys called the Schneekloth School was established. It closed in 1967, and a few years later, in 1972, the French School moved in and has since been expanded to accommodate a growing number of students.
The street was known for being home to numerous butcher shops that served their discerning clientele up until the first half of the 20th century. The residents of Frederiksberg would go to Værnedamsvej and buy high-quality food and drinks from Juuls Vin og Spiritus, a liquor shop that has been offering the best of spirits and drinks, and even absinthe, in Copenhagen since 1926. Værnedamsvej is perhaps one of Copenhagen’s most likeable streets.
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Little Paris, Copenhagen
Walking down the Værnedamsvej, between the hip area of Vesterbro and the posh area of Frederiksberg, is like being in Paris’s first arrondissement. When locals want to trade Scandinavian style for Paris’s romantic vibes, all they have to do is ride their bikes down to this narrow Parisian-like street.
Scurry children on their way to school are speaking only French and at Café Viggo guests chain-smoke Gauloises over pavement coffees. Shop names like ‘Tout Paris’ and ‘Le Gourmand’ is also evidence that Danish is not first language here. It’s Copenhagen’s Little Paris.
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The Parisian transformation
Værnedamsvej is less than 10 minutes away from the city center. Yet it feels like it’s miles away with its French restaurants, cafes and flower shops. There is something pretentious about Little Paris. Artists, movie directors and designers with their woolen caps and MacBooks gather here, all seemingly knowing each other.
The area first began its Parisian transformation in 1973, when the French International School Lycée Français Prins Henrik moved to Frederiksberg Allé in central Copenhagen. But it wasn’t until the early 2000s that restaurants and boutiques started popping up one after the other while adding to the French atmosphere that visitors absorb.
From early in the morning the street brims with life. Start your day with a cup of coffee and a flaky croissant at the elegant 1950s style decorated café Granola. At Helge‘s ost, you can by cheese and delicatessen.
Popular cafes and restaurants
It’s really like being in a French village. It used to have a French bakery too. Now French parents regret it’s gone. However, at the bistro Falernum the waiters speak French and serve the rarest tartare on the street. Once a year there are market days and the little street is invaded by 6,000 – 8,000 people from all over the city.
Les Trois Cochons is one of the area’s most popular restaurants and opened its doors in 2005. Housed in a former butcher shop, the stylish restaurant is known for bringing southern French cuisine to Copenhagen.
Not far away is the Grand Teatret cinema that hosts French Mondays; great French-inspired coffee and shopping can also be found at places such as the “uncompromisingly French” Pastis and the low-key bistrotheque L’Education Nationale. It’s ideal for a long lunch or dinner – and on Sundays there are sometimes live performances.
The little brasserie Je t’aime was established four years ago by Henrik Breum. He serves salads including light beetroot, pear, goat cheese and walnut, delicious with veal tartare salad.
Allow yourself to forget that you’re in the heart of Scandinavia. It won’t take long before you’re enchanted by the street’s unique Parisian character.
Little Paris, Copenhagen, written by Tor Kjolberg