The Seine offers a great point of departure for diving into the French capital, from the rive gauche...
Paris Along the Water
For a unique view of Paris, take a stroll along the banks of Canal Saint Martin. Meeting the Seine at Port de la Plaisance de Paris Arsenal marina (near the Austerlitz bridge), this navigable waterway stretches nearly three miles from Place de le République (where it passes through a tunnel) to Bassin de la Villette.
On Fridays, your best bet is to set off from Place de la République, a convenient and central starting point. This large square occasionally hosts interesting flea markets where you can pick up design objects, second-hand clothing or antiques.
Leave the bustling square to explore the quiet, narrow, surrounding streets. Beaupaire is the new fashion mecca, where stores like Idéco feature trendy furniture and Liza Korn sells unusual clothes. Don’t miss Alter Mundi and its fair-trade fashion and cosmetics.
Feel the creative energy of this happening neighborhood at Espace Beaupaire, a space dedicated to the creation and promotion of different artistic disciplines, with exhibitions, lectures and performances, as well as fashion shows and other events. From the exit, walk to the corner at end of the street, where you’ll reach Chez Prune, which has outdoor tables overlooking Canal Saint Martin. The menu is traditional with some exotic touches. Try the fish en papillote with seasonal vegetables or the duck fillet with garlic cream and grilled onions.
Leaving the restaurant, you’ll find yourself on Quai de Valmy, one of the banks of the canal. Walk along the quay and watch the locks open and close to let boats pass through (and to see the bridges where Audrey Tautouskipped rocks in the movie Amélie).
End your day with a visit to Le Point Ephémère, a trendy spot for Parisians. Enjoy an aperitif or dinner on the shores of the river at this reclaimed factory that today hosts a range of exhibits, concerts and parties.
Take the 7bis metro line to Buttes Chaumont station and one of the city’s loveliest parks of the same name. Admire the waterfalls, bluffs and paths, and when you are ready for a break, unpack your picnic lunch.
Returning to the canal along Rue de Crimée in the late afternoon, you can have a bite to eat on the outdoor patio at Rendez-vous des Quais. As the sun sets, walk along the banks (towards the Seine) until you reach the péniches moored along the water. These boats are specially adapted for the canals, and their colorful decks are a lovely spot to enjoy a drink and a different perspective of Paris that contrasts to the city’s sidewalk cafés. The Péniche Antipode even offers concerts and theater as well as a wide selection of Belgian beer.
If you’re still hungry, head to the brightly lit buildings at the end of the banks to find La Criée, which specializes in fish and seafood. Make a reservation to get an outdoor table overlooking the canal.
Another good way to get to know Canal Saint-Martin is to take a cruise. The company Canauxrama has excursions leaving from Port de Plaisance de Paris Arsenal marina to Parc de la Villette. The two-and-a-half-hour cruise passes under the canal’s Bastille vaults, four double locks and two drawbridges.
Parc de la Villette has loads to see. The huge sphere at the entrance – 118 feet across and guaranteed to draw your attention – is La Geode, a movie theater with a giant screen. Keep walking to Cité de la Musique and Le Zenith to end your walk at one of the theme gardens (bamboo, islands, mirrors or dragons)
End your adventure back on the canal. Stroll along the shore from the park exit until you reach 68 Quai de la Loire and the pleasant, laid-back Bar Ourcq. Order a beer and a set of balls to try your hand at the popular local game of petanque. You can also borrow some Transat beach chairs and sit on the shores of the canal to enjoy your drink or just sit outside and relax for a quiet end to your weekend in Paris.
LAN Flights: Daily to Madrid from Guayaquil, Lima and Santiago (Chile). Connections to Paris with oneworld alliance member airlines.
Where To Eat
36 Rue Beaurepaire -
Quai de Valmy
Rendez-vous des Quais
10 Quai de Seine
Frente al /Across from 55 Quai de Seine
68 Quai de Seine
68 Quai de la Loire
What To Do
28 Rue Beaurepaire
Le Point Ephémère
200 Quai de Valmy
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Boats leave at 9:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Parque de la Villete
Where To Shop?
19 Rue Beaurepaire
19 Rue Beaurepaire
25 Rue Beaurepaire