13 Things to Do in the Thirteenth Arrondissement

A bridge over water with a city in the background

Because it does have the same wow factor as the first or the seventh, the thirteenth arrondissement of Paris is often overlooked. But the lack of tourism and impressive amount of diversity make it a secret favorite neighborhood of many Parisians, and the perfect place to visit a more authentic Paris. If you aren’t already convinced by the idea of avoiding tourists, here are thirteen other reasons you should visit the 13th.

1. Chinatown


Chinatown (or Le Quartier Asiatique in French) may not be the first place you’d think to visit in Paris, but this neighborhood contains authentic shops and restaurants with roots in China as well as Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Populated by many immigrants, the area is the largest Chinatown in Europe. Stop by Pho Banh Cuon for the best Vietnamese pho in Paris. — Avenue d’Ivry, 75013

2. Brun Boulangerie


This boulangerie located on Rue Tobiac won the award for best baguette in Paris in 2017, so it’s a must if you’re in the neighborhood. In addition to baguettes, Brun Boulangerie sells tarts and other small desserts, which are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. — 193 Rue de Tobiac, 75013

3. Parc Montsouris


This park on the edge of the 13th and the 14th is a calmer, less touristy version of Jardin du Luxembourg. Locals from the neighborhood can often be seen jogging, picnicking, and strolling around the park on a nice day. As well as lots of green space, the park contains a lake, a restaurant, and a gazebo where musicians play in the summer. — 20 Rue Gazan, 75014

4. Cité de la Mode et du Design


For many Parisians, the 13th is the district where all the coolest clubs and bars are located. Just along the river at Quai d’Austerlitz sits Cité de la Mode et du Design, which contains a complex of three clubs, open spaces for cultural events, and restaurants, all in one weird, green-tinted building. On nicer evenings, people will often sit outside on the docks with a bottle of wine and some music before heading upstairs to dance. — 29 Quai d’Austerlitz, 75013

5. Buttes-aux-Cailles


Made up of a strip of restaurants and bars that spans over a mile long, this neighborhood is perfect for a dinner, a drink, or a night out, like at interesting bars like Sputnik. It feels more traditionally French than some of the other touristy areas do; on nice nights, you can hear French voices and laughter on les terrasses all the way down the street. — Rue des Cinq-Diamants, 75013

6. Chez Gladines


Hailed as the best affordable Basque restaurant in Paris, Chez Gladines has several locations around Paris, however, the restaurant in the 13th is notably less expensive than the outposts in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Les Halles. You’ll be surrounded by locals enjoying drinks and dinner at this lesser-known sister restaurant. — 30 Rue des Cinq-Diamants, 75013

7. Cité Universitaire


Just beyond the arches of the entrance to the impressive Cité Universitaire lies the open campus and the dormitory for international students. Outside the dorm is a park, with green spaces perfect for a picnic. It’s slightly less crowded that Parc Montsouris, so if you like more privacy, this is your spot. —17 Boulevard Jourdan, 75014

8. Les Abeilles


Any honey aficionado will already know about this shop, but in case you’re not up to date on all your bee related products, this shop sells over 50 types of honey and honey-related products, including “Miel de Paris,” a special type of honey made from hives located in Paris. You can also bring your own jar to fill with acacia or chestnut honey. — 21 Rue de la Buttes aux Cailles, 75013

9. Bibliothèque Nationale de France (François-Mitterrand)


Whoever said the 13th wasn’t the most interesting arrondissement must not have know that the National Library of France is located there. This modernized building opened to the public in 1996 after it was expanded to hold extensive records of French literature. The four towers were created to look like four open books. — Quai François Mauriac, 75706

10. La Felicità & Station F


Station F is not only the largest startup incubator in Paris, it’s also the largest of its kind in the world. Thought Station F is not open to the public, its food hall, named La Felicita, run by the Big Mamma group, has just opened. It’s the largest food hall in Europe and it’s open to the general public. This hall boasts an impressive food menu, in addition to cocktails and wine. — 5 Parvis Alan Turing, 75013

11. Open Air Museum Along the 6 Metro Line


When you ride the 6 line going into the 13th from across the Seine, you will see giant, colorful murals on the sides of buildings just outside the metro car window. This open air museum is an art project instituted to reflect the rich cultural intellect of the 13th. While it’s recommended to ride the metro for the best view, many murals can also be seen from the ground. — Station Quai de la Gare, 75013

12. Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins


The 13th was once home to Paris’s furniture and tapestry industries; today, they have merged together at one site, which now offers tours of the 17th century buildings and institutions. Inside the complex, a small art space known as “la Galerie des Gobelins” welcomes temporary or traveling exhibits. —1 Rue Berbier des Mets, 75013

13. Cité Florale


In the heart of the 13th sits a few blocks of small, pastel colored houses surrounded with beautiful flowers and greenery. This area is called the Cité Florale, and it’s a wonderful neighborhood to stroll through and pretend you’re in a small French countryside town, because Paris feels miles away from the tranquility of these streets. —Rue des Orchidées, 75013

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