Alex Billington has seen the classic 1938 French film – and now she can’t bear to leave the hotel. Here’s why…

The Hotel du Nord is one of the finest places to hang out in Paris, offering velvet drapes, a room to work, a restaurant and a library with lowlights and candles.  The Hotel du Nord is Sexy with a large capital ‘S’. Stepping inside takes one back to another era, evoking images of smoky eyes, grand amours and Old Paris at its low-key finest. This is the place to come to if you want to fall in love…. or simply eat and drink well with friends; the menu is small but impressive and the wines are well-chosen.

Close by is the Canal Saint Martin. It was Grand old Napoleon himself who commissioned the construction of the Canal  Saint Martin, in Paris, in 1802 to provide the city with a fresh water supply.

The canal was dug out between 1802 and 1825, funded by tax on wine (proving there was enough wine being purchased to finance such a grand plan). Later the area (located in the 10th district) was inhabited by the working  classes, only recently becoming a hip and happening area to live.

Today the canal is more of a Paris attraction than practicality, having inspired  artists such as Alfred Sisley. It was featured in Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante (1934) as well as Amelie (2001) and the 1938 French classic about seedy star-crossed lovers – a certain Hotel du Nord…..

If you want to see Canal St Martin the old fashioned way there are cruises that run along the canals and you can find the details here: http://www.pariscanal.com/?lang=en

Hotel du Nord, 102 Quai Jemmapes, Paris 75010. +33 140 407 878
Website: http://www.hoteldunord.org/english.html

Photo: Courtesy of The Hotel du Nord