Canal Saint Martin draws a trendy crowd to its chic bars and appetising bistros, starting with Chez Prune. République, the point where the Canal resurfaces after having travelled underground from Bastille, forms the frontier with the Marais.
Its northern artery, the Rue du Faubourg du Temple, is scruffy and cosmopolitan. Here you’ll find cheap grocers and discount stores and stalwarts of Paris nightlife such as Le Gibus and vintage dancehall La Java. It leads to Belleville’s Chinese quarter and the place Sainte Marthe with its quirky boutiques and cafés. Heading north along the Canal, the must-visit den of multidisciplinary artistic creation is Point Ephemère. Here the Canal widens into Bassin de la Villette and Canal de l’Ourcq.
When you’ve crossed the old 1885 hydraulic lift bridge, pont de Crimée, you’re in Parc de la Villette. This is where you can visit science and music museums, picnic on the lawns and take in concerts at big venues such as the Cité de la musique, the Cabaret Sauvage, Trabendo and the Zénith.
You’ll find very good bistros in the area. Maison Becquey is one of them and a very cosy place with fantastic dishes. Poulet fermier aux champignons et herbes, tartare de boeuf and a lot more. Also good wine and beer.
Where: Maison Becquey, 34 Quai de la Marne, reservations: +33 1 45 26 97 79