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.