In recent years, the area around the famed Hotel du Nord on the Canal St. Martin has exploded into one of the most fun, vibrant, hip and lovely neighborhoods in Paris.
Pick a sunny afternoon, grab your wallet and your camera and head towards the Canal for an unforgettable promenade.
Within a few tightly packed streets, you’ll find some of the city’s best art, food and fashion. There are so many wonderful and unique bars, restaurants and shops that we can’t possibly list them all, but here are a few of our favorites.
Begin at the Metro: Jacques Bonsergent. Step out of the metro and walk down Rue de Lancry, then make a right onto Rue Yves Toudic and then left onto Rue de Marseille heading towards the Canal.
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Rue de Marseille
Start by grabbing a «get ready to run around» snack at arguably the best bakery in Paris: Du Pain et Des Idées – it’s perched on the corner of the street, and boasts a charming, classic boulangerie storefront, you can’t miss it.
Diagonally cross the street from the bakery on Rue de Marseille, you’ll find a great contemporary photography gallery: Galerie Philippe Chaume, stop in, check out the terrific images and also check out Philippe, he’s a charmingly scruffy young Frenchman.
Great Bars and Restos:
• La Chambre Aux Oiseaux (lunch/tea)
• Helmut Newcake (lunch/tea)
Some other great shops on Rue de Marseille are:
• Agnés B
• Medecine Douce (Jewelery)
• Wowo (great kids clothes)
Once you hit the Canal take a hairpin right onto:
You’ll see the landmark café Chez Prune, the first bastion of Bobo (Bourgeois Bohemian) chic in the neighborhood. Filled with hipsters at all hours of the day and night, it is a place to see and be seen. Skip the food, just grab a drink.
Then stop in at Espace Beaurepaire which features rotating art, design and fashion events. There is also a fantastic design and art bookshop, Artazart, which stocks an excellent selection of magazines and other items relating to graphic design and the creative industries.
Rue Beaurepaire also has a bunch of great shops with little known names, but great underground designers, we suggest you walk down the sidewalk Chez Prune is on and then back up the other one, which will bring you back to the edge of the Canal.
Then, facing the water, with Chez Prune at your back take a left up the the Quai and make a left on Rue des Vinaigriers:
On this street there are two places of note:
La Galerie Vègètale: a glorious combination art gallery, plant, flower and design shop. It’s in a great loft‐like space and feels like a secret garden.
Philippe Le Libraire: a cozy little book shop dedicated to comic books, graphic novels and independently published literary treats in both French and English. Philippe is shy but friendly and very knowledgeable about his books.
Then walk back up Rue des Vinaigriers towards the Canal, make a left and continue up Quai de Valmy where you’ll see some pastel colored boutiques:
Double back towards the fabulous footbridge bridge you passed before seeing the pastel shops. Climb up the steps and enjoy the view down the canal on both sides. If you’re lucky, a boat will be going through and you’ll get to see the locks in action!
Now that you’re on the other side of the Canal on Quai de Jemmapes go take a peek in the Hotel Du Nord. The hotel made famous in the legendary film by Marcel Carné. It’s now one the most fabulously trendy restaurants in all of Paris! A great place for dinner, but make a reservation because it’s packed every night!
Level with the bridge is Rue de la Grange aux Belles you can walk up a little ways until you reach Ten Belles, a tiny coffee shop serving some of the best coffee in paris (espresso and filter), as well as tasty treats for breakfast, lunch or just a snack.
On your way back toward the Canal if you want a fun culinary adventure, stop by Pink Flamingo Pizza on Rue Bichat, in the evenings they do a clever take away service: You order your pizza and they give a pink balloon and you tell them roughly where you are going to go sit by the Canal. Tie the balloon to your wrist or your belt, sit down by the water and relax, the delivery guy will find you by spotting the balloon! Picnics are a summertime tradition for those who live on the Canal, so take part!
• Hotel du Nord (Quai des Jemmapes)
• Le Verre Volé (Rue de Lancry)
• Madame Shawn (Rue Yves Toudic)
• La Cantine (Rue Bichat)
• Bob’s Juice Bar (Rue Lucien‐ Sampaix)
• Chez Mems (Rue de Marseille)
Rue de Lancry
Everything you need on one street!
Pharmacy, news agent, launderette, florist.
There are plenty of great food shops and traiteurs on rue de Lancry: Greek, Italian etc. There is also a great wine shop on the street and a lovely fruit and vegetable purveyor.
One tiny current drawback, no butcher or poissonnier right in the vicinity. There is a butcher on Rue du Chateau d’Eau, but it’s a bit of a hike when you’re tired after work.
But there are a few chain supermarkets:
• G20 on Rue Albert Thomas
• Franprix on Rue des Vinaigriers and another up the Canal on Quai des Jemmapes
• And of course, the giant Monoprix on Rue du Temple
There are also lots of little épiceries that are open late for last minute purchases.