How To Spend a Day in Bastille

| © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Christine Wilson

Anchored by the gold-and-bronze Génie de la Liberté (Spirit of Liberty) statue, which is perched atop a mint-green column, the Bastille area of Paris is noted for its turbulent history, boutique shopping and fantastic dining.

There’s plenty to fill a day in this lively, trendy area. Here’s what you need to see, things you should do and where to eat in Bastille.

1. Enjoy a street-side breakfast at Café des Anges

Cafe, French

Paris cafe - Parisians enjoy afternoon drinks at the Cafe des Anges in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, France, Europe.
© Soma / Alamy Stock Photo

Make your first stop breakfast at this laid-back café with a hipster edge. Café des Anges is reminiscent of a 1960s diner with its kitschy, blue-and-red facade. Find yourself a seat on the theatre-style, street-side terrace on rue de la Roquette or inside amid the poster-lined walls and red banquet seating. Menu options range from a typically French breakfast (a croissant, orange juice and coffee) to a brunch menu that includes a little bit of everything (salads, eggs, pastries, desserts and more).

2. Once sated and Caffeinated, do some shopping on rue de la Roquette


Bright red vintage American teen college jacket on a display at a vintage fair while a student couple browses a rail of clothes
© Jane Williams / Alamy Stock Photo

Rue de la Roquette, home to clothing shops, vintage stores and boutiques selling local specialities, is an ideal place to spend some cash. At Miss Jeanne, grab good-quality, everyday womenswear, or scope out bolder pieces like printed blouses and graphic tees at Comptoir du Désert. Men and women alike can peruse the shelves at Adöm, a well-organised, second-hand store bursting with vintage gems, particularly when it comes to denim. For gifts and souvenirs that capture the flavours of France, be sure to pop by the fine-food store Paris-Provence for spices, oils, confections and more.

3. Learn a new craft at Atelier Soba


Courtesy of Atelier Soba Paris

Want to take home a new skill rather than a new jacket? Book a buckwheat-noodle-making class at one of the Bastille area’s artisan workshops, Atelier Soba. Over three and a half hours, discover the history of Japanese soba noodles and the health benefits of buckwheat. Enjoy a demonstration by a ‘Soba Master’, followed by the opportunity to prepare and cut your own noodle dough, a tasting and the chance to make a package to consume later.

4. When you’ve worked up your appetite again, head to Ten Belles Bread for lunch

Cafe, French

ten belles
© Christine Wilson

The scent of fresh-baked bread permeates Ten Belles Bread, a coffee shop with an on-site bakery. It’s revolutionising the French bakery with modern takes on the crispy, chewy French bread everyone knows and loves. For a quick bite, enjoy one of the daily sandwiches – which include fillings such as salted beef on focaccia or smoked salmon on rye – amid the modern café or seated in one of the multi-coloured chairs on the courtyard terrace.

5. Take a leisurely stroll down the gorgeous Cour Damoye

Architectural Landmark

© Amélie Dupont / Paris Tourist Office

Walk off your lunch by wandering down the picturesque, Instagram-worthy Cour Damoye. If another caffeine fix calls, visit L’Atelier de Torréfaction (The Roasting Workshop), a charming coffee shop that roasts its beans on site and handcrafts each cup, one by one, on a stovetop in a Moka pot.

6. Or walk all the way to the Place des Vosges


Place des Vosges, Paris.
© PjrTravel / Alamy Stock Photo

For those who’d like to stretch their legs a bit more, from here, it’s not too far to stroll to the Place des Vosges. While technically in the Marais, it’s worth checking out this picture-perfect square, which was once home to Victor Hugo. And while you’re here, you can visit (free of charge) the late-19th-century writer’s apartment, which is now a museum.

7. Check out a performance at the Opéra Bastille

Opera House

France, Paris, large room of the Opera Bastille by the architect Carlos Ott
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

This modern-looking glass building is quite a contrast to its gilded counterpart, the Palais Garnier, but don’t be fooled; inside, the shows are just as spectacular and well worth checking out during your time in the Bastille district. Opéra Bastille boasts an exceptional roster of ballet and opera performances, ranging from classical pieces to contemporary shows. Check out the company’s website to see what’s on during your visit, and sign up for its email list for notifications on last-minute seat sales.

8. For dinner in a chic wine bar, head to Coup d’Oeil

Wine Bar, French

Woman holding glass of red wine while sitting at dinner table for wine degustation
© Stocksy

Depending on the time of your show, enjoy a pre- or post-show meal at Coup d’Oeil, which is a 15-minute walk from Opéra Bastille on rue Sedaine. This tiny wine bar is easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled. What it lacks in size it makes up for in atmosphere – the interior is dimly lit and casual but elegant, with exposed-brick walls, hues of gold and blue and music at just the right sound level of music. Choose from a selection of tapas-style plates with French and Spanish influences, and pair your food with one of the expertly selected wines – just tell your server what you’re after, and somewhat magically, they’ll return with the perfect choice for your palate.

9. Cap off the evening with cocktails at Moonshiner

Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, French, American

© Moonshiner
Relive the days of Prohibition at Moonshiner, a swanky, speakeasy-style bar with sublime cocktails and an atmosphere to match. To find Moonshiner, look for Da Vito’s pizzeria. Push past its crimson-red doors outside and another set of doors straight ahead to find bow-tie-clad servers in a dimly lit, 1920s-era room. Space fills quickly, and seating is limited, but wandering the room with your ‘coupe’ in hand is half the fun. Santé!

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article