Restaurant Reviews

Exploring Paris’ Canal de l’Ourcq

by Lily Heise

It’s taken some time for the increasing coolness of the Canal Saint-Martin to drift up to Paris’ second canal, le Canal de l’Ourcq. More laid back and local than its southern sister, you won’t find trendy boutiques up on the Canal de l’Ourcq.

The canal pools at Paris Plages on the Canal de l'Ourcq.
Paris Plages

Instead, over the course of the last decade a number of great bars and restaurants have popped up along this alternative water body. Its outpost of Paris Plages has also drawn additional numbers in summer months.

The words 'La Baignade' (bathing area) painted on the fence of Paris Plages on the Canal de l'Ourcq (left) and the canal pools where people can swim in summer (right).
Paris Plages
The counter of Paname Brewing Company, the popular craft beer bar on the canal in Paris.
Paname Brewing Company

It’s simply a great place to stroll with fewer crowds than the Seine or the Canal Saint-Martin. Here’s where you can take in this Canal’s relaxed charm:

The colorful graffiti along the canals up in the 19th arrondissement of Paris along the canal (left) and the canal lined by a makeshift beach (right).
Canal de l’Ourcq street art / Paris Plages

La Rotonde Stalingrad

You could almost spend the whole day and night at this multi-faceted establishment. Presiding over the beginning of the Canal de l’Ourcq on la Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad, the inside of this historic building has been taken over by La Trattoria by Gustu, an attractive contemporary restaurant specializing in Corsican gastronomy.

La Rotonde at Stalingrad in Paris, a favorite bar close to the Canal de l'Ourcq.
La Rotonde Stalingrad

Founder Christophe Poligani has sourced the best local ingredients and producers from his native Île de Beauté, which feature exquisite small plates, fresh pastas, and indulgent pizzas. The atrium of the building is home to a stylish bar serving Corsican-inspired drinks and classics cocktails.

Inside La Rotonde bar, a popular bar close to the canal.
La Trattoria at La Rotonde Stalingrad

The bar spills outside onto the large terrace where you can get a few select pizzas for only ten euros, other snacks from its street food-style stands, and more cool beverages. Every other weekend the venue transforms into a mini-club pumping electro music till late.

6-8 Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad, 75019.

The terrace of La Rotonde Paris bar close to the canal is an urban garden with seating and parasols.
La Rotonde Stalingrad

25 Degrés Est

On the east side of la Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad is this chill bar and restaurant. Its huge terrace is particularly popular at apéro hour when it’s full of local sunseekers. They also host regular events from special cocktail nights to dancing on Sundays.

10 Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad, 75019.

The terrace right on the water at the Paname Brewing Company in Paris (left) and the bar's covered terrace with canal views (right).
Paname Brewing Company

MK2 Quai de Seine/Quai de Loire

One of the early indicators that the Canal de l’Ourcq was becoming cool was the arrival of these twin MK2 cinemas. Located in former warehouses designed by Eiffel for the 1878 World’s Fair, the Quai de Seine cinema has a large terrace overlooking the canal and Italian restaurant Corso. The Quai de Loire branch hosts BIIIM!, a high quality fast-food venue whipping up elevated burgers and organic juices, and a hip concept shop. You can add some fun by taking the little ferry-boat across the canal between the two cinemas.

MK2 Quai de Seine – 14 Quai de la Seine, 75019.

MK2 Quai de Loire – 7 Quai de la Loire, 75019.

The MK2 cinema right on the canal was what started off the regeneration of the area some years ago.
MK2 Cinemas

Koko Canal Bistro Japonais

For a creative taste of modern Japan, stop in at this vibrant bistro at the beginning of the canal. Exposed brick walls and colorful fish kites create a fun and inviting space. Their menu is packed with hot and cold Japanese tapas, original bo buns, rolls, as well as more traditional sashimi and sushi.

14 Quai de la Loire, 75019.

One of the quirky lively restaurants and bars on the canal de l'Ourcq, Koko Canal, with its bright yellow, red and blue exterior.
Koko Canal

Péniche Antipode

A former shipping barge built in 1942, the Antipode has been adding a touch of eclectic culture to the Canal de l’Ourcq since 2002. The boat hosts a varied calendar of concerts, children’s theater, film screenings, and other events, but you can simply stop by its terrace café for a drink or a meal prepared with socially responsible ingredients too.

Facing 27 Quai de l’Oise, 75019.

You will also find a number of barges with bars, theatres, clubs and even a bookshop on the canal.
Péniche Antipode

Marin d’Eau Douce 

You don’t have to wait until the summertime Paris Plage activities to hit the canal’s waters; you can float around the Bassin de la Villette all year round aboard the self-drive boats of the Marin d’Eau Douce. No license is required, all you need to do is gather up a group of friends and some snacks (alcohol is technically prohibited), designate a captain (hats and other boating accessories supplied), and off you go!

Bassin de la Villette, 37 Quai de la Seine, 75019.

You can rent a small boat to sail along the canal in Paris from this floating pier.
Marin d’Eau Douce

Mezig

Midway down the Bassin de la Villette, this relaxed bar-restaurant has a nice retro décor and spacious terrace. Their tapas and long tables make it a good place to meet up with a group of friends, and you can extend your evening over a dinner of creative modern dishes (including several vegetarian options).

44 bis Quai de la Loire, 75019.

Mezig restaurant close to the canal in Paris with its sunny terrace.
Mezig

BarOurcq 

A little further down the canal is this bar du quartier boasting a hint of contemporary cool. Surrounded by local 19ème residents, you can sip on a cheap pint while playing pétanque or groove to electro beats provided by guest DJs on certain Friday and Saturday nights. 

68 Quai de la Loire, 75019.

BarOurcq with its bright blue exteriors is one of the staple bars in the 19th arrondissement of Paris near the canal.
BarOurcq

Pavillon des Canaux

Further up the canal is this whimsical café within a former lock-keeper’s home.

Pavillon des Canaux is also a local favorite located on the Canal de l'Ourcq, and serves delicious cakes and salads as well as cocktails, beer and wine.
Pavillon des Canaux

And a home it still is—in spirit and décor. The interior is reminiscent of a house and customers can choose to sit in the funky living room, the vintage-outfitted kitchen, the romantic bedroom, or the highly coveted old fashioned bathtub.

The wooden counter inside Pavillon des Canaux, which is designed to look like a real house, and it even has a bathtub you can sit while you enjoy your hot chocolate.
Pavillon des Canaux

Pavillon des Canaux also fosters a friendly coworking environment during the day and have a casual menu of home-cooked dishes.

39 Quai de la Loire, 75019.

The conservatory terrace (left) and interiors (right) at the Pavillon des Canaux on the Canal de l'Ourcq
Pavillon des Canaux

Kiez Kanal

After the growing popularity of its first location in the 18th arrondissement, this friendly biergarten-style German bar has set up shop facing the canal.

Kiez Kanal, another local favorite hangout for drinks and food on the Paris canals.
Kiez Kanal

In addition to the best German beers, they serve authentic currywurst sausage, späzle, bretzels, and other specialties from Deutschland. You can enjoy these seated at their sociable picnic tables or get them to-go and sit by the water’s edge.

90 Quai de la Loire, 75019.

Paname Brewing Company

The terrace reaching out across the water of the Canal de l'Ourcq at the Paname Brewing Company in Paris on a sunny summer's day.
Paname Brewing Company
The industrial interiors of Paris Brewing Company on the Canal de l'Ourcq.
Paname Brewing Company

Sample a Paris-native brew at this local craft brewery. One of the nicknames of Paris, Paname’s taps pour a collection of the brewery’s five standard beers as well as some seasonal creations.

The industrial interiors of Paris Brewing Company on the Canal de l'Ourcq.
Paname Brewing Company

Its kitchen serves up sharable international street food and pizzas, adding to the friendly ambiance both inside and on its lively terrace that jets out onto the canal.

41 bis Quai de la Loire, 75019.

The terrace reaching out across the water of the Canal de l'Ourcq at the Paname Brewing Company in Paris on a sunny summer's day (left). The industrial interiors of Paris Brewing Company on the Canal de l'Ourcq (right).
Paname Brewing Company

Café Odilon

Found on the quieter stretch of the canal, you can combine excellent pizzas and organic wine at this friendly bar-restaurant. It also has one of the best terraces around for watching the sunset, so come early to stake out a spot.

16 Quai de la Marne, 75019.

Café Odillon a favorite for pizza along the canal in north-eastern Paris.
Café Odilon

À La Folie

The high end of the canal, and technically on the branch that becomes the Canal Saint-Denis, this relaxed venue waterside venue in the Parc de la Villette is worth a detour. It boasts a massive terrace as well as a restaurant, club, and events like a pétanque tournament in the summer.

Parc de La Villette, Folie L2, 26 Avenue Corentin Cariou, 75019.

La Villette Park with its numerous bars and cultural venues just northwards along the canal de l'Ourcq.
À La Folie

Related Links

The bold and colorful street art along the canal (left) even extends to the barges (right), creates a unique ambiance.
Canal de l’Ourcq street art

Written by Lily Heise for HiP Paris. All photographs by Ali Postma. 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.

Written By

Lily Heise

Lily Heise has been living in Paris for more than 10 years. When she's not getting into romantic mischief, she writes on dating, travel, and culture. Her writing has been featured in Frommer’s Guides, the Huffington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, City Secrets, DK Eyewitness Guides, and other local and international publications. She is the author of Je T'Aime, Me Neither, and Je T'Aime... Maybe? lively novelized memoirs on her romantic misadventures, and continues to share dating tips, stories and travel features on her blog www.jetaimemeneither.com. View Lily Heise's Website

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