As local Franco-American artist Marcus McAllister explained, he rarely picnicked or strolled the Canal when he moved to Paris from New York in the late 1990s. After the beloved café Chez Prune opened in 1998, followed by design bookshop Artazart in 1999, however, the waterway became more popular. "That’s when the Canal started being on my radar," he said.
Back in the heyday
Since the early 2000s, new shops and restaurants have sprung up, like the trendy Pink Flamingo, which delivers pizzas to picnickers on the canal.
"Five years ago, there was nothing at rue de la Grange aux Belles, and that’s where I see the biggest difference," McAllister explained. Today, this street is home to Ten Belles and its excellent coffee, and the adjacent Bleuet Coquelicot, which houses an often barefoot florist and his impeccable flowers. By 2012, Paris’s first gluten-free bakery opened right by the expensive weekend organic produce market just one block from the canal. After living here for the past eight years, I feel like the grit and grunge that attracted the first wave of gentrifying bobos is all but gone.