24 Hours in Paris: The 13th Arrondissement

Take an in-depth tour of one of the city's coolest quarters.

If you visit Paris long enough to see diverse parts of the city that are not touristy, you’ll discover that each arrondissement (or neighborhood) has its own unique identity. While we all have a good mental image of what a Parisian girl looks like, her style can drastically change depending on what part of town she’s from. So, we came up with the idea of bringing you a travel guide to all of Paris’ 20 arrondissements – and what do do in each one if you only had 24 hours, plus what to wear to blend in like a local.

This week we cross back over the river Seine to the 13th arrondissement, which is one of the city's most eclectic neighborhoods. It's largely unknown to tourists, but with its bustling Chinatown, the 13th has become known by many as the place to find great Asian food. One day is enough to cover all the distinct districts: from charming hotels and cool cafes to the city's national library and riverside rooftop parties, you're in for a great ride. 


Image: Hotelhenriette.com

Energize with a French breakfast buffet at Hotel Henriette, a beautiful boutique hotel decorated with vintage, bohemian spirit. On the menu is oeufs à la coque (soft boiled eggs) with toasted French bread and cheese in the light-filled courtyard – every corner of this establishment is Insta-worthy. If you're not a guest at the hotel, it's advised that you call in advance to ensure you get a table, but it's certainly worth it to start the day off on the right foot. Afterwards head to the Manufacture des Gobelins, a former tapestry atelier whose carpets were once sent to French palaces and royal courts. Today, the factory still produces a limited amount of goods to supply government buildings. You can either take a guided tour or visit on your own – just to see how they used to work and the building itself is a marvel. Next, walk across the Place d'Italie roundabout and head to the Chinatown area. A curious thing about Paris is that it doesn't have one official Chinatown: the 20th arrondissements is also home to a large Asian community, but the one in the 13th is where Chinese New Year celebrations take place each year. Make your way to Thai Yim for lunch. This small eatery serves authentic Thai food that will transport you to Bangkok with every mouthful. 


Image: Itinerrance.com

Spend your afternoon exploring the Butte aux Cailles quarter. This is a charming, cobblestone-lined part of town where you can feel the vibrance and youthful energy of the locals. While it comes truly alive at night, business begins to bustle by the afternoon when people begin to gather in the bars and restaurants. The graffiti-covered walls also indicate another great thing about the area: the facades of the many tall, contemporary buildings in the neighborhood have become a blank canvas for artists. Walk north towards the national library and you will see many artworks in the skyline. One of the most recognizable silhouettes on the 13th's horizon is the François-Mitterand Library, which opened to the public in 1996 and is an example of minimalist modern architecture in Paris. It is located right by the Seine in the newly constructed area officially known as Paris Rive Gauche 13. The library stands tall among many different modern residential and mixed-use buildings that have popped up as the city has expanded. Connected to the library is the MK2 cinema, which screens both blockbuster and arthouse films. In the evening, you can find food trucks parked in front where you can pick up a pre-movie meal. The setting is very different for Paris with all of its contemporary sites, including the recently opened creative and tech incubator Station F


Image: via Facebook

While the 13th isn't home to many well-known restaurants, there is still plenty on offer: at the top of our list is Tempero, a small fusion food place that serves quality meals at a good price. Quite uniquely, the fusion here is French, Latin American and Asian and the result is pure gold. If you're a meat-lover, do not miss Persillé, a butcher and steakhouse where you can choose your own cuts of meat and have them prepared for you. Once you're satisfied, head to towards the river where both on-land and boat bars are buzzing and guests are welcome aboard. The unmissable, bright-red Batofar hosts regular concerts and events, as well as housing a restaurant and bar where you can grab some drinks and snacks with friends. If you want to party with the younger crowd, make your way to Quai d'austerlitz where an interesting green building is located. Part of the curious construction is a fashion school, while both the top and bottom of the building contain events spaces and nightclubs. Check out Wanderlust for cool lifestyle events and Communion for fun parties that will last until sunrise. 

Check out our selection of pieces inspired by the 13th arrondissement's vibrant, varied vibes to add a local look to your closet:
Sister Jane Letterbox Flounce Blouse - $69
Topshop Houndstooth Check Wide Leg Trousers - $68
Elvi Dusty Pink Boyfriend Coat - $100
Valentina Joylock studded leather shoulder bag - $2,645
Zara Floral Print Bodysuit - $50
Mango Pearls Super Slim Jeans - $100
& Other Stories Pleated Skirt - $85
Urban Outfitters Floral Jacquard Kimono - $79
Eloquii Embroidered Ruffle Yolk Blouse - $70
M.I.H Jeans Caron high-rise wide-leg jeans - $290
Forever 21 Plus Size Draped Crepe Cardigan - $28
Cotton On boyfriend trucker floral embroidered denim jacket - $60

Cover image: Promenadedessens.fr