Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Canal Saint-Martin

When you go to Paris, the first things people will ask you about is whether you've scaled the height of the Eiffel Tower, soaked up the culture at the Louvre, or walked along the Champs-Élysées. They probably won't ask you if you've been down to the Canal. Today's post is to uncover this less obvious but still absolutely lovely bit of the city. Le Canal Saint-Martin definitely doesn't come under the category of hidden gem, its existence is certainly no secret; but some might be surprised to find out that it's quite as nice as it is, and it really is rather lovely.

I lived in Birmingham for three years, which is sort of known for having canals, and nobody ever believed me that it was as nice as it actually was. Around the canal it was all regenerated and immaculate with tres chic studio flats, restaurants, hairdressers and clothes shops all on the water front. The Canal Saint-Martin sort of reminds me of a Frenchified version of this. It's located in the 10th, just a stones throw away from my flat, so without further ado allow me show you around my patch!

There are lots of footbridges arching back and forth over the Canal and it's fun to criss-cross back and forth over them Billy Goats Gruff style! People sometimes even put love locks on them like on the Pont des Arts.

The area is very pedestrianised so I feel very comfortable ambling around on foot. There are one or two traffic bridges and a few cars going up and down but mainly it's families, couples and friends stretching their legs. There are lots of trendy bars, brasseries and sandwich shops so during weekdays you see smartly dressed business men and women having a break and grabbing a bite to eat. I like to come down here for a coffee, sit on the water front and do one of my favourite things... People watch! This place is perfect for just sitting back watching the world go by because it's so peaceful, you almost forget that you're in the middle of Paris! 

The buildings that overlook the Canal are classically Parisian, with tiny balconettes, flower pots and hanging baskets on the windows. Imagine living in one I those flats! Dreamy.

Friends bring their lunch and sit side by side on the water's edge, dangling their feet as catching up with one another. 

The first spring flowers I have seen! This put a big smile on my face, because air is getting warmer and this means that winter is almost out and spring is most definitely on its way.

Aside from the bars and the lovely places to eat, the Canal is home to lots of artists workshops, galleries and pretty boutiques selling clothes and furniture. This pretty pink, green and yellow fronted shop is all the same shop and is a peristalsis favorite of mine, called Antoine & Lili. It sells lots of gorgeous tableware, cushions, throw rugs, chairs, and bits and bobs for your bedroom; it's what my mum would call a 'twiddly bits shop' and I can't wait to take her in there. I would describe the quality, style and designs of the stuff in here as like a zany more colourful Cath Kidston. 

The only problem with being here is that it's so hard to decide what to buy and where to eat and drink, because everywhere looks so nice; what a nightmare! The best thing is that the Canal has lots of roads leading off it so there are many more avenues to be walked down and lots more things to discover I'm sure. 

Happy Wednesday everybody!

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