Crowded around place Pigalle at the foot of Montmartre you’ll find an eclectic selection of nightlife options, from local cafes and hipster dives to dance clubs and hostess bars. In contrast, the trend around the Canal St-Martin is more barista-run cafes, though wonderful summer nights (and days) see everyone decamp to the canalside quays with blankets, baguettes and bottles of wine. In the 10e, parallel rue du Faubourg St-Martin and rue du Faubourg St-Denis and surrounding streets are speckled with cocktail bars, hybrid bistro-bars and hip cafes.
Hôtel du Nord
For a glimpse of life along Canal St-Martin before it became cool, the film to watch is Marcel Carné’s Hôtel du Nord (1938). The high-drama plot revolves around the residents of the hotel – including a canal worker, a prostitute, a drifting criminal and a lovesick girl – beginning with a botched double suicide and ending with a murder. The highlight is the dialogue, delivered with an old-fashioned Parisian accent. Although shot in a studio, author Eugène Dabit, whose stories formed the basis of the film, lived at the hotel when it was run by his parents. It’s now a cafe.