Five Easy Paris Pieces: Discovering Paris, Paris Part Two



Part Two of this three-part series on Paris, Paris is more than a two-fer it's a Multi-Fer: The Blvd Richard-Lenoir Market plus a favorite nearby cafe, the canal Saint-Martin, AND Ma Bourgogne plus Places des Vosges…

Bon voyage et bonne lecture…

As Paris, Paris cruises through it's ninth printing, and we enjoy the company on our private walking tours of more and more of the book's (smart, savvy, curious) readers, the time has come to share a handful of our favorite spots, some of the places that make Paris, Paris — which is what the book (and our tours) is all about.




Discovering the Blvd Richard-Lenoir open market, Café de l’Industrie and Canal St-Martin





Every Thursday and Sunday morning you know where I’ll be: the open market on Boulevard Richard Lenoir abutting Place de la Bastille. It just happens to be Paris's best. We buy housewares—from burner-top toasters to flexi-spigots—fruit, vegetables, range-raised poultry, fish, and cheese from family-run business with stands here, many of them certified organic. Even if I’m not going to shop I come to view the merchandise, enjoy an espresso at blissfully quiet, cozy Café de l’Industrie (one block east of the market), and then walk up the boulevard to the Canal Saint Martin. It runs underneath the central esplanade in the middle of Boulevard Richard Lenoir where the market is held. The underground canal emerges into a tiny park under spreading sycamores. That's where the Quai de Jemmapes and Quai de Valmy begin. The first humpback bridge leaps over the canal about 100 yards further along. From there all the way to the edge of Paris you stroll by a series of tuneful locks, stretches of placid, greenish water, trees five stories high, plus nightclubs, restaurants, cafes and self-adoring Parisian trendies who are more fun to watch than tame peacocks. This is one of the city’s current hangouts for hipsters.



Breakfast coffee or aperitif at Ma Bourgogne on Place des Vosges


The sunny, western side of the Place des Vosges—the centerpiece of the fashionable Marais neighborhood—has long been colonized by the tables of Ma Bourgogne, a café-restaurant on the corner of the square. Several times a week I come here for a simple breakfast—coffee, croissants, a glass of water or juice. Some people swear the food is more than edible (that has not been my experience over the last decades). My advice is, stick to something simple and liquid like coffee or a glass of wine. The view takes in the arcades and pavilions of the famous, 400-year-old square, plus of course the comings and goings of the politicos and plutocrats who live here. One former minister happens to live practically next door to Ma Bourgogne, another bigwig embroiled in high-color sexual controversies hides out just a few pavilions down. Watching them slide smoothly from their dark-windowed limos into the entrances of their $10 million apartments is both amusing and instructive. You begin to understand why the French Revolution happened. The best views of the square are from on high—from those apartments—but nothing beats sitting on a bench under the clipped lindens and listening to the fountains. It’s entirely cost free.

 Come back soon for Part Three: My Favorite Bus Ride in Paris (everyone's favorite number) and the World's Most Alluring, Romantic Cemetery: Pere Lachaise (here without an accent, for the search engines!).


Take a tour with us




Come and meet us on book tour in America in April and May: click for the complete schedule

Read the whole 5-piece discovery series in one big bite on Sweet Leisure, a fun travel blog by Susan Katzman

Share Button