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Bars in Canal Saint-Martin, Ourcq & Villette

Le Troquet des Glaces

Critics' choice

The 10th arrondissement is studded with the sort of bars that attract mobs of hipsters and repel everyone else; so it's refreshing to find, nestled among them, a snug little joint that has no pretensions to high fashion. Le Troquet des Glaces hasn't been here long – it opened in early 2013 – yet it has all the charm of an established neighbourhood bar.True to its name, the bistro welcomes you with a convivial bar area surrounded by mirrors. If you find that your own reflection makes for a disconcerting drinking buddy, you can repair to a 12-seat outdoor terrace (heated in winter). Incredibly, we've never had trouble finding a seat in either area – though that may change as word of mouth spreads. Fine wines and gourmet sandwiches are the order of the day, though it's worth shelling out for one of the divine cheese and meat platters. But what elevates Le Troquet above its neighbours is Yassin, the impossibly charming owner, who's treated us like long-standing regulars since our first visit. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy: now there's nowhere in the area we'd rather go.

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Canal Saint Martin

Mama Kin

Critics' choice

Opened near the Canal de l’Ourcq, Mama Kin jumped right in, offering a full programme of live music and DJ nights since its launch in May 2011. Their dedicated crew organises regular acoustic concerts, inviting jazz manouche, rock, funk, blues and folk groups, or DJs spinning hip hop, reggae, groove and soul. Separated into two rooms, the bar is painted a sandy colour. You’d think you were at the beach, with exotic trinkets washing up on the shore. A striking mural by street artist Da Cruz stretches across the walls of the room next door where the concerts are held. It’s worth coming for the unique, vibrant surroundings alone. Once you’re there, you’ll be tempted by a wide variety of Belgian beer. It’s also open during the day for coffee or a quick meal on the hop including savoury tarts or a ‘welsh’ (rarebit).

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Bassin de la Villette

Bar Ourcq

Critics' choice

This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. If chilling on a deckchair on the banks of a canal or playing pétanque gets you going, head to Bar Ourcq of an evening, where a flip-flop wearing, shorts-sporting clientele is welcomed with open arms. On summer days, crowds gather for open-air guitar jamming sessions or to picnic on the banks of the canal, refuelling at Bar Ourcq with plastic goblets of cold beer or bottles of wine. Things get pretty boozy as the day wears on, leading many a pétanque player to squint uncertainly at their target, and every throw draws ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the audience of fellow drinkers.It’s much less busy here than on the Canal Saint-Martin, with no passing cars to pollute the tranquil atmosphere. What’s more, you can eat and drink for next to nothing, with drinks from €2.5 and savoury snacks from €1.5. Apart from the busy summer terrace, the winter months offer many cosy corners in a cosy, pouf-strewn bar area where those in the know come to spend afternoons indulging in books, board games and free Wi-Fi. In sunnier months, DJs play electro from 5pm, the perfect soundtrack to celebratory after-work drinks in front of the sunset – and they spin on until midnight during the week, 2am at the weekends.

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Bassin de la Villette

Péniche Antipode

Critics' choice

This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. In 2002, the Abricadabra theatre company transformed this boat moored on the Canal de l’Ourcq into a floating café, with shows for youngsters during the day and plays and concerts for adults in the evenings. In this enchanting Peniche (houseboat), kids 3-8 years old are entertained and educated by screenings, mimes, songs, comedies, shadow puppets and more – and the actors’ antics contain many a nod and a wink for the adults’ amusement. In the evenings, the Peniche alternates gypsy jazz, rock, reggae, blues or funk concerts with improv or theatre sketch nights, and from time to time DJs will spin roots, dub, electro or breakbeat. The bar is well supplied, but you won’t find coca-cola – the products are all artisanal and fair trade.

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19th arrondissement

La Rotonde

Critics' choice

Transformed into a bar-restaurant, the magnificent ancient Rotonde on Place Stalingrad has become a favoured destination for partying Parisians. A vestige of the old city wall of ancient Paris, the Rotonde was built a year before the French Revolution by Claude Nicolas Ledoux, one of the founders of the neoclassical movement. It only just survived Haussmann, who wanted to knock it down in the aftermath of the fire of Paris in 1871, and the construction of second Metro line in 1903, which also threatened it with destruction. Today, miraculously conserved, the Rotonde is the jewel in the crown of a district that, since the development of the banks of the Ourcq canal, has been enjoying a thorough renaissance.

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19th arrondissement

Rosa Bonheur

Critics' choice

This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list.Bucolic delights reign at Rosa Bonheur, a bar set in a former guinguette in the heart of the Buttes Chaumont park. Its name loosely translates as ‘pink happiness’ but refers in particular to 19th-century French painter and sculptor ‘Rosa Bonheur’, famous for her depictions of animals and her role in the early feminist movement (alongside George Sand and Sarah Bernhardt). The bar is managed by Michelle Cassaro, aka Mimi, who used to run lesbian club Pulp – and the bar is a popular hangout with the lesbian crowd, especially on Sunday evenings. But the Bonheur is nothing if not relaxed in every sense, and for Parisians of all persuasions its terrace is the place to see and be seen in the summer – an idyllic spot in the park for wine and tapas with just the birds, bees and bobos for company.

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19th arrondissement

Le Pavillon du Lac

Critics' choice

In the middle of the Parc Buttes Chaumont, the Pavilion du Lac and the park’s five other pavilions opened in 1868. Restored in 2010 after lying abandoned for ten years, it has been transformed into a high class restaurant with chef Fabien Borgel in the kitchen. For a sunny Sunday, reserve one of the tables on the beautiful terrace, in front of the pavilion or in the garden to the left. In winter, there’s a choice between the cosy, elegant downstairs dining room or the equally comfortable one upstairs, behind a big glass window. Either way, you’ll enjoy being surrounded by the park’s greenery. On our visit we had the cold coup of petit pois ,delicately scented with mint and served with a skewer of grilled fresh prawns, and a plate of burrata with truffles and dark Crimean tomatoes with herb oil. Then Angus beef pavé, served with smoked new potatoes and pan-fried girolles mushrooms. The fried fillet of brill came with artichokes cooked à la barigoule and al dente gnocchi. Keep room for a fabulous home-made dessert, like a giant home made millefeuille with creamy pistachio mousse. There are some extremely reasonable set menus on weekday lunchtimes, all served by relaxed and efficient staff – highly recommended. There’s also a terrace to the right of the pavilion that’s reserved for the bar. In summer, the Tropical Discotek collective organise nights here that go on after the park is closed, and Radio Nova plays sets for its annual Spritz Tempo residence.

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Buttes-Chaumont

La Villette Enchantée

Critics' choice

This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. Underneath the neo-industrial arches of Parc de la Villette’s Grande Halle (a former cattle market), La Villette Enchantée does indeed enchant – notably with its terrace, an elegant winter garden with tables and chairs that spill out on to the cobbles under its brightly lit roof. In summer, wooden garden furniture is spread out on the lawn so you can relax and soak up the sun. And at night (Thursdays to Sundays), DJs entertain with cutting-edge electro sets. French electro maestros Kavinsky and Joakim and the label Tigersushi have all played here, and recently, hip Parisian events crew Eleganz has taken over the programme – making La Villette Enchantée one of Paris’s hottest spots after dark.

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