Who needs to go to Amsterdam? Paris has its own lovely little canal, in the North-East of the city! Built in the 19th century, the Canal Saint Martin is perfect for a romantic and scenic 4,5 kilometers walk. The neighborhood is a trendy spot full of « bobos », but it still remained really authentic. From one of the best bakeries in Paris to the most stylish concept stores, here are my top things to do near Canal Saint Martin.
FOOD & RESTAURANTS
La Vache dans les Vignes
46, Quai de Jemmapes
This little shop is heaven on earth for cheese and wine lovers. Selim and Marwen, typical french guys passionate about their products, are here to give you all the advice you need. France has more than 370 cheeses and 500 wines, so here is a good place to start tasting them all!
Le Petit Cambodge
20, rue Alibert
Just a few steps away from the Canal Saint Martin, in rue Alibert, you can find the best Bo Buns in Paris. This trendy and friendly restaurant is also affordable (10 to 16 euros for a hearty, delicious BoBun)
71, Quai de Valmy
This traditional French bistro is an icon of the neighborhood. The dishes are authentic and delicious, the prices are reasonable. My all-time favorite is the Sunday morning brunch, for 21€ (You should book in advance). You can also just have a sit and a drink on the terrace, watching the boats passing by on the canal.
Du Pain et des Idées
34, rue Yves Toudic
Looking for THE best viennoiseries in town? This traditional French boulangerie is a heaven for gourmets. You will smell the amazing fragrance of freshly baked bread, tarts and brioche from a block away… Try the famous escargots – not real snails, but an amazing puff spiral, with pistachio, raisin, cassis or lemon nougat flavor.
CAFÉS & BARS
Le comptoir général
80, Quai de Jemmapes
This amazing place, hard to define, is what us Frenchies call a « bric à brac » (jumble). In this former barn, you can have a punch or an African beer, while discovering the incredible decoration. African masks, dinosaurs bones, stuffed animals, and a tropical greenhouse… Avoid crowded weekends to discover this place full of surprises.
24, rue des Vinaigriers
Do you have an essay to write or an exam to read for? If vacation also means revision, Craft is the place to go. Free wifi, power outlets and good coffee, and you can go for a procrastination-free day of work.
177, Quai de Valmy
Haven’t had a chance to visit the South of France? Do not worry, La Méduse (the jellyfish) brings it in Paris. Mediterranean decoration, delicious tapas, and above all inventive and delightful cocktails… It is a bit expensive for a lunch or dinner, but do sit to sip a cocktail, you won’t regret it.
244, rue du Faubourg Saint Martin
There’s an authentic and humble atmosphere in this little bar, two streets away from the canal Saint Martin. The drinks are affordable, and the musical and friendly atmosphere make it a hidden gem. They have small concerts on Fridays, blues or folk jam sessions on Saturdays and Thursdays, open mic on Wednesdays. Avoid Tuesdays if you don’t speak French (stand-up comedy shows).
55, Quai de Valmy
Babel is a beautiful and eclectic concept store, home to lots of well-chosen rare brands and objects. From Marseille soap to temporary tattoos, you’ll find countless curiosities, including lots of « Made in France » items.
83, Quai de Valmy
This bookstore is a must for bookworms and art lovers. You will find an incredible diversity of original books, about arts, architecture, travel, food, but also magazines, accessories, stationary… The common point to all those items? You won’t find them anywhere else. They also exhibit the work of young graphists and designers.
The Green Factory
17, rue Lucien Sampaix
Minutes away from the canal, this beautiful little shop offers glass-mount plants and terrariums. Those lovely tiny landscapes need little room and little care: they are perfect if you want to bring some life in a little flat.
Antoine et Lili
95, Quai de Valmy
You can’t miss those three colorful shops on Quai de Valmy! Dedicated to accessories, clothes, decoration, toys and other treasures, you will find awesome souvenirs and presents to bring home. Exploring those three shops is one of the nicest things to do near Canal Saint Martin.
ARTS & CULTURE
Le Point Ephémère
22, Quai Valmy
This former warehouse used to be an artist’s squat. Now it has become permanent and highly popular. You can have a drink here while tasting the underground and artistic atmosphere and the eclectic exhibitions.
Le Cent Quatre
5, rue Curial
This huge building is an amazing artistic center, home to lots and lots of young talents. Exhibitions, concerts, ballets, plays, street art, etc… Whether you are an artist, an art connoisseur or just a passer-by, there is always something to do in this mixed and friendly place.
Parc de la Villette
211, avenue Jean Jaurès
The canal Saint Martin ends at Bassin de la Villette, where Canal de l’Ourcq begins. Do not hesitate to keep walking until Parc de la Villette, a beautiful big urban park. You can walk its alleys and enjoy the different atmospheres, but also visit the Science and Industry museum. There is an amazing area dedicated to children.
In summer, you can enjoy an open-air cinema festival, yoga lessons, circus displays… Lots of events are free, just check the program online.
The neighborhood of Canal Saint Martin has a lot to offer! I am sure those top things to do near Canal Saint Martin will keep you busy for a nice afternoon full of discoveries!