Visit the 11th Arrondissement

The 11th arrondissment is one of the most dynamic, ethnically diverse, and trendiest quarters in Paris. Its boulevards and avenues span out from Place de la Republique in the west, to Bastille in the east. Divided into distinct parts, this large chunk of the city contains various neighbourhoods that retain their own special atmosphere and associations. They include: Republique-Belleville-Oberkampf to the west, Père Lachaise and Bastille-Charonne to the south-east.

Historically a working-class district, the 11th arrondissement has undergone significant gentrification in recent years, and nowhere is this more evident than Oberkampf, where bars compete for the custom of young revellers attracted to the area’s laidback bohemian atmosphere. The area is also undergoing something of a gourmet renaissance with a whole string of critically lauded bistrots popping up due to the inexpensive rents, attracting the envy of residents in wealthier parts of town. This gourmet revolution is reason enough to venture into the 11th, but what travellers fail to realize is that the 11th also has one or two cultural gems, and some great shopping that should be fitted in also.

Republique-Oberkampf-Belleville

This area is probably one of the most happening parts of town with a whole host of restaurants, boutiques, and trendy restaurants to keep any hipster busy. Start exploring the area by walking up rue Oberkampf, and get a feel for the bohemian atmosphere. Interested in vintage home décor? The area around rue du Marché Popincourt and rue Neuve Popincourt comprises of a series of hidden and charming streets in which to stroll. Here you will find some serious vintage furniture stores, which are perfect for browsing. For delicious slices of gourmet pizza, stop off at Al Taglio (2 Bis Rue Neuve Popincourt. Or, for something fancier check out the retro bar Les Deux Amis (45 rue Oberkampf). Plates of sumptuous and creative French tapas are served in a fun and really friendly setting. Afterwards, take some time out to explore Le Livre à Venir across the road at number 88. This second hand bookstore has an impressive collection of ethnic art and art books all crammed into a tiny space.

A glass of wine at Le Cave Ferveré (16 rue des Trois Bornes) is the perfect spot to sample natural and organic wine. For a glamorous dining experience book a table at either Le Chateaubriand (129, Avenue de Parmentier) or the sleek and modern Le Dauphin (131, Avenue de Parmentier). These restaurants receive glowing reviews in some of the best eating guides to the city, including write-ups in the New York Times. Finish off the night with a nightcap at the beautiful Café Charbon (109 rue Oberkampf). This café, which was built in 1900, hasn’t changed at all, retaining all the style of the famous Parisian Brasserie.

Belleville-Bastille-Père Lachaise

Although not technically in the 11th, one of the best views of the city can be seen from the Parc de Belleville, it is also a close walk to Père Lachaise cemetery. Take an early morning café on the terrace of Le O'Paris (1 rue Envierges), which boasts one of the best views of the city. Because this bar is a local neighbourhood haunt you won’t be competing with other tourists for places to sit, this is the place to be! Afterwards, take a stroll through the neighbourhood till you reach the nearby Père Lachaise cemetery, which is the final resting place of many historical figures such as Jim Morrison, Marcel Proust, Edith Piaf, and of course who could forget Oscar Wilde. It is definitely worth giving some time to explore this wooded hill with its gothic-style tombstones and beautiful views. The elaborate monuments built here are testament to the enormous wealth and status of the people buried here.

After Père Lachaise it will be time to eat! There are some great restaurants in the area to choose from. Paris Hanoi (9, rue Mont-Louis) offers fresh Vietnamese food for lunch. If you are looking for something a little bit more French then the welcoming Café de l’Industrie near Bastille (16 rue Saint Sabin) is perfect for a long lunch over a sneaky carafe of red wine. Its old-world décor is bound to charm even the most jaded of travellers. For a fancy dinner, reserve a table at the neo-bistrot, Septime (80 rue de Charonne). Rue de Charonne is hipster central, with shops like Isabel Marant, April 77 (7-9 rue de Charonne), French Trotters (30 rue de Charonne), and Kulte.

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