Canal Saint Martin: A Mini Guide to this Casual Corner of Paris

The temperatures are finally catching up with the sunshine here and our Parisian spring is in full swing. The newly reemerged freckles on my nose are a dead giveaway that I’ve been out and about taking full advantage of these glorious longer days, and I’m not the only one.

Paris Rendezvous

This time of year, you’ll find me and many other Parisians living la vie bohême near the Canal Saint Martin. This lively neighbourhood in the north east of Paris is one of my favorite places in spring and summer, but one often overlooked by tourists. Some call it the Brooklyn of Paris, as it has a casual and laid back vibe that is a side of the city much different from its fancier west.

Life here centers around the canal of course, which dates back to 1800 when Napoleon ordered its construction to create an artificial waterway supplying Paris with fresh water. It is also a passageway for river boats to access the Seine from many other natural canals coming from the east of France. This past winter for the first time in nearly two decades, the canal was drained to undergo renovations and a serious cleanup. Since the water has returned, so have the visitors and this neighbourhood is even more alive than ever before.

When I’m headed here, I keep it casual with a pair of jeans and some simple makeup. My Lancôme Beauty Balm with SPF 15 is a beauty essential this time of year. Paired with my new favourite Cushion Blush Subtil, the two give a radiant and dewy complexion perfect for days outdoors. A little bit of Définicils mascara and L’Absolu Rouge lipstick in a “your lips but better” shade like Rose de Ville is all I need to complete the look.

Now that you know what to wear, here is my mini guide to the Canal Saint Martin so you know where to go should you find yourself in this corner of our city…

Hotel du Nord, 102 Quai de Jemmapes — the perfect spot for a romantic dinner.

Chez Prune, 36 Rue Beaurepaire — a terrace for a glass of wine or the house Bloody Mary.

La Marine, 55 Quai de Valmy — delicious destination, foie gras, oysters and more.

Ten Belles, 10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles — great coffee to go from this hip coffee shop.

Dante & Maria, 3 Rue de la Grange aux Belles — a sweet boutique filled with treasures.

Le Comptoir Général, 80 Quai de Jemmapes — brunch by day and dancing by night.

La Chambre Aux Oiseux, 48 Rue Bichat — a quirky spot for brunch, lunch, or tea.

Liberté, 39 Rue des Vinaigriers — a bakery where one should never resist grabbing a treat.

Du Pain et des Idées, 34 Rue Yves Toudic — another irresistible bakery with many specialties.

Quai de Jemmapes — park yourself along the banks of the canal with a picnic and friends.

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