Learn about history at Place de la Bastille
Place de la Bastille is the former location of the notorious prison which was famously stormed and destroyed in the French Revolution, and today the outline of the prison is marked out on the pavement. Also in the Place is the Colonne de Juillet, a monument in honor of the July Revolution of 1830. Head over to the entrance to rue de Charenton to see the location of the 1848 barricade.
Grocery-shop in style
On Thursday and Sunday mornings, stroll over to Boulevard Richard Lenoir for a look at the market wares, which range from vegetables and fruit to seafood and meat to chunks of glorious French cheeses. Not an early riser? The market at the Place d’Aligre is open on Tuesday and Sunday at mornings and evenings and sells all sorts of specialty items and high-quality foodstuffs.
Marché Bastille, Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011 Paris, France, +33 1 43 24 74 39
Watch artists at work at the Viaduc des Arts
A converted viaduct, which formerly carried the railways of the Paris-Bastille to Vincennes train line, the Viaduc des Arts now features a ‘Promenade Plantée,’ or elevated walking path full of greenery along the lines of New York City’s Highline, as well as the addition of several art galleries and cafés with a glass wall.
Viaduc des Arts, 10 Cour du Marché Saint-Antoine, Paris, France, +33 1 44 75 80 66
Grab a drink at a factory turned bar
Bastille is known for its nightlife, and one of the more intriguing hotspots is L’Entre Potes, a funky bar housed in a former upholstery factory. With decor including a basement decorated with old Métro panels and mosaic, a vintage Ripolin paint sign, and assorted factory tools, this fun-loving bar is full of character.
L’Entre Potes, 14 Rue de Charonne, Paris, France, +33 1 48 06 57 04
Listen to jazz at L’Atelier Charonne
Jazzmanouche, or gypsy jazz, is the name of the game at this relatively new music club. Book a table in advance at L’ Atelier Charonne online to avoid stress, and enjoy some French cuisine as you feast your ears on excellent music; or show up after dinner for a drink and some music.
L’Atelier Charonne, 21 Rue de Charonne, Paris, France, +33 1 40 21 83 35
Shop like a Parisian
French designer Isabel Marant’s clothing encapsulates the essence of Parisian style; effortlessly casual yet impeccably pulled-together. Stop into her Rue de Charonne boutique to check out her fashionable takes on bohemian styles.
Isabel Marant, 16 Rue de Charonne, Paris, France, +33 1 49 29 71 55
Snack on chocolate at La Manufacture de Chocolat
Anyone who has ordered a dessert at one of celebrity chef Alain Ducasse’s restaurants has tasted chocolate from this factory, the chef’s own chocolate production center, which is the first place in Paris to produce ‘bean-to-bar’ chocolate. Pop in for a pick-me-up truffle, praline, or one of no less than 44 flavors of chocolate bars.
Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse, 40 Rue de la Roquette, Paris, France, +33 1 48 05 82 86
Take in some opera at the Opéra Bastille
The main opera hall of Paris, this phenomenal 3400-seat space also frequently hosts classical music concerts and ballets. Check the website two weeks in advance to grab tickets early before they go on offer by phone or box office, or play it spontaneous and snag a standing-room ticket from the box office 90 minutes before the show starts.
Opéra Bastille, Place de la Bastille, Paris, France, +33 892 89 90 90
Learn about immigration at Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration
This museum documents immigration to France, covering ethnic groups including the Vietnamese, Russians, Jewish, and the Portuguese, and comprises a permanent multimedia collection as well as a gallery of artifacts and items donated by the public.
See some species at the Parc Zoologique de Paris
Recently reopened after several years of renovations, this world-class zoo places much importance on conservation and offers camouflaged vantage points from which to view the animals. All ages will enjoy a day in the sunshine viewing everything from giraffes to jaguars to lemurs to anacondas.