PARIS | Along the Canal Saint Martin
The Canal Saint Martin is definitely one of our favorite places in Paris and a very kids-friendly, bohemian area.
On Sundays, the streets along the canal are only open to pedestrians and cyclists and become a communal backyard for the neighborhoods and a perfect spot for a relaxing Sunday afternoon walk.
The area is stuffed with cool places to shop for children and parents, hip speciality coffee shops and it-restaurants. Rue Yves Tudic you can find Paris’ best boulangerie “Du Pain et des idées”. Get your kids one of the famous escarcot à la pistache. They will love it!
The area around the Canal Saint Martin was once a very working-class neighborhood with many small workshops. Over the last years the area of Canal Saint-Martin has become one of the trendiest places to live for creative professionals in Paris.
Another great attraction of the Canal Saint-Martin is the multitude of street art and quirky stencils on the many small streets that line the canal. Thanks to its past as an abandoned spot, street artists and graffers have made the walls that run along the canal their canvas. From simple tags to elaborated street art, you can admire a lot of them during your walk (watch out for space invaders).
At the beginning of the 19th, the Canal was first commissioned by Napoleon I to not only increase the amount of fresh water available to the population but to also provide water for fountains and street cleaning. Nowadays, the barges transporting food and other goods have been replaced by narrow boats traveling along the canal for the delight of tourists. If you are lucky, you may see a boat passing through one of the 9 locks.
The Canal St. Martin connects to the Seine river just south of Bastille, and runs underground until it emerges again near République. That’s where we start our walks along rue du Fauboug du Temple until Quai de Valmy and then heading north along the canal. At a sunny day the area along the Canal is packed with hipster, running kids and stroller-pushing parents. The shops are allowed to open, including Artazart, Make my Lemonade and the arty cinema store, Potemkine, on rue Beaurepaire.
When you are up to exploring more, then keep walking along the canal until you reach the Bassin de la Villette. This area has change a lot during the last years and after a much needed “clean up” by the city of Paris, it is now an enjoyable place. There are lots of summer activities like pétanque, kayak, swimming pools. Check out the permit-less electric boats at Marin d’Eau Douce. You can pilot your own boat on cruises from 1-6 hours. Bring your own food and drink and make a day of it!
The Canal Saint Martin is packed with good addresses for kids and parents. Check out our top selection in the map below (all our maps are updated regularly).
But first… our top 5:
A specialized art bookstore that has a wide range of books on painting, photography, and a huge section on graphic design. We love coming here during an afternoon (with the kids) and spending hours (without the kids) thumbing through these books.
83 Quai de Valmy | 75010 Paris
This is the first store of the DIY queen and blogger Lisa Gachet. On the shelves, the label’s clothing line as well as collabs with friendly brands. There is a workshops area, a cosy coffee and you can take all kind of DIY workshops.
61 quai de Valmy | 75010 Paris
A hip but friendly (doesn’t it go together) atmosphere. We fall for its pastries and good coffee! Check out their homemade breads!
10, rue de la Grange aux Belles | 75010 Paris
The painted glass ceilings and bevelled mirrors of this old Parisian bakery from 1870 reflect the quality of this place. The Viennese pastries, all made on site with perfect raw materials, snails with pralines, chocolate, lemon, pistachio, vanilla, apple and semi-salted butter tart, croissants, slippers, are a delight for children after school.
34 Rue Yves Toudic | 75010 Paris
It is probably one of the most original and hidden places in Paris, decorated with African objects and European antiques. Hipsters, boho-chic types and families are all tumbled in together here in this bar/restaurant in an old 600 square-metre barn with lots of room for the kids to play.
80 Quai de Jemmapes | 75010 Paris
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