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Trendy Trek near Canal Saint-Martin

Canal Saint Martin: a trendy trek

Embark on a trendy Trek along the iconic Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, discovering quaint cafes, stunning street art and beautiful gardens. Discover the canal’s picturesque iron footbridges, tree-lined paths, and a fusion of historic and modern Parisian charm. Perfect for travelers seeking an authentic and stylish Parisian experience. A unique journey through one of Paris’s most bohemian quarters.

This walk can last from 1 to 3 hours, depending on your mood, the number of stops for pictures and pauses for a café or a pastry on your way…

Starting Point: Place de la République

Begin your journey at the bustling Place de la République (metro République), a hub of activity and a symbol of the city’s vibrant spirit. Take a moment to admire the monumental statue of Marianne, representing the French Republic.

Take rue du Faubourg du Temple, heading NorthEast. As you walk towards the canal, notice the ever-changing street art that adorns the walls and shuttered storefronts. These vibrant artworks, often with hidden political and social messages, are created by local and international artists, reflecting the district’s creative heartbeat.

Arrive at the Canal Saint-Martin, famous for its iron footbridges and tree-lined quays. The canal, featured in many movies, is a picturesque spot for a leisurely stroll. Canal Saint-Martin was constructed under Napoleon in the 19th century. Unknown to many, beneath the streets lies a series of secret tunnels and locks, originally built to supply Paris with goods and drinking water.

Turn left and walk near the canal, heading NorthWest. But before, stop at a beautiful green spot…

Stop 1: Square Frédéric-Lemaitre

Square Frédéric-Lemaitre: This charming little square, tucked away in the bustling streets, is a hidden gem. With its quaint gardens and benches, it’s a peaceful spot to capture the essence of Parisian tranquility.

Then keep on walking along the canal, heading NorthWest.

Stop 2: artisan Coffee Shops

Take a break at one of the trendy coffee shops along the canal. These cozy spots, often filled with local artists, writers, students or remote workers, offer the perfect ambiance to soak in the local culture over a cup of expertly brewed coffee.

As you sip your coffee, reflect on the area’s transformation from a working-class neighborhood to a bohemian paradise. In the early 20th century, artists and intellectuals flocked here, drawn by the affordable rents and inspiring atmosphere.

Stop 3: pont tournant (rotating bridge) de la Grange aux Belles

This is an old, rotating bridge over the canal, offering a picturesque view of the water and surrounding buildings. It’s a perfect spot to capture the blend of old and new that characterizes this area.

Stop 4: Quai de Valmy and Quai de Jemmapes

Continue your walk along Quai de Valmy and Quai de Jemmapes, lined with quirky boutiques, contemporary art galleries, and chic eateries. This is a great area to find unique souvenirs or enjoy a gourmet treat.

These two quais, mirroring each other across the canal, have been the backdrop of many historical events, including the uprisings of 1830 and 1848. Today, they stand as symbols of the district’s resilient and revolutionary spirit.

Take some time to climb on the bridges over the canal.

Stop 5: Jardin Villemin

Stop at Jardin Villemin, a peaceful green space near the left of the canal, starting rue des Recollets. This public garden offers a natural retreat, with its lawns, playgrounds, and shaded benches. It’s the perfect spot to relax after a day of exploration.

Opened in 1977 on the former grounds of the Saint-Louis hospital, Jardin Villemin was created to serve as a communal meeting point. Today, it stands as a testament to the transformation of urban spaces into areas of life and community sharing.

At the back of the garden, you can find Maison de l’Architecture (House of Architecture). Located in an old convent, this spot offers a blend of historical architecture and contemporary design. The courtyard and café are particularly photogenic.

Continue your walk direction North besides the canal.

Stop 6: graffiti walls at rue Eugène Varlin

300 m further after the end of Jardin Villemin, take left on rue Eugène Varlin. This street is famous for its dynamic graffiti and street art. The vivid murals here are constantly changing, offering a fresh and vibrant scene for photographers.

Ending Point: Bassin de la Villette

Conclude your trek at the Bassin de la Villette, the largest artificial lake in Paris that connects the Canal Saint-Martin to the Canal de l’Ourcq. It’s a popular spot for picnics, boat trips, and enjoying the tranquil water views.

The Bassin de la Villette, once a vital industrial port, has transformed into a lively cultural hub, symbolizing the ever-evolving spirit of the Canal Saint-Martin area.

You can leave through metro station Jaurès, or walk along the water and use another metro station such as Laumière on the right side or Riquet on the left side.

If you feel like walking more, the great Buttes Chaumont park is not far, on the right side. From metro station Jaurès, take right on Avenue Secrétan and walkm for 600 m to reach Buttes Chaumont main entrance.

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