Around the station: Paris Gare du Nord
- Best for Hip boutiques and bistros
- Locals love Hanging out by the canal
- Don’t miss The oysters at Pleine Mer
Arriving at Gare du Nord, you’re plunged into Parisian life – and one of the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. The prettiest hangout hereabouts remains the Canal St Martin, with its lively cafés, cobbled quays and independent boutiques. Now, though, it has some competition, with hyped new openings springing up across the 10th arrondissement. Standouts include the hospitable Brasserie Bellanger, perfectly placed for supper if you’ve just arrived by train. A few blocks from the station, Veggietown is also worth a stroll – a cluster of hip, healthy eateries to the south of rue La Fayette. Try the cauliflower wings at Jah Jah or a bento box at Nanashi, and look out for Invader’s veggie-inspired street art. South of here, rue Château d’Eau is also changing fast. These days, it’s dotted with concept stores and cafés, from the trinket-filled Passage Doré to hip homewares shop La Trésorerie. From an opulent art-deco cinema to a pared-back oyster bar, we’ve picked seven standout addresses around the neighbourhood.
• Remember Amélie skimming stones? That was at Canal St-Martin
• Outside Gare du Nord, snap a shot of the ‘melting’ house sculpture
• Psst! The nearby Hôpital Saint-Louis has a secret courtyard garden
Louxor: Palais du Cinéma170, boulevard Magenta, 75010This neo-Egyptian cinema predates the talkies – when it opened in 1921, silent films were all the rage. After decades of neglect, it’s been handsomely restored, from its art-deco façade to its opulent screening rooms, with their friezes and gilded pharaohs’ heads. Arthouse movies are shown in their original language; afterwards, hit the terrace bar for views of the Sacré-Coeur.
Square d’Anvers10 bis, avenue Trudaine, 75009From Gare du Nord, a ten-minute stroll along rue de Dunkerque brings you to this charming park. Once upon a time, this was the site of Montmartre’s abattoirs; now, it’s a peaceful spot for pétanque, people-watching and basking in the sun. There’s a small but popular playground, and plenty of benches for a picnic. If it’s a Friday afternoon, head to the vibrant market on neighbouring place d’Anvers.
Brasserie Bellanger140, rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 75010This no-reservations brasserie has proved a runaway hit, thanks to its classic French cooking and remarkably reasonable prices. Behind a dapper green façade, the dining room’s bright and buzzing, with its marble bar, mosaic floor and cheerful hum of conversation. Try the terrific croque monsieur or steak with matchstick fries, and share a retro, custard-and-meringue île flottante for afters.
Marché Saint-Pierre2, rue Charles Nodier, 75018For fabrics of every description, this is the place to go. Its specialist stores sprawl across five streets, while bargain bolts of fabric line the pavements. From African prints to frothy tulle, you can find almost anything here – along with a seemingly endless supply of buttons, ribbons and trims. On a budget? Keep an eye out for ‘coupons’ – the final, cut-price remnants from a roll.
Pleine Mer22, rue de Chabrol, 75010There are no frills and flourishes at this tiny bar à huîtres, with its paper placemats, scrawled menu and tightly packed-in tables. Nonetheless, it serves up some of the best oysters in Paris, paired with a side of rye bread and squeeze of lemon. Aside from that, there’s smoked salmon with home-made taramasalata, and a choice of Breton flan or buttery kouign-amann for dessert.
Marion Graux46, rue de Dunkerque, 75009For truly chic tableware, head to this pink-painted boutique. It’s owned by stylist-turned-ceramicist Marion Graux. She’s custom-made crockery for some of the city’s coolest foodies; her Michelin-starred fans include Guy Martin and Gregory Marchand. Her pieces are beautifully pared-back and pleasingly practical, from sculptural, hand-thrown bowls to handsome stoneware plates.
Billili136, rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 75010Chef Thomas Brachet and sommelier Tristan Reynoux started out with Les Arlots – a homely bistro that serves the city’s best sausage and mash. When the premises next door came free they opened Billili, a down-to-earth wine bar with a short, daily-changing menu. Share a succession of hearty sharing plates, starting with the pig’s-ear croquettes or a slab of home-made terrine.
I love exploring the little stores along rue Château d’Eau – head to Jamini for beautiful kimonos and block-printed cushions
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