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Canal Saint-Martin is finally coming into its own. Here's a brief guide. (Photograph by David Bacher)

Young and Hungry in Paris

The Paris neighborhood around the Canal Saint-Martin was long known more for decaying warehouses than for its wrought iron bridges.

Then came the popular 2001 movie Amélie, with its title character skipping stones along the nearly three-mile-long canal, and the tree-lined waterfront in the 10th arrondissement became a perennial up-and-comer.

Finally, the tide has turned for the quartier, and its rough edges have been smoothed out for picnics and promenades. “Like Shoreditch in London, or Williamsburg in New York, it’s where the new things are being created in Paris,” says business owner Mickael Benichou.

> Sweet Spot: Industrial-chic Liberté bakery puts new spins on old favorites. Order the “bobo au rhum” dessert, its name a nod to the neighborhood’s hipsters, whom Parisians call “bourgeois bohemians” or “bobos.”

> Show Time: Take the pulse of the indie music scene at canal-side Point Éphémère, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in October 2014.

> Save the Date: During the art-centric Nuit Blanche (“white night”) on the first Saturday of October, Paris parties all night in gallery-rich districts such as Canal Saint-Martin.

  • Travel Trivia: Paris’s former state funeral parlor, which made all of the city’s coffins in the 19th century, reopened in 2008 as Centquatre (or 104), a massive art space. 

This piece, written by Amanda Ruggeri, first appeared in the October 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.

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