au pique-nique

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With its picturesque parks and emphasis on apéro, Paris may just be the picnic capital of the world. But there’s one alfresco dining location that will always have my heart…

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Whether it be a quiet morning croissant or a much-needed apératif spread, Le Canal Saint Martin reigns king among Parisian picnic places. Attracting young families, locals, and artists to its banks, the Canal captures all that is cool. Its mirrored green surface reflects the thriving trees and distinct architecture of the trendy neighborhood, showing pedestrians the fluttering, introspective Paris of the moment.

*Pro Tip: Grab un tradition at Du Pain et Des Idées and a coffee at Ten Belles in the morning, or a hummus toast at Caoua, a yummy salad at Myrthe and a bottle of wine in the afternoon, and get comfy. The people watching is unparalleled.

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canal st. martin et ten belles

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One of my favorite places to visit in Paris was le Canal Saint Martin.  During the day, the little village is quiet, reserved for the chicest of bobos, manning their boutiques and antique shops.  But come 20 heures, the canal is lined with said bobos and their picnics of wine, baguettes, cheese, and salami.  There are so many hipsters hanging on the edge of the Seine smoking their cigarettes and visiting with friends that it can be hard to even find a place to sit down.  To get the full experience, we had two picnics at St. Martin…one during the day when all was quiet, and one in the evening when the new street art is being put up and the air is flooded with french words.  I am already missing that sound!

Before our lunchtime picnic, Tegan, Melissa, Winnie and I headed to a coffee shop called Ten Belles.  Stopping in at this small but wonderful little cafe was definitely a highlight of the trip, and if you’re ever in Paris I highly recommend checking it out.  The place is owned by two French brothers (but the day we were there, it was being manned by just one of the brothers and a nice British boy), who pride themselves on serving what they claim as the best coffee in Paris.  They reeeeeally tried to sway my decision to order tea (I have never been a fan of coffee) but commended me when I asked for an order of scones.  Which were nothing short of amazing.  That’s when we saw sandwiches being brought out to the patrons sitting next to us, and decided that we must order one of each to go, for our impromptu lunchtime picnic of course!  When Melissa found 10 euro on the ground shortly after, we knew it was begging us to buy a bottle of wine for the picnic- and you can’t say no to the spirit of Paris!