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Paris Profiles – 13th Arrondissement with Lena of Salut from Paris

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So happy to bring you a new edition of Paris Profiles this time a guide to Paris’s 13th Arrondissement from new friend Lena of Salut from Paris. The 13eme is known for its Asian flair as it is home to one of Paris’s Chinatowns, but also has an impressive amount of other Asian cultures like Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese and more. I was super excited to connect with Lena because truth be told, I have not spent a lot of time in the 13th, just here and there.

Given that I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for close to 30 years and enjoyed the fruits (okay, dimsum) of the large Asian culture combined with my own trips to China, Japan, and more, I just never felt the need to eat or shop in the 13th. However, now that I am no longer living in California, nor traveling as extensively to Asia, I will be seeking out the 13th for restaurants and more on my next visit to Paris!

But the 13th also has a rich history of innovation, textile, and artistic endeavors. It escaped Baron Haussman’s transformation of a Paris with grand boulevard’s so its streets still retain a village-like atmosphere. It has an interesting architectural variety as well influenced by a lot of artists over the years.  It is definitely one of the more unique arrondissements and I am so glad we have Lena to show us around! 

Lena from Salut from Paris

[1] Favorite thing about the 13th arrondissement.

The thing I love most about the 13th is the diversity and the lively spirit. Even though it’s a rather residential area, it has a very diverse and colourful flair.

Around Place d’Italie with its high apartment buildings, you find the biggest Asian community in Paris. And with it comes Asian supermarkets, knick-knack stores, food stalls, New Year’s parades and of course amazing restaurants.

My second favorite thing in the 13th is the Butte-aux-Cailles. It’s a hilltop neighbourhood famous for its little bars and restaurants, cute cobbled stone alleys, and some of the nicest street art of Paris.

Butte aux Cailles Paris 13th Arrondissement

Butte aux Cailles in the 13th Arrondissement is known for its village-like streets.

[2] Least favorite thing about the 13th arrondissement.

Even though this applies to most areas in Paris, it can become insanely full in the 13th. Especially around lunchtime on Sundays when everyone is heading to the restaurants!

[3] What differentiates the 13th arrondissement from all the other parts of the city? 

Definitely it’s diversity and contrasts. Apart from the Asian community and the Butte-aux-Caille hilltop neighbourhood, the 13th has a 3rd, very distinctive quarter, the BnF. The area around Bibliothèque Nationale de France has few in common with the usual Paris city scrape. With its glass buildings and modern architecture, you could believe you’re in New York rather than in Paris.

Butte aux Cailles Paris 13th Arrondissement

[4] Favorite coffee spot in the 13th arrondissement.

Not directly a coffee spot, but very much in the spirit of the Parisian Asian community: Boba Tea + Coffee. It’s my favorite place for Bubble Tea in Paris. For sitting down on a terrace, I like Chez Nénesse. It is nothing really special but I love the location – just on a little intersection in the heart of the Butte aux Cailles. 

[5] Favorite spot for drinks in the 13th arrondissement.

I love the L’Age d’Or. It’s a very quirky place that gives you the impression to sit in your grandmother’s kitchen. They often host concerts and exhibitions and the beer is rather on the cheaper side considering Paris’ average.

Street Art in the 13th Arrondissement

Street Art in the 13th Arrondissement.

[6] Favorite local hangout in the 13th Arrondissement.

The Butte aux Cailles is the go-to place in the 13th and the place where most locals head to when going for drinks. A good local address is also the new quarter of the 13th, around Bibliothèque or just my favourite bar: L’Age d’Or!

[7] Favorite breakfast spot in the 13th Arrondissement.

I always struggle a bit with breakfast in Paris – most Parisians simply sip a coffee and have a croissant, if at all! However, my favorite bakery for Viennoiserie is the Huré Bakery on Place d’Italie. Another good address is also Felicità – an Italian Food Market with an excellent coffee bar!

Felicita Paris 13th Arrondissement

Felicitá, 13eme Paris.

[8] Favorite lunch spot in the 13th Arrondissement.

My all-time favorite lunch spot in the 13th is very simple: Tang Gourmet on Avenue de Choisy.  It is basically an Asian deli with the usual items on the menu: Chicken Sweet Sour, Fried Rice, Spring Rolls… but they make the BEST nh mì in Paris. I recommend taking this Vietnamese Sandwich with beef and lemongrass (boeuf citronelle).

For sitting down, I love to go to Felicità. The Italian food market – that is also good for breakfast – serves excellent pizza and pasta. Oh.. and the salads!

Paris Chinatown 13th Arrondissement

The 13th Arrondissement contains Paris’s Chinatown.

[9] Favorite dinner spot in the 13th Arrondissement.

There is only one: Lao Lane Xang 2. This Thai restaurant is even mentioned in the Guide Michelin and is my go-to address when craving Thai food!  Their crispy rice salad is divine!

[10] One thing you always do/spot you always take friends from out of town to do/see in the 13th Arrondissement.

This question is very easy to answer as there is a routine in place when someone visits me for years: For first-time visitors it’s lunch at Lao Lane Xang 2, followed potentially by a pedicure at Miss Saigon and a Bubble Tea from Boba Tea!

Or we just grab a sandwich at Tang Gourmet, head over to the Butte aux Cailles for a walk, and finish by the beautiful Square des Peupliers.

Square des Peupliers Paris 13th Arrondissement

Square des Peupliers in the 13th Arrondissement.

Merci, Lena!

Other great spots in the 13th arrondissement curated for you:

Paris 13th Arrondissement Guide

13eme/13th Arrondissement Restaurants

> Boulangerie Renard (113 Boulevard l’Hôpital) best croissants in the 13th.
> Chez Gladines (30 Rue des Cinq Diamants) Basque food.
> Chez Mamane (27 Rue des Cinq Diamants) delicious Algerian specialties.
> Chez Nathalie (45 Rue Vandrezanne) very original poke bowls.
> Des Crêpes et Des Cailles (13 Rue de la Butte aux Cailles) great spot for crêpes.
> Huré Bakery (10 Place d’Italie) pastry shop mentioned above by Lena.
> L’Age d’Or (26 Rue du Dr. Magnan) mentioned above by Lena.
> Lao Lane Xang 2 (102 Avenue d’Ivry) mentioned above by Lena.
> La Dame de Canton (Port de la Gare) dinner and cruise boat plus a seasonal terrace.
> La Vitalle (113 bis, Boulevard l’Hôpital) quaint boulangerie.
> Le Bambou (70 Rue Baudricourt) known for its soups.
> Le Camion Qui Fume (MK2 Library, 132 Avenue de France) started the food truck scene in Paris (beyond pizza) and is now serving great burgers in multiple locations including the 13th.
> L’Essentiel (73 Blvd Auguste Blanqui) popular bakery.
> Le Prétexte (111 Rue de Tolbiac) traditional French brasserie.
> Le Temps des Cerises (18-20 Rue de la Butte aux Cailles) get the steamed mussels!
> Mondol Kiri (159 Avenue de Choisy) another great Cambodian spot.
> Palais de Krishnaa (16 Rue du Père Guéri) authentic Indian cuisine.
> Paris-Breizh Place d’Italie (166 boulevard Vincent Auriol) my favorite crêpes shop in all the world has a spot in the 13th!
> Petit Bain (7 Port de la Gare) peniche boat converted to a restaurant and terrace.
> Pho14 (129 Avenue de Choisy) if you are looking for authentic Vietnamese in Paris!
> Pho Tai (13 Rue Philibert Lucot) delicious pho.
> Tang Gourmet (188 Avenue de Choisy) mentioned above by Lena.
> Thai Royal (97 Avenue d’Ivry) elegant Thai, great for a romantic dinner.
> Tricotin (15 Avenue de Choisy) authentic Cambodian dishes.

13eme/13th Arrondissement Coffee + Tea Shops

> Boba Tea + Coffee (03 Avenue d’Ivry) mentioned above by Lena.
> Chez Nénesse ((Rue de la Butte aux Cailles) mentioned above by Lena.
> Felicità (5 Parvis Alan Turing) mentioned above by Lena.
> L’Oisive Thé (8 Rue de la Butte aux Cailles) tearoom.
> L’Empire des Thés (101 Avenue d’Ivry) Asian tea shop.

13eme/13th Arrondissement Bars

> Batofar (11 Quai François Mauriac) bar/nightclub on the river with a unique lighthouse on top!
> Biérocratie (32 Rue de l’Espérance) fantastic Franco-American brewery!
> El Alamein Sarl (Quai François Mauriac) a houseboat turned bar where events are also held.
> La Folie en Tete (21 rue de la Butte aux Cailles) bar/nightclub.
> Le Mêlécasse (12, rue de la Butte aux Cailles) bar/nightclub.
> Sputnik (14-16, rue de la Butte aux Cailles) bar/nightclub.

13eme/13th Arrondissement Parks, Museums & Things to Do

> L’Amicale des Teochews de France ( 44 Avenue d’Ivry) Buddhist cultural center.
> Butte aux Cailles – walk through this charming neighborhood around Rue des Cinq-Diamants and Rue de la Butte aux Cailles.
> Butte-aux-Cailles swimming pool (5 Place Paul Verlaine) the water from a source well is heated by excess heat put off by servers in data centers!
> Docks en Seine (34 Quai d’Austerlitz) Exhibition space with boutiques, can’t miss the green exterior!
> Dragon Fountain (Place Augusta Holmes, off rue Paul-Klee) art installation and working fountain.
> Église Sainte-Anne (188 Rue de Tolbiac) Byzantine-Romanesque church.
> French National (Mitterrand) Library (Quai François Mauriac) very tall building that houses a library but also has cool exhibitions to check out.
> Galerie Itinerrance (24bis boulevard du Général Jean Simon) Open-air gallery with over murals from more than 80 artists.
> Manufacture des Gobelins Tapestry Workshop (42 Avenue des Gobelins) museum of tapestry.
> Les Frigos (91 Quai de la Gare) former meat lockers turned into legalized squats used as artist studios.
> Parc Montsouris (2 Rue Gazan) one of the largest green spaces in Paris.
> Piscine Joséphine Baker (Quai François Mauriac) aquatic center right on the river.
> Place Paul Verlaine. A decorative 19th-century square with a well sourced from natural spring water.
> Temple de l’Association des Résidents d’Origine Indochinoise (37 Rue du Disque) pagoda.

13eme/13th Arrondissement Shopping

> Frères Tang (168 Avenue de Choisy) famous Asian market.
> La Cave du Moulin Vieux (4 Rue de la Butte-aux-Cailles) wine cellar.
> Les Abeilles (21 Rue de la Butte-aux-Cailles) fun bee-themed store.
> Outdoor market at Alesia (Rue de la Glacière and Rue de la Santé) on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
> Outdoor market at Maison-Blanche (Avenue d’Italie, between #110 and #162) on Thursdays and Sundays.

13eme/13th Arrondissement Lodging

> COQ Hotel Paris (15 rue Edouard Manet) Boutique hotel that stands for Community of Quality where community engagement is emphasized.
> Grand Hotel des Gobelins (57 Boulevard Saint-Marcel) Great location near the metro station.
> Hotel B55 (55 Rue Boussingault) contemporary hotel close to Parc Montsouris, they love their wine here.
> Hotel Henriette (9 Rue des Gobelins) small boutique hotel with a Scandinavian aesthetic.
> Hotel Off Paris Seine (86 Quai d’Austerlitz) boat turned into a hotel on the river!
> La Manufacture (8 Rue Philippe De Champagne) small but modern rooms.
> Villa Lutèce Port Royal ( 52 rue Jenner) stylish boutique near the National Library.

Fin!

You can connect with Lena of  Salut from Paris on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, and of course on her blog.

How about you? Do you have any 13th arrondissement additions? Have you been to this area of Paris? Did you find this post helpful for a future trip?

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Do you live in Paris in an arrondissement I haven’t covered yet? I’d love to feature your favorite local picks! Drop me a line at MisadventuresWithAndi AT gmail DOT com and I will send you the information I need, merci!

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Josy A

Sunday 17th of May 2020

Oooh nice! I love finding the Asian pockets of the city for some amazing food (and once I live somewhere, I need to find the ingredients to cook!) The 13th Arrondissement sounds like a fun, lively area to live. :)

Wellness Travel Diaries

Saturday 16th of May 2020

I haven't been to Paris yet, but your post is making me wish I could explore it!

Lynne Nieman

Saturday 16th of May 2020

I didn't know much about this arrondissement but now I do. Sounds like a piece of Paris to check out on my next visit!

Julie

Saturday 16th of May 2020

I've been to Paris twice but never the 13th. I love an insider's view of the best places to go, see and eat! What a great resource! I'm definitely intrigued to visit!

Louise

Saturday 16th of May 2020

Oh, how I would love to visit Paris! It looks like such an amazing place <3

Louise x