Where bougie bohemians, aka: Parisian cool kids, congregate for a good time.
I get really excited talking about this area of Paris, simply because I’ve lived here in the 10th arrondissement for many years. Montmartre might have been my first home in the City of Lights more than a decade ago, but once I moved to this area, Canal St. Martin has stolen my heart especially during dawn or dusk, when I stare into the faraway ivory dome of Sacré-Coeur from my balcony. Nowhere else makes me happier, or more at peace.
The 10th district, or the area surrounding Canal St. Martin, is a true local gem. In French, we have a reference to a group of 20 to 30-somethings working in the food or creative industry. These BOurgeois BOhemian (or BOBO) are more so free spirits who love what they do but also live to complain about it. They have more money to spend and want to spend it well at distinctive restaurants and cool bars. Nonetheless, BOBOs congregate in the 10th. With an infinite amount of recommendations I could provide in this neighborhood, I’ve narrowed it down to a terrific thirteen. As a local and possibly a hidden BOBO, I know you won’t regret hitting up any of these superb spots.
EAT: Le Verre Volé – best modern french cuisine
67 Rue de Lancry
If there’s only ONE restaurant that I believe every traveler should experience, it would be Le Verre Volé. Translation: the stolen glass, this local favorite focuses on modern French cuisine with a heavier emphasis on seafood. As often you’ll find me there, my taste buds are never bored thanks to an ever-changing menu. In addition, the entire cave is filled with natural wine collections – a progressive movement that France is very much leading. This small restaurant is always packed, so be sure to make a reservation. If you need to wait for a table, do it across the street at a local bar called La Patache and say hi to Rilette, the gentle cat.
EAT: Du Pain et des Idées – best bakery
34 Rue Yves Toudic
Just when you’d think Paris isn’t in need of another bakery around the corner, lines outside of Du Pain et des Idées continue to elongate. It might be a nuisance for locals, especially for those in a hurry for a simple baguette. But the bakery IS that authentic, don’t miss its famous escargot pistachio, and the rustic bread pain des amis is a definite Parisian fave. Nonetheless, it’s nice to know that a hashtag hub hasn’t waned in quality due to its unceasing popularity.
EAT: Les Enfants Perdus – best bistro
9 Rue des Récollets
Named after Peter Pan’s “The Lost Boys,” Les Enfants Perdus continuously produces beautiful plates of bistro best. You’ll find traditional French regulars on the carte: foie gras de canard, les escargots, le tartare de boeuf, mix plate of cheese, la crème brûlée…just to name a few. The Sunday brunch menu is also a delight: fresh squeezed juices, egg soufflés, and lots more. The wine selection is also natural-focused, if you like what you drink, head across the street for a little wine cave under the same ownership. I highly recommend bringing home bottles of local wine from here.
DRINK: Lavomatic – best speakeasy
30 Rue René Boulanger
When Lavomatic first opened, it was an instant hit. Lines outside the laundromat next to Place de la Republique might’ve appeared obscure, but once you discover the secret doorway…magic materializes in the most unexpected manner. This uber cool cocktail bar appears to be someone’s apartment, now embellished with cozy sofas, swing chairs, and a black balcony for smokers yearning for a break. The cocktails are delectable, try a mean Old Fashioned or a fruity / tiki option straight from the menu. Come here and you’ll encounter the best “wow” moment of the night!
EAT/DRINK: Vivant – premium tapas bar
43 Rue des Petites Écuries
Tapas in Paris has taken on a whole new meaning than what you’d expect in Spain. If you look at popular restaurants like Le Dauphin, it’s clear that Parisians love a chic place to hang out where small plates are exceedingly well prepared, and the wine cave is completely natural. Most of the menu is inspired by Japanese and Scandinavian influences, therefore seafood plates are all the rage. Vivant is a highly popular spot especially among local foodies, so making a reservation a few days ahead of time is needed.
EAT: Kasha – innovative crêpes
9 Rue des Récollets
The menu at Kasha changes every season, so you’ll always be trying new and exciting recipes. Chef Alexis Bigaoui creates inventive crêpes and focuses on local products. Their signatures are savory galettes, but if you’re in the mood for something sugary, sweet crêpes are hard to deny. We recommend the burrata galette with its delicious ball of cow milk cheese and pesto, or the artichoke galette, with (you guessed it) artichoke cream and a runny egg. If you still have room and crave a little something extra, their crêpe cake is a must with beautifully defined layers and sprinkling of roasted hazelnuts.
EAT: Bang ! Viande du Monde – most interactive
112 Quai de Jemmapes
Right on the canal, this small steakhouse will fulfill any meat lover’s dream. First, you choose a personal assortment of raw meats and accompaniment. Tip: don’t ask for the ketchup with fries, they only provide mayo and barbecue sauces. From Argentinian Black Angus to Scotland steak, you’ll cook a personalized stash of meat on top of a mini lava stone grill, right at your own table! The starter menu encompasses two French classics: Os à moelle (bone marrow), and foie gras à la grappa. The wine menu is also natural-inspired, very true to this neighborhood’s BOBO spirit.
EAT/DRINK: Hôtel Grand Amour – fashion week crowd
18 Rue de la Fidélité
If you’re looking for a place for both dinner and drinks, this is a great choice. Another love child of hotelier Thierry Costes and artist André, Hôtel Amour (in Pigalle) opened to a massively posh following that a sister establishment was quickly in the works. Hôtel Grand Amour (10th arrondissement) is one of the IT places to see and be seen in Paris. There are multiple rooms for dining, drinking, and mingling, adorned with Helmut Newton and other rare vintage pieces. Smokers will love the open ceiling terrace where fashion week crowds sit for hours while pouring fabulous bottles of Bordeaux.
DRINK: Le Syndicat – outstanding mixology
51 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis
In midst of a crowded cocktail bar scene in Paris, Le Syndicat distinguishes itself as the first bar to use French ingredients in order to truly sustain local flavors. It’s clear the staff has enormous fun with their splendid innovations, reflecting upon the time when the team created 15 drinks paying tribute to famous Paris landmarks. Just in case you wanted to indulge in the tastes of Le Louvre, Moulin Rouge, or Eiffel Tower. Le Syndicat is located in an up-and-coming part of the 10eme arrondissement, its urban setting is what makes you feel even more like a local.
DANCE: Hotel Bourbon – chic nightclub
39 Rue des Petites Écuries
Since its inception, Hotel Bourbon has welcomed the likes of Emily Ratajkowski, The Weeknd, Georgia May Jagger, Kid Cudi while hosting company events for Prada, Miu Miu, Nike…and many more. Branding itself as the hotel for insomniacs, don’t mistake its name for an actual hotel. It’s a nightclub created by the Savoir Vivre lifestyle group. Originally a synagogue, today’s Bourbon contains much of its ancient woodwork. Since there’s no entrance fee, getting in might be difficult. So dress to impress, bring more girls than guys in your group then you can dance all night long with incredibly delicious cocktails.
DRINK: Gravity – local gem
44 Rue des Vinaigriers
Hailed as one of the World’s Best Bars, Gravity’s charm resides in its anonymity. Hidden in an obscure Parisian alley near Gare de l’Est, this cocktail bar oozes hip and sass all in one glass of beautifully made aperitif. For such an intimate space, the dramatic interior is realized by layers of striking wooden arches. Cocktails are equally climactic, some topped with homemade celery syrup or fennel seeds. Unusual, imaginative, and utterly luscious. The crowd is made up of locals, just as cool as the neighborhood, just as artistic as the bar.
DRINK/EAT: Café A – best terrace
Maison de l’Architecture, 148 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin
An old convent’s makeover altered this gorgeous space into the perfect place for a Sunday brunch under the sun. Café A has an outdoor bar with hammocks and picnic tables that locals love to enjoy with a mojito while people watch at its best. There’s also a swanky indoor space where the café holds various events with live DJs. During the day, don’t be surprised if you see quite a few creatives working on their laptops. Once happy hour hits, this terrace becomes a buzzed about spot for Parisians to kick off the night.
DRINK/DANCE: Le Comptoir Général – late night hotspot
80 Quai de Jemmapes
This 600 sq meter old barn right on the canal transformed into a shabby chic bar is a sizzling hub once the bistros have closed their doors. The multiple rooms and floors exude alluring African-French vibes, highlighted by eclectic curiosities displayed throughout the entire area. In the afternoons, families even bring babies here for some much needed R&R. Once cocktail hour strikes or late into the night, the dance floor is packed with hipsters and BOBOs ready to mingle. It’s no surprise that cocktails are African-inspired, you can also try organic beers at the bar. On Sundays, there are usually free film screenings in the evenings. On most nights, the bar closes around 1 or 2 a.m.