République is our favourite area to stay in Paris. I’ve been to the French capital a few times, and my partner lived there a couple of years, and we still choose it every time.
Here are the reasons why.
Location and Connectivity
The Place de la République (formerly known as the Place du Château d’Eau) is a square located on the border between the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements. It includes a statue of the personification of France, Marianne, as shown in the image above.
The main advantages of staying in this area, in terms of location and connectivity, are the following:
- The Place de la République is served by lines 3, 5, 8, 9, and 11, and also by plenty of buses.
- 11 streets meet in the square.
- It’s within walking distance of some of Paris’ main landmarks:
- 25 minutes to Cathédrale Notre-Dame
- 29 minutes to Louvre Museum
- 23 minutes to Place de la Bastille
- 40 minutes to Luxembourg Gardens
- Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe are 1 hour and 15 minutes away, which may not be too much for some people (very easy and quick by metro though)
- It’s next to the fashionable, trendy and hipster area of Le Marais in the 4th arrondissement, also known as SoMa (South Marais), which is filled with hip boutiques, galleries, and gay bars. Once the city’s Jewish Quarter, the area still hosts numerous kosher restaurants.
- Everybody knows French people are keen on strikes and protests, for very good reasons. If you have that problem, it’s only 25 minutes from Gare du Nord on foot. (Bear in mind that there could be demonstrations in the square, it’s not very common, but it could happen).
The Canal Saint-Martin is 50 metres away from the square, and it is also a very good reason to stay in the area.
It is a 4.6 km (2.86 mi) long canal connecting the Canal de l’Ourcq to the river Seine. Over nearly half its length (2069 m), between the Rue du Faubourg du Temple and the Place de la Bastille, it was covered, in the mid-19th century, to create wide boulevards and public spaces on the surface.
Today, the canal is a popular destination for Parisians and tourists. Some take cruises on the canal in passenger boats. Others watch the barges and other boats navigate the series of locks and pass under the attractive cast-iron footbridges. There are many popular restaurants and bars along the open part of the canal, which is also popular with students. And it’s a popular picnic area in summer.
Bread, pastries and cheese in République
Du Pain et des Idees is one of the best bakeries in Paris, and one of its signature pastries is the escargot pistachio (Pain aux raisins), as shown in the picture above, which is a variant of the croissant or pain au chocolat, made with a leavened butter pastry with raisins added and shaped in a spiral with a crème pâtissière filling.
Its owner has won numerous national awards for his bread and pastries. All their products contain a generous amount of fillings and organic ingredients. It’s not the cheapest bakery in Paris, but it is well worth a visit.
Barthelemy is one of the most popular cheese shops in Paris, as you will find in blogs, videos and guides. But besides its popularity, it will never disappoint you.
It’s a small shop with so many options. The smells and variety are remarkable. Top-quality French cheese from all regions and some Europeans as well. You will find blues, goat, ewe, runny, mould, smelly, hard, semi-hard, soft, chalky, nutty, oozing, yielding, holey and more.
And for those who know little about cheese, the service is great. Just ask and they will help you narrow down your selection. (Extra gossip: Apparently the owner Nicole has supplied cheese to French Presidents and celebrities)
Best restaurants in République
Before listing bistros and brasseries, I would like to recommend Marche des Enfants Rouges, our favourite street market in Paris. It is the oldest covered market in the city, established in 1628 as the “petit marché du Marais”.
You will find a friendly atmosphere and a good range of Italian, Lebanese, African, Japanese and other stalls. Our favourite was Le Traiteur Marocain, where we had a delicious chicken tagine, as shown in the picture above. (Opening times: Tuesday-Saturday: 8.30 am-7.30 pm; Sunday: 8.30 am-2 pm)
Le Bistro de Oies was our favourite traditional French restaurant in the area. It’s a cosy local place offering delicious food from the South West of France. Duck, foie gras, snails and tartare are some of the classics available.
It’s not the cheapest place but it is an excellent value for money. Bookings can be made on their official website, which is available in a few languages.
Astier is another very traditional French restaurant in the area. It’s simple and unpretentious and includes red and white napery. Another place where you will never be disappointed.
One of their signature dishes is an all-you-can-eat cheese plate. But they have a good variety of delightful traditional options and a great selection of wines.
It’s a bit more expensive than average, but not that much. The main dishes are between €25 and €40. The 3-course set menu could be a better deal, costing €46.
Cafe Charbon is an institution that has been attracting nocturnal Parisians for more than a century. It’s a casual but elegant cafe with a traditional and stylish ambience.
It’s well known for its belle époque decoration, which includes a very shiny bar, high ceilings, chandeliers, leather booths, red banquettes, tarnished mirrors and iron lamps.
The restaurant offers a delicious dish of the day at 10€ daily. There is also a happy from 5 pm to 8 pm, and DJs and musicians play Friday and Saturday (electro, pop, and jazz for all generations).
La Fine Mousse is a fine dining taproom. It is a place dedicated to craft beer, with an additional French menu. It is not sophisticated nor super expensive, but you normally would not expect such kind of food options in a taproom.
You can find a vast variety of craft beers, with 20 taps that are rotated, as well as a bottle collection that brings the total offer up to 150 different beers. You will find artisan beers from France, Belgium, Norway, the USA and England. Prices range from €3.50 to €10.
On the other side, its restaurant offers creative and high-quality cuisine. They do an excellent job pairing the beers with seasonal menu offerings. It’s a great place for both beer geeks and food enthusiasts.
Do you want to know more about French cuisine? Visit our post “Paris Best Food: What to eat in a Day“.
Best bars in République
Le Barav was our favourite spot. It’s a contemporary and super friendly bar à vins, located on a small corner in the trendy upper Marais.
It’s a bar with personality, yet simple and cosy. They offer a dozen wines by the glass that can be chosen from the blackboard over the counter, or you can go to their shop next door, where you will find a cellar with over 250 wines.
If you choose the latter, which I recommend, there is a €5 corking fee. It’s also worth knowing that if you don’t finish your bottle, you can take it with you. The staff is quite knowledgeable and speak very good English. they can easily help you to narrow down your selection.
They also offer simple charcuterie, cheese, salads, and sandwiches. The food is not of super high quality, but good enough to enjoy the amazing wines. Extremely good vibes.
Unfortunately, booking is not available and the place can get quite busy, so get there on early side. They will put you on a waiting list and you enjoy a glass while you wait to be called, and seated.
Our favourite red wine of the trip was Gazouille by Domaine La Piffaudiere, from the Loire Valley.
Le Cinquante was another little gem, local and cosy, but full of character (and people). Excellent for having some drinks among Parisians. Not a lot of space though, but enjoyable nonetheless.
These days it’s established enough to produce customised T-shirts and bar stools. To honour its name, the pub presents a 50s-style decoration and it is located at 50 Rue de Lancry. The area close to the bar is small with no more than 5 or 6 tables; however; there are two bigger rooms at the end which are reserved for dining and music.
Intimate concerts are held regularly. Sunday is open-mic night and it has become very popular. Marcello Song System is the star of the day. This guy comes around 17:30 to entertain the audience. Be prepared to should a number to select a song, and sing. Most songs are French classics tough (Piaf, Gainsbourg, Brassens).
Le Comptoir General was another great nightspot. As defined by themselves: “A timeless place out of a midsummer’s night dream. A haven of escapism renovated with meticulousness and passion. Inspiration, relaxation, meetings… You’re on holiday.“
It’s a cocktail bar, restaurant, gallery and museum, and is one of the most exotic places in Paris. It comprises multiple and diverse rooms with sofas, tables, vintage decoration, colonial stylings, vintage lights, a tiny tropical garden, tiled floors, red carpets, skeletons, rare bird feathers, stuffed animals and African souvenirs.
It is one of the most popular venues in the Canal Saint-Martin area, so queues can be expected, especially from 8 pm onwards.
Inaro is another fabulous wine bar, whose main concept is “Eat, Drink and Set the world to rights“. It’s located metres away from the square and is a great spot for a quick catchup drink or a laid-back dinner.
With a wooden decoration and shelves with bottles, the restaurant works with local independent producers to offer a selection of meats, cheese, and seafood, to be accompanied by a great variety of wines that are meticulously chosen by their specialist, Pierre-Alexandre.
Pierre and his team offer suggestions based on your taste and preference. The wine comes in three labels: ‘good’, ‘better’ and ‘awesome’. A picnic takeaway menu is offered during summer, including a bottle of wine, charcuterie, and two plastic wine glasses. It’s an affordable shop yet sophisticated enough.
They have also opened a new wine bar and shop, Inaro Maubeuge.
And there are many more places:
- Le Petit Nicoli is another recommended wine bar and dining cellar dedicated to the sale and tasting site of natural wines. They offer a selection of fine grocery products for sale, such as burrata, cured meats, homemade terrine, and a great variety of wines.
- Lavomatic is a speakeasy with a lot of character and tasty cocktails. It’s at the back of a launderette and offers signature cocktails for €9, wines from small producers for €5 a glass, and small dishes to share for €8.
Best hotels in République
We stayed at Hotel Gabriel Paris and we think it was a great choice. It’s metres away from the square and the Canal Saint-Martin. The rooms are modern and spacious, and the bathroom, shower and other facilities were also excellent.
With an uncluttered Zen atmosphere and contemporary decor, this luxurious boutique hotel offers a private and elegant setting to create a quiet sense of relaxation.
Guest rooms are stylishly decorated and equipped with modern en suite facilities including a flat-screen TV, an iPod dock and free, unlimited Wi-Fi access. Rooms are also equipped with a Night Cove digital sleep aide. The bar lounge captures a surrealist decor.
Other good options in the area, ordered by price from high to low, are the following:
- Hotel Fabric. Chic hotel in a former textile factory. Contemporary decoration and generous buffet breakfast.
- Le General Hotel. Another great option, with modern decoration, L’Occitane amenities, buffet breakfast and excellent location.
- Hotel Taylor. Simple but elegant boutique hotel. The rooms are also stocked with Nespresso coffee, snacks and a minibar with drinks, all of which are free of charge.
- Hotel Alhambra. Ideal for summer as it features a 400 m² private garden, which most rooms face to. Good value for money.
- Absolute Hotel Paris République. Also simple and good value for money, located at the edge of the trendy Canal Saint-Martin.