There are two distinct slices of urban life along the canal St. Martin: on the southern side, the realm of the bobos (bohemian bourgeois) urban and modish, crowding all the watering holes and designer boutiques in the vicinity of the canal banks. On the northeastern side, past the Bassin de la Villette, a moodier panorama, an undisturbed body of water opens up leaving behind the urban commotion.
It is at the drawbridge of the Rue de Crimée, the Flanders bridge, that Paris metamorphoses into a taciturn city. This stretch of the canal has abandoned all pretense to serve as companion to the recreational offers downstream. I love this unpolluted walk, one of the few corners where flâner, that art of strolling meditatively, still preserves all the marks of its French origins. As the tenacious documenting of every corner of the city continues in the blogosphere and the colonization of her outer corners persists, this spot remains an unadulterated and unknown gem.