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Theatres and cinemas in Canal St-Martin, Ourcq and Villette

Mk2 Quai de Loire & Quai de Seine

The twin MK2 cinemas on either side of the Bassin de la Villette offer an all-in-one night out: multi-screens, restaurants, decent waterside cafés and two-person 'love seats'. A paragon of imaginative programming, MK2 is growing all the time, cleverly appealing to both art-house puritans and blockbuster lovers with an eclectic range of films from around the globe (usually in VO - version originale).Inside the Quai de Loire branch, the screens sit alongside an unexpected American deli (your search for an overpriced box of Lucky Charms is over) and a cheap ‘n’ cheerful diner-cum-coffee shop. Unless you’re a big fan of sub-standard hot dogs (€5) and absurdly elaborate caffeine-based milkshakes (€4-5), don’t come here for the menu, but rather for the wonderful outdoor terrace by the water. Trendy media venues are slowly encroaching on this remote end of the Canal Saint-Martin, and this bar provides an ideal vantage point for a spot of hipster-watching.Five minutes’ walk away on the other side of the Bassin, the MK2 Quai de Seine boasts a branch of the Italian chain Corso. Though expensive, the restaurant is satisfactory enough, and its outdoor seating offers an equally pleasant view of the canal.If you can't be bothered to walk from one venue to the other, we have a solution for you: a boat called Zéro de Conduite (after Jean Vigo’s 1933 film) carries passengers across the canal between the sites, saving you those precious few minutes.

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19th arrondissement

Couvent des Récollets

Founded as a monastery in the 17th century when still outside the city walls, this barracks, spinning factory and hospice was a military hospital from 1860 to 1968. Left empty, the convent was squatted by artists, Les Anges des Récollets, in the early 1990s. The buildings were renovated and reopened in 2004. One half, the Maison des Architectes, hosts a garden café and architectural debates. The other is the Centre International d'Accueil et d'Echanges des Récollets: 85 studios and duplexes for foreign 'creators' - artists and researchers (from painters to neurobiologists) - invited to stay here for extended periods. In rehabilitating the building, architect Frédéric Vincendon left traces of its history: the ghostly 17th-century stonework, 20th-century reinforced concrete columns and squatters' graffiti.

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North-east Paris Free


Lady Gaga played in this Art Déco style music hall before she was famous, and now streams of artists (both up-and-coming and confirmed) grace the stage for concerts that include pop-rock, slam, chanson française and a sprinkling of jazz and heavy metal. The venue holds between 600 and 800 people, so it’s the perfect size for atmospheric, but intimate gigs. It's also in a top spot for a post-concert night out along the Canal St-Martin.

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10th arrondissement