The 4.6-km-long Canal Saint Martin, which links the Canal de l'Ourcq with the River Seine, is where old school Parisian charm meets modern hipster vibes. Originally built under the orders of Napoleon I as a means of providing fresh water to the city, the waterway is these days a hotspot for young Parisian trendsetters, students and in-the-know tourists. You also might recognise it from the movie Amelie, which was partially filmed here.
Quirky cafes and trendy restaurants flank the canal and the side streets nearby, drawing locals and travellers alike. To get a feel for the real Paris, away from touristy cliches, hop on a boat to tour the canal. The tree-lined walkway is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, a picnic lunch or an afternoon of people-watching from a park bench. If you're visiting Paris and you happen to be in the area, make some time to explore the vibrant Canal Saint-Martin area.
Le Valmy: Location - perfect. Food - fabulous. Atmosphere - pleasantly buzzing. Come here for traditional French cuisine washed down with fruit rum.
Fric-Frac: The low-key sandwiches in this intimate cafe are simple but delicious. Order a mouth-watering croque madame or croque monsieur and admire the canal views while you eat.
Pont Ephemere: Whether you're after a shaded canalside drinking hole, a late-night hangout or a cool spot to see live music, Point Éphémère is your place. This cultural centre is also great for mingling with the locals and discovering Parisian trends.
Le Comptoir General: This restaurant-bar-shop hybrid is a true hidden gem, tucked away in an alley off the canal. Not only do they have a great bar and restaurant, but there's also an art museum, a bookshop and a vintage clothing store.
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