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When friends and family come to visit Paris for the first time, I take them to see those essential, legendary Paris spots that no one should miss. Once they've gotten their fill, though, I show them some of my favorite nooks: village-like spots where Parisians go to escape the big-city bustle. Places like the Saint-Martin Canal, where you can amble across graceful footbridges, picnic, or people-watch from lazy café terraces. If you want to gain a quainter perspective of a city known best for its glamour and pomp, go explore these charming Paris niches yourself.

Pictured: Alsacian-style houses in the residential Butte aux Cailles neighborhood. © 2006 Courtney Traub.

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