Bastille to Ménilmontant

Bastille, République, Oberkampf, Ménilmontant ...

Lying between the 12th and 20th arrondissements, the 11th is a relaxed neighbourhood that is both hip and popular. A favourite with Parisians, it is ideal for a shopping, cultural or family outing, as well as a great area for eating out and partying in. So, go along and explore Eastern Paris!

1 Place de la Bastille

L'Opéra Bastille, Paris © OTCP - David Lefranc

In the 14th century, an eight-tower fortress was built here to defend the royal city. However, the city quickly expanded and the Bastille lost its military role. It became a prison, the cells of which symbolised the arbitrary nature of royal power. Six hundred rioters, mostly from the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, stormed it on 14 July 1789, and at the cost of one hundred deaths, they set free … six prisoners. The fortress was demolished soon afterwards, and the legend built. In the centre of the square, the Colonne de Juillet, crowned by a winged figure of Liberty, commemorates the revolutionary days of 1830 that also set alight this rebellious neighbourhood.

2 Around Bastille

Boutique 39 Charonne, Paris © OTCP - Stéphanie Rivoal

This is the place to check out young fashion designers and cool street wear. On rue de Charonne and rue Keller, boutique windows vie with each other in colour: orange, turquoise blue, candy pink ... the neighbourhood is also a favourite of neo-punk Lolitas, fans of vintage, mangas and tattooing. At the end of the day, bars ring the bell for happy hour. Towards rue de la Roquette, there is a concentrated cocktail of Latino aperitif bars, pulsing restaurants, lounge cafes and euphoric dance floors.

3 Manufacture du chocolat Alain Ducasse

Manufacture de chocolat Alain Ducasse, tablettes, Paris © Pierre Monetta

A place like no other in Paris! An enrober, a winnower, a roaster: the equipment at Alain Ducasse’s chocolate atelier pays tribute to the art of traditional chocolate making – a veritable labour of love that results in the very finest chocolate. This is a must-see for all gourmets: an opportunity to sample and stock up on the mouth-watering chocolate bars, spreads and assorted chocolates made right here in the atelier of the famous French chef.

4 Pure Café

Café Campana - intérieur, Paris  ® Café Campana

A typically Parisian brasserie with a terrace sheltered from the noise of passing traffic, the Pure Café is a prestigious setting for a meal, with vintage decor including a zinc counter and ceiling mouldings. This bistro is a place of timeless charm, where you can have a coffee or tuck into a proper meal at any time of day.

5 Place de la République

Place de la République, Paris © OTCP - Amélie Dupont

The square’s huge dimensions were drawn up in 1854, at the convergence of the new Haussmannien boulevards. Its creation severed the boulevard du Temple from its most lively section, nicknamed the 'boulevard of crime' in reference to the melodramas played out in its many theatres. Among the allegories of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, a nine and a half metre-high bronze Marianne was erected at the centre of the square. Draped with a classical toga and leaning on the Tables of Law, she brandishes an olive branch.

6 Ober Mamma

Ober Mamma © Renaud Cambuzat

The bustling and affordable trattoria Ober Mamma is a branch of Big Mamma, a chain with restaurants popping up all over Paris. A favourite haunt of Italian food fans, this place serves up traditional specialities that are every bit as authentic as the dishes served in restaurants across the border in Italy!

7 A few steps away from République

Ave Maria restaurant, Paris © OTCP - Amélie Dupont

The bustling crossroads of rue Oberkampf and rue Saint-Maur, as well as rue Jean-Pierre-Timbaud, are full of cosmopolitan crowded bistros, cafe theatres and small bars. In this little area, you’ll find music and everything you could want to nibble, sip, whistle and mix right through the night.

8 Galerie Openspace

Galerie Openspace - Jan Kaláb © Jan Kaláb

Devoted to urban contemporary art, the Openspace art gallery gives visitors the opportunity to admire art with a difference. Since 2012, this welcoming venue extending over an area of more than 200 m² has exhibited many different forms of art. Open to one and all, it hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

9 Le Perchoir

Le Perchoir, Paris

Located on the 7th floor of a former industrial building in the Ménilmontant district, the Perchoir is currently one of the top spots to have a drink in Paris. Hosting DJ party nights, exhibitions and concerts, this unusual rooftop bar offers a breath-taking view over the Paris rooftops.

10 La Maison des Métallos

Maison des Métallos, Paris  © DR

Firstly an industrial plant, then a brass instruments factory, the Maison des Métallos was transformed into an arts space for professionals and amateurs. It is a place for cultural exchanges and a venue for hosting local events.