Breakfast by the Canal St. Martin

4 July 2012

For six years I’ve lived in the 11th arrondissement, right on the border of the 10th. When I first moved to Paris, these areas were relatively untouched by tourists. Visitors would go as far as the Bastille and maybe venture to the rue Oberkampf for a taste of its vibrant but less polished nightlife but the 10th arrondissement was rougher and far from being emblematic enough to compete with the city’s refined storybook image.  Now, both neighborhoods are products of stark and rapid gentrification which means that formerly forlorn buildings, cafés, dive bars and shops have largely been supplanted by artsy boutiques, trendy bars and coveted al fresco eateries. In a trajectory that arguably rivals Williamsburg (Brooklyn), the area along and around the Canal St. Martin, specifically, has experienced tremendous transformation, commanding more attention among travelers and locals alike than ever before.  Picnics and strolls are still de rigueur in these parts but it’s the morning meal in particular that has earned the hotspot its gold stars over the last year. Helmut Newcake (Paris’s first entirely gluten-free bakery and salon de thé), Le Sésame, La Chambre aux Oiseaux, Du Pain et des Idées (one of my longtime top picks) and Les Enfants […]…

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Paris Travel Tips

7 June 2011

It’s that time of year again. Paris vacationers are infiltrating the city in search of cultural indulgence and a needed respite from their frenetic, stressful daily lives. This also means I’ve been getting more inquiries about what a first, second or tenth-time visitor to Paris must see, do and eat to make their experience memorable. But where do you go and what do you do once you’ve covered the basics? How can you see more of the ‘locals’ Paris? 1. Bike it or walk it  The public transportation system in Paris is arguably one of the most efficient and reliable in the world, even with recurrent strikes. But the city is also one of the most accessible by foot and bike. During the warmer months, swap the scorching metro cars for a vélib or bike rental. Keep in mind that to use the Vélib bike-share system, you must have a credit card with a chip which exempts most Americans from taking part. Fortunately, there are many companies that offer affordable rentals that can have you soaring through Paris with ease in no time. Both means of visiting allow you to meander little passageways and hidden streets which always make for […]…

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