place d'italie paris

(Via VINGT PARIS)

The 13th arrondissement has a style all its own. Divided into two principal areas, Chinatown and Butte aux Cailles, the 13th is unpretentious, international, and authentically bohemian.

The arrondissement is bordered in the north by the foot of the Latin Quarter, to the east by the Seine, to the west by Montparnasse, and La Petite Asie in the southernmost boundary.

Dive into Chinatown’s mélee at metro Tolbiac (7). Exit the metro and make your way on the Rue Tolbiac towards the Avenue de Choisy. At the intersection of Rue Tolbiac and Ave de Choisy you can either take a right down the Avenue d’Ivry or a left up the Avenue de Choisy.

Turning right on the Avenue d’Ivry will lead you to two mainstays of the Chinese, Indonesian, Cambodian, and Vietnamese culture in Paris. The superstore Tang Frères at number 48 is the go‐to for local residents, restauranteurs, and adventurous eaters. Rumor has it that the market is so large, railroad tracks actually lead into it!

Just up the street and to the left on the Rue Simone Weil is a lovely Asian bakery named Pâtisserie de Saison. The coconut balls and steamed pistachio cake are highly recommended.

Head north and cross the intersection of the Rue Tolbiac and Avenue de Choisy again.

On the right is the Rue du Docteur Magnan and the effervescent café L’âge d’Or. The Age of Gold has live music, dance workshops, an art gallery and a surprisingly fancy menu for a café. Morning, afternoon, and night there is always something happening at L’âge d’Or!

On the other hand, if Vietnamese pho is what you’ve been hankering for, then you’re in luck! Pho 14 at number 129 Avenue de Choisy must have a secret recipe for their amazing soup. Fresh basil, bean sprouts, spices, and delectable broth draws Parisians from across the city.

Now head for the hills and the Butte! The Butte aux Cailles is a quaint rise in the middle of the 13th arrondissement. The knoll was farmland in a previous incarnation, and likely owned by a certain Monsieur Cailles (also meaning “quail” in French, which makes the moniker even more charming).

Take the metro one stop from Tolbiac to Place d’Italie. (Note: there is an excellent ice creamery La Tropicale just on the Place d’Italie, specializing in organic and decadent ice cream coupes.)

From the roundabout, take the Rue Bobillot. Walk for about 15 minutes and then turn right onto the Rue de la Butte aux Cailles. The skinny cobbled street will transport you to a small village in the blink of an eye.

The Rue de la Butte aux Cailles is lined with cafés during the warmer months. Pop into L’Oisive Thé at number 10 for a tea and a spontaneous knitting session. Just down the street is a quirky boutique dedicated to artisanal honey. Les Abeilles also stocks anything a potential beekeeper could need.

Inch up the hill and notice the hip shops and leafy squares surrounding you.

Turn right at the intersection of Rue de la Butte aux Cailles and Rue des Cinq Diamants. Then take a right up the Rue des Cinq Diaments. In a few meters turn left onto the lovely green Passage Barrault. Street art by sexy feminist Miss.Tic adorns the walls.

Graffiti and street art wink around street corners and have become fused to the quartier’s identity. Stencil artist Miss.Tic tattoos public buildings with graceful black and white images of provocative ladies, usually annotated by feminist statements. Keep an eye out for spray‐painted accordion players by Jef Aérosol who also favors the neighborhood as his canvas.

Baladez (stroll) around the neighborhood and enjoy the village within the city! Return to the Rue des Cinq Diaments for a pre‐dinner apéro at Chez Gladines. The Basque restaurant and bar is positively hopping with locals on the weekend. Nothing touristy or frilly here, just plenty of Basque pride and hearty duck cassoulet.

Chef Christophe Beaufront’s affordable and inventive cuisine at L’Avant-Goût is a stylish dinner option on Rue Bobillot. Among dozens of pizza places, Les Cailloux is a standout little French‐Italian bistro on Rue des Cinq Diamants. A diamond in the rough indeed.

The banks of the Seine is where the 13th lives it up after dark. Head to Les Voûtes for a truly unique art experience. The art and event space is under the arches of a bridge. The exhibits are surprisingly professional for an artists’ squat. Fashionistas will appreciate the new Cité de la Mode et du Designand its public programs. Its spaceship‐style green building along the Quai d’Austerlitz wows even the jaded architecture maven. Hip bar and café Wanderlust is also in this complex, their giant terrace plays host to occasional markets and performances, and is just a great place to enjoy an apèro in the sunshine.

The riverfront stars the nightclubs Batofar and Djoon. Batofar is a decommissioned red boat that now hosts live music and a rocking bar (literally) every night. Djoon is a piece of New York on the Boulevard Vincent Auriol. Soulful DJs, a slick bar, and an unbeatable waterfront view draw well‐dressed young things ready to dance until sunrise.

Known primarily as Paris’ Chinatown until the past decade, the 13th is being reinvented and rediscovered day by day! The 13th arrondissement is a village within a city, a world outside of France, and yet so Parisian.

RESTAURANTS

Chez Gladines
30 Rue des Cinq Diamants
Ph. 01 45 80 70 10
Hours 7/7 12-3pm, 7-11.30pm
Metro: Corvisart (5)

Hoppin’ Basque restaurant in Butte aux Cailles

L’Oisive Thé
10 Rue de la Butte aux Cailles
Ph. 01 53 80 31 33
Hours Tues 12-3pm, W-F 12-7pm, Sat & Sun 11am-7pm
Metro: Corvisart, Place d’Italie (5,6)

L’Avant-Goût
26 Rue Bobillot
Ph. 01 53 80 24 00
Hours T‐Sat 12pm‐2pm, 7:30‐10.15pm, closed in August
Metro: Corvisart (6)

La Tropicale
180 Boulevard Vincent Auriol
Ph. 01 42 16 87 27
Hours M‐F 12‐7.30pm, Sat 3‐8pm (from May), Sun 3-8pm (June and July)
Metro: Place d’Italie (5,7)

Ice cream!

Les Cailloux
58 Rue des Cinq Diamants
Ph. 01 45 80 15 08
Hours M‐F 12‐2.20pm, 7.30‐10.30pm, Sat & Sun 12-2.45pm, 7.30-10.30pm
Metro: Corvisart (6)

Pizza please!

Pâtisserie Saison
2 Rue Simone Weil
Ph. 01 45 84 37 70
Hours T‐Sun 10am‐7pm
Metro: Tolbiac (7)

Asian pastries, yum!

SHOPPING

La Clairière
8 Rue de L’Espèrance
Ph. 01 82 09 44 79
Hours Fri‐Sat 2:30pm‐7pm (by appointment only in August)
Metro: Corvisart (6)

Delicately embroidered curtains, precious glassware, and home accessories make this interior décor boutique worth the jaunt across the Butte aux Cailles.

Les Abeilles
21 Rue de la Butte‐aux‐Cailles
Ph. 01 45 81 43 48
Hours Tues‐Sat 11am‐7pm
Metro: Porte d’Italie (5,7)

Honey for your honey. Perched on Butte aux Cailles.

Tang Frères
48 Avenue d’Ivry
Ph. 01 45 70 80 00
Hours M‐F 9am‐8pm, Sat 8am-8pm, Sun 9am-1pm
Metro: Porte d’Ivry (7)

CULTURE

Air de Paris
32 Rue Louise Weiss
Ph. 01 44 23 02 77
Hours Tues‐Sat 11am‐7pm
Metro: Chevaleret (6)

Avant garde art gallery.

Batofar
11 Quai François Mauriac
Ph. 01 45 21 06 78
Hours Bar and club open 7/7 12pm‐6am
Metro: Bibliothèque François Mitterand (14)

Bar open during the summer, light dining at night, live rock/indie performances year round.

Cité de la Mode et du Design
34 Quai d’Austerlitz
Ph. 01 70 38 89 89
Hours 7/7 12pm-midnight
Metro: Chevaleret (6)

Wanderlust
32 Quai d’Austerlitz
Ph. 01 70 74 41 74
Hours 7/7 from 12pm Sun-M until 2am, Tues-W until 4am, Thurs-Sat until 6am
Metro: Chevaleret (6)

Djoon
22 Boulevard Vincent Auriol
Ph. 01 45 70 83 49
Hours Dinner and late night discotheque (until 5.30am on weekends)
Metro: Quai de la Gare (6)

L’âge d’Or
26 Rue du Docteur Magnan
Ph. 01 45 85 10 58
Hours Sun-W 9am‐12am, Thurs-Sat 9am‐2am
Metro: Olympiades, Tolbiac, Place d’Italie (14,7,5,6)

Les Voutes
19 Rue des Frigos
Hours Based on artistic programming
Metro: Méteor (14), Quai de la Gare (6)