By Dominique Gené, cultural journalism intern in collaboration with Le Pressoir.
Le R Premier is a francophone hip-hop artist and slam poet. Born Christian Hermès Seglobo Djohossou, Le R grew up in Benin before moving to Ottawa when he was a teenager. His song “La Cité des 333 Saints” from his first album Coeur de Pion received the Prix Trille Or 2015.
In this edition of Neighbourhood Hangouts, Le R gives us a tour of his favourite places in Vanier, where he’s been living for 10 years now.
Apt613: Where is somewhere to take a friend who is visiting Vanier for the first time?
Le R Premier: The Author’s Path. It’s in the Richelieu forest. It has images of well-known authors who wrote books, sometimes it will be poetry. So those authors are honoured in that way and I find it beautiful the type of writing you read along the path. Plus, it’s in a forest. So it has that quietness to it that I really like. You end up having a nature treat while still being in town.
How about your go-to food spot or restaurant?
Bobby’s Table. I really like the vibe — it has this diner vibe to it. It seems like one of those places that’s a landmark in Vanier. It’s been there for a while and the people, they’re nice too.
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Favourite place to get dessert?
Quelque Chose Patisserie. It’s a bakery, but they specialize in macarons. I’ll go out and grab a coffee sometimes, a croissant, or sometimes macarons. It’s not too far from where I live and the owner is very nice.
Where is a nice place to spend time alone?
The Author’s Path, again. It’s really quiet. Whenever I need that kind of solitude, that’s the right place. It’s two minutes walking for me to get there.
Where is somewhere you’re likely to bump into your friends?
Back at Bobby’s Table, I bump into my friends. I bump into them sometimes at Quelque Chose Patisserie. But I don’t go there so that I’ll bump into my friends. It just happens.
Tell us about a place in Vanier where you’ve performed before?
At Muséoparc Vanier during Le Festival des Sucres in September. It’s fun performing there. Festival des Sucres is a family event. You can really feel the community coming together at that event. I like that about it.
Which route do you take for a good long walk?
For a long walk, I go along the Ottawa River. Some people might argue, “Is this really Vanier?” but that’s where I go. And it’s not far from Vanier.
Where is your favourite mural or street art?
The mural at 261 Montreal Rd. I know some of the artists that worked on it, so I feel that connection to the mural. Plus when it was done, it brought the place to life.
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As a rapper and slam poet, where’s your favourite place to write?
The Riverain Park. Again, this is along the Ottawa River but that’s where I go. That’s my favourite place where I go and write when the season is good for that, like during summer, late spring and early fall.
Why is that your favourite place to write?
It’s because of nature. It’s along the river, so it’s really big as a park. You won’t get bored. It’s not like a place where you sit on the same bench. You can just walk, get inspired and then write. Due to the openness of the park, I like to go write there.