Hip, edgy, spacious, gentrified, family-friendly… Eastern Paris has it all! From its charming squares, markets and public parks to its bistros, pubs and funky clubs, in Eastern Paris there’s something for everyone. Here are some tips and tricks for discovering some of the best places in town:
The 11th arrondissement
Situated on Paris’ Right Bank, the 11th is a trendy, dynamic arrondissement that’s particularly popular with students and young families. Stretching from the historic Place de la République in the west to the neighborhood of Bastille in the east, it is replete with quirky vintage shops, bars, restaurants and clubs. Around the Place de la Bastille, you’ll find a international community, whereas towards Oberkampf and Ledru Rollin there’s a more distinct urban feel.
Overall, we’d recommend the 11th arrondissement as a central, vibrant and affordable area for your stay in Paris. Here are our top 3 recommendations:
1.) The Place de la Bastille (shared with the 4th, 11th and 12th: former site of the Bastille prison, which was destroyed during the French Revolution)
2.) Musée Édith Piaf (see our article on the legendary French singer)
3.)Cirque d’hiver (a historic entertainment venue first opened by Napoleon III)
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The 12th arrondissement
Also known as Bercy, the 12th arrondissement is a vast residential district that’s too often overlooked as a place to stay in Paris. Situated on the Eastern edge of the capital, it covers the enormous Bois de Vincennes (Paris’ largest park, which is home to a zoo, lakes and beautiful botanical gardens).
Don’t miss out on a trip to the Bercy village, a magnificent set of historic warehouses in the Cour Saint-Émilion, where you’ll find shops, markets, restaurants and plenty of entertainment on offer.
Right on the banks of the Seine, the Parc de Bercy is another great option for those in search of green spaces. We recommend grabbing a bite to eat at Le Train Bleu, a historic and opulent French restaurant on the first floor of the Gare de Lyon train station. Here are our top destinations to explore in the 12th:
1.) The green spaces of the Bois de Vincennes, Parc de Bercy and Promenade Plantée
2.) The Palais de la Porte Dorée (a colonial exhibition hall turned immigration museum – La Cité Nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration)
3.) The Marché d’Aligre (a lively open market held every day except Mondays on the rue d’Aligre)
4.) Visit the Picpus Cemetery (which houses the famous tomb of the Marquis de Lafayette)
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The 20th arrondissement
A large residential district in the north-east of Paris, also known as l’arrondissement de Ménilmontant, the 20th arrondissement contains the lively residential neighborhoods of Belleville and Ménilmontant.
Historically a working class district, the 20th has been reborn and revitalized as a trendy young neighborhood that’s popular with students and artists and celebrated for its ethnic diversity.
Lodgis Tip: Are you a fan of the iconic Édith Piaf? Are you inspired by the immortal words of “Je ne regrette rien” or her portrayal by Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose”? Visit the little-known memorial of the legendary French singer, a statue located in the Place Édith Piaf, just outside the Porte de Bagnolet Metro station (Line 3).
If it’s majestic columns or designer brands that you’re after, then the 20th perhaps isn’t the arrondissement for you. But if you like the sound of cheap rent, a photographer’s paradise and bohemian nightlife, then look no further! Here are our top picks:
1.) The Père Lachaise Cemetery (a beautifully preserved cemetery where you’ll find the tombs of Balzac, Chopin, Molière, Proust, Édith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison, to name just a few.)
2.) The Parc de Belleville (offers stunning panoramic views across Paris)
3.) The Montreuil Flea Market
4.) Chinatown Paris (a taste of China on the Boulevard de Belleville)
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