Paris 12th Arrondissement Guide
If you're looking for a Paris neighborhood that has it all, look no further than the 12th arrondissement. This vibrant district has plenty of trendy shops and restaurants. Whether you're looking for a place to stay or just want to explore, I've got everything you need to know about Paris's 12th arrondissement!
Place de la Bastille and Opera Bastille are important spots to see in this arrondissement. Opera Bastille was built to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. Bastille also served as an essential part of French history. It commemorates where the French prison once stood before being stormed by revolutionaries in 1789.
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History buffs would also probably love to visit Lafayette’s tomb, which is located in this arrondissement as well. Today, the site is maintained by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The 12th has a very cool hotel called Hotel Paradiso that is cinema-themed including a mural you can only from inside the rooms. Every room is decorated for a different movie and has a great rooftop area as well.
One of my favorite spots is Le Train Bleu inside the Gare de Lyon train station. A gorgeous bar and restaurant, it is decorated with luxurious gold ceilings and chandeliers. The restaurant has been open since 1901 and is renowned for being the choice of celebrities and the upper class for dining and scenery in the World War II era.
It is a bit on the expensive side but you can actually enjoy breakfast here. The restaurant signs are misleading, listing only lunch and dinner menus, but they do petit dejeuner as well! Mr. Misadventures and I had a delightful cafe and croissant while ogling the decor!
In keeping with the train theme, Le Viaduc des Artes is a train line that has been converted into workshops for artists and craftspeople. Tourists can visit to see what the local artists are working on. Additionally, many will recognize the beautiful arches that make up the tunnels as a photo-worthy piece of Paris just down the street from the Bastille.
It’s within the La Coulee Verte, a beautiful Paris staple. The Coulee Verte is built on another old train railway and serves as a beautiful, elevated park destination. It is 2.9 miles or 4.7 km long. And it isn't too far from the famous (or infamous depending on who you speak with) Rue Cremieux featured on Instagram feeds around the world for its multi-colored homes.
The largest park in the city, Bois de Vincennes (translated to Wood Vincennes), is also located in the 12th arrondissement. This park has over 2,450 acres (or nearly 1,000 hectares). It is three times the size of Central Park in New York City. Tourists can go on a boat ride, watch a horse race, ride the Saint-Mandé carrousel (Paris carousel info here) or bask in this large garden's beautiful flowers and lake.
If sightseeing isn’t your only priority, the open-air Marché d’Aligre is a must-see for food lovers. Food blogger David Lebovitz has extensively written about this farmer's market and it is a wonderful area to explore.
Le douzième is the largest and one of the greenest neighborhoods in Paris. Aside from the area located near Bastille, with its bustling bars and hip restaurants, it is a fairly quiet district. If you don't mind a short metro ride to get to the main attractions and want to experience how the Parisian middle class lives, it is a great choice to stay.
Great spots in the 12th arrondissement curated for you:
12eme/12th Arrondissement Restaurants
- Bistro S (5-7 Rue Saint Nicolas) refined French cuisine served in a warm atmosphere.
- Blé Sucré (7 Rue Antoine Vollon) known for the very best croissants in Paris.
- Boulangerie Bo (85 bis Rue de Charenton) patisserie with Japanese-inspired flavors.
- Boulangerie L'Essentiel (254 Avenue Daumesnil) gourmet bakery.
- Cafe CC (6 rue Théophile Roussel) near the Aligre Market.
- Cafe Emikipop (13 Rue Antoine Vollon) Artisinal Popsicles.
- Jinchan Shokudo (154 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine) Japanese restaurant specialising in Izakaya.
- La Bamba, Le Jardin Suspendu (102 Rte de la Pyramide) an outdoor restaurant with a gourmet terrace in Parc Floral.
- Le Train Bleu (Gare du Lyon) an iconic restaurant with majestic decor steeped in history.
- Virtus (29 Rue de Cotte) trendy restaurant offering refined and inventive dishes.
12eme/12th Arrondissement Coffee + Tea Shops
- Café Aouba (30 rue d’Aligre) freshly roasted coffee with beans from Columbia, Mexico, Kenya and many more places.
12eme/12th Arrondissement Bars
- Le Baron Rouge (1 Rue Théophile Roussel) a friendly, popular wine bar.
- Le Calbar (82 Rue de Charenton) intimate bar offering tailor-made cocktails served by barmen in boxers and ties.
- Rosa Bonheur à l’Est au Chalet de la Porte Jaune (Porte Jaun, Avenue de Nogent) a joyful tavern in the middle of Bois de Vincennes.
12eme/12th Arrondissement Parks, Museums & Things to Do
- Bercy (old warehouses turned trendy shopping district)
- Bois de Vincennes, a beautiful park/forest area with lakes, weeping willows, and an abandoned human zoo.
- Cinémathèque Française (51 Rue de Bercy) a museum filled with the history of cinema housed in an ultra-modern building designed by Frank Gehry.
- Cité Debergue, a quiet cobbled street in the Bel-Air district where small craftsmen resided in order to create houses.
- Cour du Bel-air, a charming artisanal cobbled courtyard from the 17th century freely accessible during the week.
- Fairground Museum (53, avenue des Terroirs de France) is a museum of genuine fairground objects of the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Ground Control Gare de Lyon 81, rue du Charolais) multidisciplinary living space with a variety of restaurants, bars, markets, and activities.
- Jardin du Bassin de l'Arsenal (53 Blvd de la Bastille) a public park along the canal with cafes, playgrounds, and two pergolas.
- La Petite Ceinture, an abandoned railway track that was used to carry passengers. It is now used by walkers, hikers and explorers.
- La villa du Bel-Air, a cobbled street next to the abandoned train tracks of the Petite Ceinture, popular with hikers.
- Lafayette's Tomb at Cimetière de Picpus (35 Rue de Picpus), the most popular tomb of the cemetery and the final resting place of Marquis de Lafayette.
- Le Viaduc des Arts (1-127 Av Daumesnil) a train line converted into a place for workshops and events on the lower level, and a linear green space on the top level.
- Musée des Arts Forains (53 Av des Terroirs de France) a private museum showcasing fairground objects with one of the oldest functioning carousels. Seen in Emily in Paris in episode 7 of season 1.
- Opéra Bastille (Place de la Bastille) is a modern opera house with a transparent glass facade holding ballet and classical events.
- Palais de la Porte Dorée (293 Av Daumesnil) the Museum of the History of Immigration and the Tropical Aquarium showcasing 300 animal species living in over 80 different settings.
- Passage du Chantier, a little cobbled street with several woodworkers and artisanal cabinet makers.
- Place de la Bastille, the square where the Bastille prison once stood and was destructed during the French Revolution. Now, the square is centered on the ‘July Column', and is popular for events and concerts.
- Port de l'Arsenal, a former cargo port, now a marina, houses tiny boats and pontoons. The port also has a garden along one side for perfect picnics.
- Promenade Plantée, a walking path created on a former railway line spruced with a variety of wild and planted vegetation.
- Rue Crémieux, the beautiful street adorned with colorful houses.
12eme/12th Arrondissement Shopping
- Aligre Market (Rue d'Aligre, Place d'Aligre) is a local market offering a little bit of everything. There is also the Puces d'Aligre a flea market that takes place every day except Mondays.
- Bercy Village (Cour Saint Emilion) a paved courtyard surrounded by terraces, shopping stores, restaurants, and entertaining activities.
- Ma Petite Épicerie (18, rue d’Aligre) wines, cheeses, charcuterie and olive oil.
12eme/12th Arrondissement Lodging
- Hôtel Paradiso (135 Boulevard Didero) is a cinema-based hotel with a private screening in every room and a great rooftop bar.
- Hôtel Marceau Bastille (13 Rue Jules Cesar) an upscale hotel with an artistic atmosphere and colorful rooms.
How about you? Do you have any 12th arrondissement additions? Have you been to this area of Paris? Did you find this post helpful for a future trip?
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You have a great list of things to do here. I just love Paris!
This part of Paris looks like the area that my sister always visits when she is in France. It looks like a great place to be!
I actually gasped when I saw your photos of “Le Train Bleu”, this place is just…. stunning!
That street with the multi-colored buildings is so nice! I’d love to visit Paris again.
I always wanted to go and visit Paris!
These are all really great list of things to do there!
What a beautiful place! I can’t wait to do a European tour in the future!
Reading your posts I can say that I feel that I know Paris already. Thanks for all these details!
These are such lovely pictures and I am so wanting to visit France. This posts makes me want to even more 😉
That train station restaurant looks so beautiful!
I love that quiet street with all the colorful houses. I’d enjoy an early morning walk in that place.
What an amazing place, I would love to visit and take my early morning walk through it.
I love the sound of the restaurant in the train station. It sounds like somewhere I’d love to visit.
I can walk here the whole day and will never get tired! Thanks for bringing us with you in this post!