Updated: Oct 3
Does any city evoke more romance than that of Paris? Every street corner spills with bistro tables, flowers adorn every window box. It's no wonder tourists want to see and do it all, but I prefer a more relaxed snippit of a city, especially if I've been a few times before.
For this guide I feature first-hand tips on things to do, places to eat and more in the areas near Paris Gare du Nord train station including Montmartre and Canal St. Martin. All doable on foot within 48 hours, the 10th Arrondissement and beyond holds many wonderful treasures for a short stay in Paris.
Seek romance, haute French cuisine and a touch of magic in this lesser visited area of Paris.
In this article you will find:
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Things to Do Near Paris Gare du Nord/10th Arrondissement Neighborhoods
Take the Funicular in Montmartre
Easy to find through a Google Map search, the entry to the funicular can be purchased at kiosks or can be accessed with the appropriate metro card. A short two minute trip up the hill in a covered funicular car takes visitors to the base steps of the Sacre Coeur Basilica.
With a child, this was a fun little adventure, and it certainly saves some walking time up the hill, which isn't too bad to walk anyway. Expect to spend roughly 2 euros for a one-way trip.
Behold the Sacre Coeur Basilica
Inside or out, this stunning Basilica is free to enter and walk around.
Inside, light candles in prayer or stroll quietly to observe the beautiful stained glass windows and interior architecture.
Outside witness street performers, the occasional beggar, and loads of tourists taking selfies. It is here that you may even witness a marriage proposal or a fashionista photo shoot.
Visit the Marche Couvert Saint Quentin Market
The city has many covered markets, but one that we enjoyed was the Saint Quentin Market. Busy and colorful, we bought some fruit for waiting on our train to the airport and wandered the stalls.
There were several attractive mini-restaurants set up for dining at bar tables or for take-away dining in their central seating area.
We got our itinerary notes tied up and ended up walking to the less exciting Saint Martin market, where we found an abundance of loitering Africans and Muslims with seemingly no place to be, making for a rather uncomfortable walk through the area with all of our luggage.
While Saint Martin market itself was indeed nice, it was not worth the walk to get there after comparing it to the Saint Quentin market.
Get Your Caricature Done
A common sight on your walk through Montmartre will be seeing dozens of street artists set up with their easels, eager to sketch your face. In truth, I regret not getting this for my daughter. They had lovely portraits on display with different styles to choose from.
Nearby there is a bustling square full of bistros and outdoor terraces. I suggest plopping down at one of them for a drink and sending some of your party off to get sketches while you wait.
Do Some Souvenir Shopping
With adults berets averaging four euros and children's berets at seven, naturally we got one for each of us. There are also a lot of adorable Eiffel Tower jewelry options. Maybe I look like a tourist, but I loved my souvenir shopping!
Not only is my Eiffel Tower jewelry set cute, but it only cost six euros. Bring cash if you wish, but most places took credit cards, so long as you spend a minimum amount around 5 euros.
Find Picturesque Streets
It's inevitable to find gorgeous architecture, so have your camera ready.
Related: Montmartre Walking Tour
Wander the Dali Museum
Focusing primarily on his later years and works from the '70s and '80s, I learned a lot about his life, his companion, and saw some beautiful works.
His strange style was on display in sculpture, on canvas and in many other mediums I would not have expected, like this lobster phone.
Everything he did had a sensual undertone and reading about the hidden meanings was extraordinary. This is worth a visit for 30-40 minutes, even if you are not familiar with his work.
You do not need to purchase in advance as there was no wait to get in. Children are welcome, but they should be on their best behavior.
Stroll Green Spaces at Jardin Villamin
Wander green spaces in the city garden and make your way toward the Canal St. Martin, where you can find markets, eateries and of course, a canal with boat rides.
Related: Canal Cruise at Canal St. Martin
Put Out Love Locks
The classic Parisian show of love, locks can be found all over the city, but especially at the base of the Sacre Coeur. Find vendors selling locks and I guess bring your own Sharpie to label it?
Take in the Vistas Around the City
Look, even in Montmartre I was able to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower! Always keep your eyes forward and seek out the marvel of the city.
Where to Eat Near Paris Gare du Nord/10th Arrondissement
11 Rue de Chabrol, 75010 Paris, France
Best for: Dinner
This place was a dream. The servers spoke welcoming English, infused with French charm. Helpful with not only translating the chalkboard menu, they also assisted with pairing the perfect wines with our meal, which consisted of oysters, a spicy whole crab plate, and an incredible bone marrow topped with steak tartare.
With picturesque red checkered tablecloths and offbeat antique decor, we beamed from ear to ear with smiles from the wonderful experience. It didn't hurt that our 3 year old had passed out from all the travel, either, making it even more romantic as she snoozed in her stroller beside us.
Even heading downstairs to the bathroom, the entire kitchen was boisterous with spirit, singing along to the tunes piping through the restaurant speakers. In a word, it was magical.
Creperie La Belle Bio
49 Rue de Paradis, 75010 Paris, France
Best for: Lunch
When in Rome, eat Cacio e Pepe. When in Paris, eat crepes! We stumbled upon this beautiful creperie run by a husband and wife team on our misguided walk to the wrong Saint something market on our last day in the Gare du Nord neighborhood.
Greeted with smiles and once again a welcome English translation of both the menu and our orders, we enjoyed the gracious company of our hosts.
My daughter was on a pineapple kick so we ordered her a ham, cheese and pineapple crepe - which she loved - and I went for the homemade ratatouille crepe. My husband, always the adventurous one, tried the French version of andouille - very unlike that in Louisiana, our host was kind enough to share with us, and we all ate happily.
Part breakfast food, part lunch, we felt extremely satisfied with our last meal in Paris. Go for lunch for a savory and salty style meal or indulge in something more sinful with one of their sweet crepes later in the day.
Ask for some of their locally sourced cider (my daughter had asked for apple juice). Reminiscent of the apple orchards we get cider from in the autumn at home, this was a delicious and unexpected surprise.
If you are lucky enough, they may also eventually have American style pancakes on their menu. Why get an American pancake at a French pancake place? Because our owner and host gave us a sample of the recipe they are toying with and I have to tell you, it was very likely the best American pancake I have ever had.
In any event, this creperie has class, charm and delicious crepes so be sure to stop in and tell them hello.
93 Rue La Fayette, 75010 Paris, France
Best for: morning fuel
A simple boulangerie or pastry shop, this place offered the typical croissants, quiches and basic pre-made chocolate-filled crepes. One unique thing of note was that the whole display case was buzzing with bees, who stopped for a sugary bite. No one else seemed to notice or care, so we didn't mind either.
The pizza bayonne was an excellent choice for a later morning start, fueling me for my walk to Montmartre. Filled with fresh tomato and cheese on a buttery croissant-like base, it was lovely!
Related: Paris Secret Food Tour
9-11 Rue Foyatier, 75018 Paris, France
Best for: Light lunch
Hear me out. I literally saw Americans laughing at the sight of an Irish Pub in Paris, but they don't know what I know.
Steps from the Funicular in Montmartre, we had only a one way ticket up, so we started the trek down the stairs towards the main tourist shopping street. About one set of stairs in, we determined by way of our wobbly legs and the heat index that it was time to stop.
Just in time, we see the lovely sight of green and cream bistro chairs lining a shaded outcrop from the stairwell. A double decker of a terrace, we were offered shade, quiet, and some nice cold Coca-Colas. There's really nothing like Coke in Europe - because of the real sugar in it of course!
We only had the sodas and a goat cheese salad, but it was wonderful. With a good bathroom stop, respite from walking, and cold drinks for people watching, I recommend this tucked away cove if you don't want to battle tourist crowds at the lunch hour. Eat light and save room for a big dinner.
Le Cafe de l'Eglise
2 Pl. Franz Liszt, 75010 Paris, France
Best for: pre-dinner cocktails
Go for the terrace decor and stay for the cocktails. Try the classic French 75 (gin, prosecco, lemon and sugar) or a Kir Royal, a trendy apertif served in Normandy and the North of France.
5 Rue Tardieu, 75018 Paris, France
Best for: the best macarons of your life
The sea salt macaron that I had at this place was unreal. Served slightly chilled, the outer texture sunk into my teeth and enveloped the cool caramel flavors in my mouth. Drool.
My husband and daughter slaughtered theirs before I could finish my sensual tasting, but suffice it to say - this was worth the stop. We casually found this place walking home after a duck into the super cute store Pylones, also worth a gander.
Related: Crepes and Macarons Tour
44 Rue de Paradis, 75010 Paris, France
Best for: Dinner
I want to be clear about one thing - Libertino is hip. A little too hip, really. I love a good Italian restaurant (and it WAS GOOD), but I am not a fan of super quick turnover service. The line to get in was a good indication that they were not strangers to being packed.
In fact, there was a line for those with a reservation and a line for those without. Because everyone in line was an American tourist, they didn't notice the French sign (except for moi) that indicated as such, and so we got in our line and got into the restaurant first after a cute opening routine yelled out in sing-song from the staff at the door.
The atmosphere was so stupid cute I don't even know where to start, and frankly it is what got me in the door in the first place. But the food was also exceptional. We enjoyed truffle pasta, rabbit ragu, a meat plate and also a giant burrata.
In the basement there is a secret bathroom door leading to a speakeasy. I literally gasped and chuckled when I found it, as I was only trying to find an open stall from one of the five bathroom doors before me.
It's like when in Wayne's World he opens the door to a room full of ninjas.
That's how I felt, seeing a huge dimly lit room full of patrons whispering closely and enjoying cocktails.
Meanwhile, upstairs the hurried pace of our meal felt uneasy as we had to continuously ask to slow things down. Dishes would come within seconds of ordering (and I wish I was kidding), sometimes before the server even left our table, the digitally received order would arrive.
Nonetheless, unpleasant timing gave way to excellent cuisine and romantic atmosphere, so you choose.
Places I researched but didn't have time to try:
Pedzouille L'Etable - super cute!
Chez Casimir - massive cheese platter, fixed menu
Brasserie Bellanger - beautiful food and atmosphere
La Taverne de Montmartre - open 12-2pm or 6-9pm for raclette, fondue, bourgonion
Best Place to Stay Near Paris Gare du Nord
This hotel in the Best Western family is not only centrally located (about 10-15 minutes walking) from Gare du Nord, but is also quite hospitable to families. Our family of three had a hard time finding a hotel we could walk to after our late-ish arrival on the chunnel train from London. After an entire day of flying from the States plus all the train travel, the last thing I wanted to do when we arrived in Paris is navigate taxis, subways or otherwise.
After literally days of scouring for the best prices on VRBO, I also searched my usual favorites including Expedia and Booking.com, and ultimately leaned into my Chase Rewards from my credit card for the best deal. After getting a $50 rebate and using some points I got my costs down to $269 for two nights, a bargain for that particular weekend. Depending on the dates, you'll find this hotel easily within $100-200 a night.
What I loved about it - besides the proximity to the train station, was that we could also walk downstairs for pastries, meal times and a short walk to the Montmartre neighborhood.
The lobby lounge area was delightfully decorated and the rooms were exceptionally clean and tasteful.
The shower was a great refreshment after travel, but the deep and man-length tub was a real treat. The toilet was housed in a separate, closet-like space allowing multiple people to get ready in the morning quickly.
Toiletries were included in the room like all the necessary soaps and lotions, shampoos and conditioners, and even a vanity kit. This helped greatly when we only had a small personal bag to contend with for the whole 3 days.
I was even deeply happy to see a Nespresso machine with pods for the morning. Hallelujah!
The staff was courteous and kind to my daughter (with little coloring book surprises) and overall it was a very comfortable stay. Bonus points to them for having an elevator (my kid was asleep in the stroller) and the AC cranked low when we arrived, neither of which is traditional in European hotels!
How To Get Around Gare du Nord Area
Trains and Metro
Trains and Metro
Although the Metro is an option in this area (and a great way to get around the city), this itinerary doesn't require anything more than good walking shoes!
We took a 5 euro train from Gare du Nord to Beauvais for our later connecting flight from Beauvais-Tille airport through the SNCF line and found it to be a very accommodating option for our itinerary. Other options included a direct bus from the Arc de Triumph area, which would have required more commuting than desired.
Despite some minor aches from choosing bad footwear, this entire itinerary is doable on foot, even with a 3 year old and a stroller.
Simply use your Google Maps feature on your phone and follow walking directions. They were always very accurate and easy to follow.
Taxis and ubers are available, but take note that short distance trips in the city can still take a long time in the car, increasing the fare.
Airport transfers can be pre-booked in advance for added relief and are often a good option for families with children, travelers with lots of bags, or people who just want to keep it simple.
10th Arrondissement Safety and Tips
Although we found the areas listed in this article safe, there are always precautions to take in any city.
Ensure bags are worn cross-body and all zippers are closed
Do not leave bags unattended, ever.
Consider avoiding areas east of Gare du Nord at night, take added precaution by day due to large crowds of loiterers
If paying in cash, do not show your entire wad of money
Be aware of things that Europeans do differently
Paris Gare du Nord Neighborhood In a Nutshell
Overall, if you are traveling through Paris en route to somewhere else, especially if venturing through the Gare du Nord train station, this list of handy things to do and places to eat will surely help to fill your time there.
Expect a lovely time with a perfect slice of the romance of Paris, without the overbearing burden of tourist crowds.