Bastille: Relaxed and cool

The district’s chequered population is made up of working class people, bourgeois bohemians and an arty crowd.

Situated at the crossroads of the 4th, 11th and 12th arrondissements, Bastille has a multi-faceted make-up: working class, bobo and artsy. Bursting with cafés, bars and restaurants, it is known for its lively nightlife scene. Though some Parisian scenesters have deserted the area in recent times, Bastille has given itself a makeover and is back on trend.

Food shopping

Eating well is easy in the vicinity of Bastille. The area between the Faubourg-Saint-Antoine and Rue de Charenton is home to one of the most traditional markets in the city: the Marché Beauvau, better known as Marché d’Aligre. Working class folk mingle with bourgeois bohemians at this covered market with street stalls around it. The area has numerous food shops: the Langlet-Hardouin cheese shop (which stocks no fewer than 80 varieties of goat cheese), locally made oils at Sur les quais, coffee merchant Café Aouba, where you can sit and drink an espresso, and even a meat-free butcher shop, La Boucherie végétarienne, selling delicious meat substitutes made from vegetarian paste. Other not-to-miss shops: gluten-free grocery Bears & Raccoons and Paris Saint Bière, stocking hundreds of beers. The best place for a sandwich is definitely Chez Aline, a tiny restaurant in a former horsemeat butcher shop, where you can order that simplest of French classics, a ham and butter sandwich,  to eat in or take away.


Need a shot of culture? Bastille also has many busy art galleries such as Arts Factory, Less Is More Projects and the cosmopolitan Dorothy's Gallery. Along Avenue Daumesnil, 50-odd ateliers are tucked away under the arcades of the Viaduc des Arts. The place is well worth visiting for insights into all kinds of different crafts. If you’re shopping for art, go to the Marché Art et Création Paris-Bastille, which takes place every Saturday on Boulevard Richard Lenoir.

Marché d'Aligre © DR
© Phillippe Mariana


This area of eastern Paris is a hub of new-wave gastronomic food; many high-profile young chefs have opened restaurants in Bastille and around. Treat yourself to a Michelin-starred meal at Septime (one Michelin star); check out Australian chef James E. Henry’s smart bistro Jones, sample fusion cooking from a former candidate on the Top Chef TV show at Pierre Sang in Oberkampf and enjoy inspired neo-classical fare by the Levha sisters at Servan.

Going out

Bastille really comes to life after dusk. There are bars for all tastes: a bistro ambience in the ‘coquetel’ (French Canadian spelling of ‘cocktail’) bar À la Française and a speakeasy feel at Moonshiner, hidden behind the walk-in fridge of a pizza place. For a multitasking evening out, head for the The Lab, where you can have a haircut while you sip a cocktail. Among Rue Oberkampf’s array of pavement-occupying bars and eateries, the historic Café Charbon and wine bar Aux Deux Amis are worth mentioning.

Restaurant Septime, intérieur, Paris © François Flohic
Moonshiner, vitrine avec alcools, Paris © Pierre Lucet-Penato

Quiet strolls

Step back from the bustle of Paris and savour some peace and quiet on the Bassin de l’Arsenal, a short walk from Place de la Bastille. Once a commercial port for the loading and unloading of goods, it is now used by pleasure craft. With its terraced garden, it is a pleasant spot to sit and relax, have a stroll and watch the boats. Alternatively, you can head from Place de la Bastille to an unusual green space: the Promenade Plantée, also known as Coulée Verte René-Dumont. Running through the 12th arrondissement along a disused railway track, this elevated path more than 4km long, punctuated by tunnels and viaducts, is a wonderful place to walk amid lush and varied greenery.

Port de l'Arsenal, Paris © OTCP - Amélie Dupont
Promenade plantée© Amélie Dupont

Paris Visites

Guided tours

Discover the mythical places of Paris on foot (or by minibus or by electric tuk tuk) on a private guided tour. The itineraries......

Atelier des Lumières

38 rue Saint-Maur, Paris, 75011

Located between Bastille and Nation, in a former foundry in the eleventh arrondissement of Paris, the Atelier des Lumières holds......

Marché de la création Bastille

Antiques | Specialist markets
Boulevard Richard Lenoir, Paris, 75011

The largest weekly art market in the capital. A real Tower of Babel, the Marché de la Création houses 200 artists:......

Aux Deux Amis

45 rue Oberkampf, Paris, 75011

A great atmosphere and unexpected culinary treats: this appealing eatery packed with 70s charm serves an assortment of tapas and......


Traditional French cuisine
43 rue Godefroy Cavaignac, Paris, 75011

Jones is a friendly, no-frills neobistro in the 11th arrondissement. You can enjoy one of the dishes available at the bar while......

Café Charbon

109 rue Oberkampf, Paris, 75011

To the great delight of night owls, Le Café Charbon, founded in 1900, is open until 4am. A great venue on one of the liveliest......

CheZ Aline

Fast food
85 rue de la Roquette, Paris, 75011

Simple, tasty food and quick service at this eatery in a former butcher’s shop near Bastille. Delicious snacks and home-made......

Coulée verte René-Dumont

Park, garden, promenade
Avenue Daumesnil, Paris, 75012

Created in 1988 by Philippe Mathieux and Jacques Vergely on the former railway line, which linked Place de la Bastille to......

Pierre Sang in Oberkampf

Traditional French cuisine
55 rue Oberkampf, Paris, 75011

The chef Pierre Sang, made famous in 2011 by the TV programme Top Chef, opened his first Parisian restaurant on the lively rue......

Port de l'Arsenal

Street, area of interest
Boulevard Bourdon - Boulevard de la Bastille, Paris, 75004 - 75012

The port has everything from landing stages and little boats to a harbour master’s office, gulls, and seafood restaurants. If it......

Septime 1/5 MICHELIN

Traditional French cuisine
80 rue de Charonne, Paris, 75011

Septime is one of the best restaurants in rue de Charonne, which nevertheless already has plenty! Up-and-coming chef Bertrand......

Le Viaduc des Arts

Art de vivre | Haute couture, luxury
1-129 avenue Daumesnil, Paris, 75012

A stone's throw away from place de la Bastille in the 12th arrondissement, the internationally renowned Viaduc des Arts, display......

Marché Beauvau - Marché d'Aligre

Food markets
Rue d'Aligre et place d'Aligre, Paris, 75012

Between the place de la Bastille and the place de la Nation, the Beauvau market - also called the Aligre market (in name of where......