Paris is a big city and even though it’s fairly easy to get around with the extensive metro network, buses and the velib bike sharing system it’s still helpful to know which sights are close to each other and what all can be found in one certain arrondissement. So here are some tips for specific areas and possible neighborhood walks.
Getting around: The Metro system can be exhausting and crowded, but it’s the best way to get around the city, especially to cover longer distances. When you arrive in Paris you can buy a ticket for the length of your stay at a ticket booth in every bigger metro station, there are special tickets for the duration of one day to a week, or you buy a carnet of ten single tickets from a vending machine. Every ticket is valid for the metro, buses, RER network and can also be used for the velib bikes. It’s also possible to buy the tickets online in advance. If you want to use the Parisian bike sharing system Velib you can register online, download the app and rent bikes with your metro card. There are bike stations all over the city and once you feel comfortable enough to handle the local traffic, the bikes often are actually the fastest way to get around.
Porte Saint Martin is a mixed neighborhood with some traditional and some very stylish corners. On Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, which is a lively, local street with a bright mixture of Afro shops, local epiceries, hip cafes and small market halls you certainly find a place for every gusto and occasion. There is the cafe and flower shop Peonies, for example and Restaurant 52 Faubourg, which is open everyday for breakfast to dinner. The interior is clean and industrial but the food is a fresh, modern take on traditional french cuisine with local and in-season ingredients. They also have a delicious bottle of Sancerre. L’Avante-Poste around the corner is a lovely restaurant, too with a great fresh and interesting kitchen and welcoming and bright interiors. They also have a great value for money lunch menu. For cafe or pastries you should go to bakery BO&MIE right on rue Saint Martin and enjoy all the brioches, croissants and cakes. Another nice, small restaurant is Anahi, where they focus on Latin-American dishes, especially perfect steaks, but also great ceviche or fish. You’ll also have a good time and good food at Bonhomie or restaurant Pouliche. More popular restaurants to try are Fenchie, Racines, Vivant 2 and Richer.
Rue du Chateau d’Eau
Around this street you find more lovely shops and cafes. There is the great restaurant Les Résistants with local, fresh dishes in a bright, relaxed atmosphere, the sweet cafe O/HP/E and cool shops like Thanx God I’m a V.I.P., which is a great vintage store with old designer peaces and La Trésorerie, a nice interior shop.
Around lively Rue Montorgueil you find one of Paris oldest Patisseries, Stohrer, where you have to try the lemon or raspberry cakes. Then there is E. Dehillerin, a shop for kitchen supply where you find every tool you could possibly need for the kitchen. Also don’t miss the giant street art of Tintin on the corner of Rue d’Aboukir and Rue des Petits Carreaux. There is also the small cafe Echo and close by Le Café Noir on Rue Montmartre. For diner check out Bambou, a special Thai restaurant with several beautifully designed rooms or bistro Poulette. There is also Le Grand Rex, a historic art-deco cinema with one of Europes biggest screening halls.
Canal Saint Martin
A walk around Canal Saint Martin, its bridges and small romantic spots is lovely itself, but there are a number of great cafes, restaurants and shops, too. An absolute highlight is the cafe and bar Le Comptoir General. You get there through an unassuming backyard and feel like stepping into an exotic wonderland. Right at the canal there is the nice brasserie La Marine for coffee or drinks. Other nice cafes are the historic Hotel du Nord, Ten Belles, Caoua Coffee Stop and cozy Ama Cafe.
If your hungry there are many options on Rue de Lancry, like the cozy wine bar Le Verre Volé and Early June.
Around the corner on Rue de Marseille and Rue Beaurepaire you find nice fashion shops and the bakery Du Pain et des Idées. Also don’t miss the stylish fashion boutique The Next Door close by.