You can’t talk about what there is to do in République without talking about the Canal Saint-Martin. Originally conceived by Napoleon to supply freshwater for a Parisian population that was growing rapidly, the canal is a great place to walk around in the summer months, and there are restaurants and galleries everywhere. Alternatively, you could take a page out of a true Parisian’s book and grab a few beers and some charcuterie from a nearby grocery store for an impromptu day-long picnic.
The Centre Culturel Pouya, the Iranian Cultural Center on the Quai de Jemmapes is an unpretentious building on the Canal Saint-Martin. Showcasing all that Persian culture has to offer, it is a perfect, cozy place to visit for a tea in the middle of the day. The Pouya’s charm is not only its relaxed atmosphere, but the breadth of programs it has to offer on any given day. From poetry readings to plays to concerts and film projections, stop by the Centre Culturel Pouya for a truly unique experience in Paris.
Centre Culturel POUYA, 48 bis quai de Jemmappes, Paris, France, +33 1 42 08 38 47
A bit further away from République at the Belleville metro station and bordering the 10th and 20th arrondissement is Rue Dénoyez, a small alley-like street littered with graffiti and street-art where you can find artist ateliers and squats as well as small boutiques. It is one of the most famous streets in Paris that has a deep connection to the urban scene of the city, and after the ‘Sauvons la rue Dénoyez‘ (Let’s Save Rue Dénoyez) campaign, the street seems to have new life. Enjoy the artsy and bohemian chic side of Paris with a drink in some of the nearby bars.
Technically in the Marais but not far from République is the Place des Vosges, the oldest public square in Paris. Originally built in the early 1600s by Henry IV and inaugurated in 1612 to celebrate the marriage of Louis XIII to Anne of Austria, the Place des Vosges is a beautiful park surrounded on all sides by what now serve as mutli-million dollar residences, art galleries and cafes. The Place des Vosges is one of the premier people-watching spots in Paris and is a spot where several television shows and films are constantly shooting. If you’re lucky enough, maybe you’ll get to be an extra in the French version of CSI!
To get a little taste of South Asian culture in Paris, look no further than Passage Brady by the Gare de l’Est. The passage is just another example showcasing how multicultural Paris really is. The traditional Indo-Pak restaurants and boutiques boast a friendly staff and give this small street a different feel from the large Hausman buildings in the Western part of the city. For a break from la vie parisienne, head to the passage Brady for good food in a welcoming environment.