The train rolled into the station and I reached into my pocket, searching for my phone. I was already running late and it was a little drizzly, so I was trying to figure out what exit to take for Belleville. To my dismay, which turned to anxiety, I realised that in my rush to get out the door, I had left my phone on my desk. It’ll be fine, I told myself. There’s only on exit at Belleville. Wrong. There are five exits, but miraculously I choose the right one, and found my darling friend Madeline standing in the rain, huddled under her pastel-blue raincoat.
What began as a stressful morning turned into a delightful (incredibly rainy) stroll through Belleville and Canal Saint Martin. I realised how lovely it was that I wasn’t stressed about pulling my phone out every few minutes for the time, or Instagram, or messages. I had the pleasure to just admire everything we passed by. Merci Madeleine for showing me your Paris!
A Guide to Belleville and Canal Saint Martin
(I’m planning to go back; this is a running list!!)
Le Petit Grain
I read on David Lebovitz’s blog that this place is not to miss, and at one point, was the creator of his favorite current croissant. Since I’m on the hunt, had to check it out. The savoury pastries are pretty good and worth a stop if you’re in the neighbourhood. The croissant was…well, in my opinion, not the best, but I do believe the dough was fermented, so there was a tang. Interesting. The exterior was something delicate that rained buttery shards with each bite, but I found the inside just a tad dry. Beautiful layering and taste, but a little dry. Still worth it, though.
Le Parc de Belleville
Definitely coming back for the viewsssssssss! It was so foggy with rain, but we somehow were still able to make out the outline of the Eiffel Tower. I can’t imagine what it’d look like in full sun. Plenty of hills, stairs, and colourful flowers. It’s just around the corner from…
The drinks were ok, but the interior (and exterior) darn charming. Madeleine said it had ’70s vibe. I don’t know my decades very well, but there were plenty of funky lamps; dried flower arrangements; copper/bronze tones; and natural light. It also doubles as an art gallery! We ducked inside for warm drinks and to hide from the rain.
A ginormous park that I’ve already written about, but infinitely better with friends, and kinda magical in the rain. There’s even a vintage photo booth where the photographs are printed on film, it takes a full three minutes, and there’s no timer to let you know when the photos are going to be taken. Have your best four poses at the ready!
Rue Saint Marthe
One word: COLOUR. Take the stroll.
I’ve stopped here before, too, but only for drinks. Ordered the croque monsieur this time and it was cheesy in the best way.
Canal Saint Martin
It’s literally down the street from La Fontaine, and a walk along the canal is certainly a good idea. More happy colours, and a delightful store Madeleine and I both love, called Make My Lemonade. Pretty much all the dresses have pockets. I’ll leave it at that. I also discovered (thanks to Madeleine, because she was giving me a tour) ARTAZART, an emporium of books, magazines, and other little odds and ends for artists of any domaine, with an emphasis on photography and design. Can you say heaven?
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