Want to get away from tourist crowds, walk along the quay, enjoy a quaint European setting, and catch a glimpse of local Parisian life? Head north to the Canal St. Martin area. See photos below for pedestrian bridges, peaceful waters, graffiti, young people hanging out, a cool shopping and dining district, and some lovely quiet spaces with very European scenery.
Walk along the canal, snap some photos–there are plenty of opportunities–and watch the people go by. You’ll see a very pleasant way of life.
Then when the sun sets, you’ll find plenty of great places for drinks and dinner.
Chez Prune is where I had my longest, coolest conversation with a bartender… completely in his native language. I visited near the end of my trip, and a week’s practice speaking French paid off. See below, I ordered everything correctly. The bartender was especially surprised when I ordered, for my travel companion, a splash of Compari in his gin and tonic. We told the bartender to try it, and he did. New favorite drink? “Trop amer,” he replied. (Too bitter!)
This bar is welcoming and cozy, and has a crazy history… it was one of those attacked in 2015 by terrorists. Fifteen people were killed inside the bar. Carillon reopened a few months later, and its friendly, life-loving spirit is stronger than ever.
Sit by a window and order a drink to sip slowly. Look out at the beautiful street. If you’re lucky, it’ll rain a little.
Le Bistrot Des Oies
We spotted this place walking past it and wandered inside to find a lovely, lovely bistrot serving traditional French cuisine. The exterior and interior have an Old World feel, and the food was gourmet and outstanding. “Traditional” is the perfect word; the food wasn’t experimental but perfectly prepared in traditional French cooking style.
The whole Canal St. Martin area is interesting and non-touristy. I hope I get to spend another day there next time I’m in the City of Lights.
If you visit any of these places, comment and let me know what you think! And if you’re curious for more, see my other posts on Paris.
~Page Light Studios