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Ourcq Canal

Not too long ago, I was enjoying an afterwork picnic on the banks of the Ourcq canal with some friends. As I gazed at the moss green water, I contemplated what it must have served as back in the day…perhaps a way to transport goods into the city? Where does it start?

That’s when I decided it might be worth exploring…exploring by bike. The following weekend, along with a friend, I rented a bike for a day at 20 euros (see here) and set out to ride up the Ourcq canal for as far as I could go.

The Poudrerie Forest

With no cars and a paved bike path the whole way, I rode approximately twenty kilometers to discover, to my suprise, grassy lawns, flowers, fishermen, kayakers, and a peaceful forest (Le Parc National Forestier de la Poudrerie).

Not only was I getting some serious exercise, but I really felt like I was outside of Paris on an adventure. Once we got out of a slightly industrial zone just north of the Parc de la Villette, it was just a long tree-lined rode along the glistening Ourcq canal. When we came across the Poudrerie forest, we pedaled on some trails through the forest and found ourselves the perfect picnic spot facing a large pond with a small island in it. Very picturesque!

Fishermen along the canal

While the Ourcq canal continued on without us, its source still a mystery, we vowed that the next bike ride would start off from where we started. We’ll get to the end someday!

All in all, if you want an outdoor, sporty day trip outside Paris for cheap, cycling up the Ourcq would definitely be up your alley. Just make sure you bring a picnic and som sunscreen, as there is hardly anything along the canal, and you are exposed to the elements. However, if you make it to the Poudrerie forest, there are some small snack shops, and one in particular that is inside a building that ressembles small castle.

Here is site (in French) with a good map and some background information: http://www.aufildelourcq.org/loisirs/promvelo.php

Happy cycling this summer!!

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Sésame, 51, quai de Valmy, 75010, Paris

So as I mentioned in my last post, a lazy Sunday isn’t complete without a deliciously late brunch. A brunch where I can sit outside (preferably on a sunny “terrasse”) and watch life go by as I sip a café crème. The Canal St.Martin is perfect for this preferred activity of mine, and since I have become rather routine about it, I have sampled a great number of restaurants along the canal that are MUST TRYS if you haven’t done so already…

Sésame – A very cute but small restaurant that serves a proper brunch with all the bells and whistles. Eggs, toast with different kinds of spreading options like jams, honey, and nutella, salads, smoothies, great coffee all for the great price of about 20 euros.  The hippie-like ambiance comes with the meal. Bonus: All fresh produce is organic!!

51, quai de Valmy, 75010, Paris

http://www.au-sesame.com/

Canal St. Martin

Chez Prune – Grunge-like atmosphere à la Brooklyn before it got all hipster. Lots of tables outside for people watching, and the food is solid French brunch fare. Stops serving at 2pm so make sure to go before the kitchen closes.

36, rue Beaurepaire, 7501,0 Paris

La Marine – They have a killer goat cheese salad, but they are also know for their fish and seafood, hence their name “La Marine.” Their spacious interior is nice as it makes it easier to get a table on weekends when it is the most busy. It has the old French bistro thing going on, but for the prices (which are reasonably) you get a great meal overlooking the canal.

55, bis quai de Valmy, 75010, Paris

L’Atmosphère – Small bistro with outside tables that are splashed with sunlight and the glimmering reflections off the canal’s murky waters. Right next to the charming Antoine and Lili shops, it serves some delicious French dishes, but doesn’t necessarily have that traditional brunch of eggs, bacon and potatoes etc.

49, rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010, Paris

And last but not least….

Les Enfants Perdus,

Les Enfants Perdus – I HEART this place. Both a bar and a restaurant, they have a sweet courtyard in the back that is great for an afternoon beer or enjoying a late brunch. The place is a bit hidden, so when you go in, you really feel like you’ve discovered a kind of secret garden (with alcohol and food!). They are happy to let you linger over a Mariage Frères tea, and they have an selection of magazines and books you can browse through.

Food, well I will have to let the menu speak for itself. Click here to review it. It is hands down delicious! A wee bit pricey, but worth it. Whether it is a filet de Bar with provencal butter and fresh veggies, or braised lamb with honey and cumin and a broccoli gratin with almonds, everything is done just right and with a unique twist you won’t soon forget! My official Grisette rating is three Yums up!!

9, rue des Récollets, 75010, Paris

http://les-enfants-perdus.com/

Rue Beaurepaire in the 10th arrondissement

Oh lazy Sundays… the kind of days where you just want to stroll in the streets, eat a late brunch, and well do a little shopping. A little retail therapy  to cheer you up from some back to work blues…pourquoi pas?

Why not? Well first off most shops are closed on Sunday in Paris, as well as in most of France. Then, should you be looking to get food around 1pm or later, it also gets difficult as most Parisian restaurants aren’t too keen on serving  late into the afternoon. All in all, it kind of  ruins the whole lazy Sunday I look forward to at the end of my week… until I discovered RUE BEAUREPAIRE.

Rue Beaurepaire in the 10th arrondissement is glorious little Sunday haven I escape to now that the sun is shining bright and spring has arrived. Branching off from Place de la Republique and winding down to the canal St. Martin, this street has it all. Whether is a trendy shop (THAT IS OPEN) or a cool  neighborhood bistro to grab some brunch, the charm and relaxed atmosphere is everything I am craving on a Sunday. And did I mention that it isn’t hardly as crowded as the Marais, and that beautiful bobo chic peeps are everywhere?

Here is a short list of the places open for business on Sunday:

American Apparel – great for trendy basics and old-school vintage redone with a modern edge. http://americanapparel.net/

10, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Bazar Ethnique – has a great selection of clothing and accessories that are made of organic fabrics and materials. Distributes brands such as Lola Bon’Heure

25, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Bel Air - 22, rue Beaurepaire, 75010



Bel Air Not the Fresh Prince, just Bel Air. A hip and stylish joint that echoes the LA/Santa Monica fashion I grow up on. Bel Air makes some killer leather bags and satchels, and doesn’t completely empty your wallet!  http://www.belair-paris.fr/

22, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris


Boutique Liza Korn – Liza Korn is a stylist who styles to the likes of Vogue and now has her own boutique. She mixes soft romantic themse likes Liberty with a harder rocker flair. http://www.liza-korn.com/

19, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Cotélac – a very chic shop that resembles a mix of Zara, Maje, Sandro rolled in one. Very bobo, very French.  http://www.cotelac.fr/

30, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Ekyog – ORGANIC, ethically produced and great ! Women’s and Children’s fashion http://www.ekyog.com/

33, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Liza Korn - 19, rue Beaurepaire, 75010

Frivoli – vintage and gently used clothing and accessories, features brands such as Gucci, YSL, and more.

26 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Ikks – Fun mix of wearable casual chic clothes, lots of leather, silk, and cotton. This season has a nice splash of floral tops and dresses. (this goes for men and women, minus the floral dresses) http://www.ikks.com/

34, rue Beaurepaire, 75010,Paris

The Kooples – You’ve probably seen the ads with the hot (or not) couples, wearing mostly somber outfits that give off a punk/rock vibe. Pieces contain lace, studs, skulls, leopard print, and many shades of black! You get a free cloth bag with purchase, you’ve probably seen a handful of women toting their lunch and other miscellaneous items inside… http://www.thekooples.com/

32, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Renhsen – Great selection of ultra-flattering  jeans, and very stylish accessories! http://www.renhsen.com/

22, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Canal St. Martin, just off rue Beaurepaire

As this posting got a bit long, my brunch short list will be the next blog posting, so stay tuned !!

Boutique Voy, Canal St. Martin

Boutique Voy, Canal St. Martin

The sweet smells of baking brioche and cream filled confections that flirt with passerbys on the streets of Paris may lead one to believe that this city, with its mouthwatering pastry displays, is indeed an organic health nut’s nightmare.

However, after one butter-filled croissant too many, the search to find tantalizing treats enriched with vitamins and organic pure goodness was on. Located on a small street branching off from Canal Saint-Martin, Voy Alimento has just opened for a Sunday brunch, serving a unforgettable meal that keeps you buzzing all day long.

Boutique Voy, Canal St Martin

Display at Boutique Voy

A boutique, juice bar, and now restaurant in one, Voy is an Ali Baba’s cave of Amazonian power foods that come straight from the rainforest and towering Andes. One can find a delicious raw chocolate bar enhanced with spices and sweetened with agave, or great smoothie additives such as guarana, spirulina, and stevia.

Pascal, the staff chef and nutritionist, is always to eager explain the secrets these unusual foods possess as he cooks before your eyes. Serving everything from a potent hot chocolate called Xocolatl, based on an ancient Aztec recipe, to purple corn pancakes packed with antioxidants, this is a must try for any granola seeking a pain au chocolat substitute.

Voy Alimento

23 rue des vinaigriers

75010 Paris

Tel: 01 42 01 03 44

Voy stands can be found at two organic markets in Paris; one on Saturday morning on Boulevard des Batignolles (metro Rome) or another on Sunday morning on Boulevard Raspail (metro Rennes).

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