For a taste of hip and relatively authentic Paris living, absent the deluge of fanny-pack wearing tourists, head to the Canal St-Martin quarter on the east (yes, east) bank of the Seine. Here, amidst the myriad trendy shops and restaurants around Rue Beaurepaire, you'll find a refreshing change from the overwhelming crowds and exorbitant prices of the river's opposite bank. Though many mistakenly take the 2 ½ hr tour down the Canal via boat, it's much more entertaining to walk the streets of this reemerging neighborhood, stopping at the relaxed parks and fashionable cafes that make it a true Parisian experience. Speaking French here is definitely a plus.
Location:Along the Canal St-Martin, centered around Rue Beaurepaire, Paris
Note:Highlights include the Quai Ouest music hall and MK2, a combination movie theater/bookstore/restaurant.