This lively area, south-west of Gare de l’Est and just north of the Haut-Marais, is actually cool in the way the Canal Saint-Martin used to be 10 years ago (and like your dear Editrix was — and may once again become — thanks to this very publication…). This is the epicenter of evening terrasse (outdoor/sidewalk) dining ‘till closing time. It feels gritty, but it’s not (So only the normal level of Paris handbag clutching is necessary…). As the Canal Saint-Martin inoculated itself against rebellious cool by injecting chain stores straight into its main thoroughfares, the cool kids picked up stakes and moved slightly west behind the old stone gates. Come on over, they don’t bite.