When Parisienne actress Audrey Tautou strolls the Canal Saint-Martin dressed in a red 40s-style dress for the film Amélie Poulain, our hearts yearn for a nostalgia most of us are too young to know. It is more than just a feeling. The canal is still a series of locks with bridges that rise or swing, bringing road traffic to a stand still as barges make their way up to the Canal de l’Ourcq or down to the Seine.
Once an industrial hub, the area is now one of the trendiest, most dynamic quartiers in the city, with creative restaurants, fun fashion, and bars bursting with boisterous crowds. A stroll along the canal from Stalingrad to Richard Lenoir metro stations is a promise of picture-perfect Paris, complete with picnickers, swans, pétanque players, and even the occasional accordionist.
Loulou Les Âmes Arts sells vintage finds alongside art and artisanat from local artists and crafts people. From funky hats to ancient jam jars, old photos to new illustrations, it is the perfect place to pick up original souvenirs you won’t find anywhere else. And concept store Babel boasts other found treasures, vintage-inspired gifts, and affordable fashions.
Hôtel du Nord is a local icon thanks to the classic French film of the same name. Today, it is a bustling bistro with both a decor and a menu that exude the same vintage-y vibes as the neighborhood.
Le Comptoir Général is the coolest club on the block; a coworking space by day with an old-time, other-worldly feel and live music venue by night. Sunday brunches attract a diverse crowd from 3 to 103!
Designers and architects from all of Europe cross the canal to spend hours browsing the shelves at Artazart bookstore. While Chez Prune on the next corner is a very popular café that draws French films stars, authors, and intellectuals who come to soak up some rare sunshine on the big, open terrasse.
A quick detour down the rue de Beaurepaire is rewarded with the eclectic selection of movies at Potemkine, original art at Espace Beaurepaire and an inspirational collection of male-centric fashion at The Next Door concept store.
Café Mellotron is a global radio station and craft coffee shop all rolled into one, with a popular night club that draws internationally acclaimed DJs looking for a little more air time. Around the corner, the street Yvan Toudic is home to the uber-trendy and uniquely Parisian street wear brand Club 75 and the irresistible Du Pain et des Idées bakery.
The discrete yet outrageous embroidered brooches made by locals Macon & Lesquoy have gained international acclaim and the best selection is just across the street at their flagship shop. Head back up the rue de Marseille for more shop-’til-you-drop fashion boutiques before finding yourself right back in front of Chez Prune.
A bit further down the canal, Make My Lemonade is a creative workshop space that offers sewing and design classes, as well as a nicely curated selection souvenirs and some original fashion design. There is even a café in the back for a quiet break.
As lunch rolls around, head to IMA, a vegetarian café with food so good carnivores won’t miss the meat.
Loulou Les Âmes Arts – 104 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010
Babel – 55 Quai de Valmy, 75010
Hôtel du Nord – 102 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010
Le Comptoir General – 80 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010
Artazart – 83 Quai de Valmy, 75010
Chez Prune – 38 rue Beaurepaire, 75010
Potemkine – 30 rue Beaurepaire, 75010
Espace Beaurepaire – 28 rue Beaurepaire, 75010
The Next Door – 10 rue Beaurepaire, 75010
Café Mellotron – 6 rue Beaurepaire, 75010
Club 75 – 32 rue Yves Toudic, 75010
Du Pain et des Idées – 34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010
Macon & Lesquoy – 37 rue Yves Toudic, 75010
Make My Lemonade – 61 Quai de Valmy, 75010
IMA – 39 Quai de Valmy, 75010
- For a coffee and design by the Canal check out Residence Kann.
- Paris’ most famous cafe, Holybelly, is close by and delicious.
- Check out another great neighborhood the Goutte D’Or.
Written by Sylvia Sabes for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy, ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.