Today is a guest post by Raphael Daverio, who writes about the undiscovered 12th arrondissement.
A few weeks ago, when I had dinner with some foreign friends who asked what there was to visit in the 12th district, I was quite embarrassed. Having lived all my life in the 12th district of Paris, I had never thought about it as a place to visit and I had never even properly visited it myself.
Lesser known and visited, it used to be relatively poor compared to the rest of Paris, but it has recently changed, attracting wealthy Parisians escaping the skyrocketing prices of the richest districts of Paris. This phenomenon has changed the population living there but the district has remained very lively.
The 12th district is different from the rest of Paris, in that it is less visited and crowded, and more about enjoying life. What I would advise you to do if you go to Paris is to live in a local’s apartment to really feel the city instead of going for the impersonal hotel you can find everywhere.
A must-do in the 12th district is try out Italian restaurants. I have tried many of them, but the best one is undoubtedly Assaporare (7 rue Saint Nicolas, close to the Bastille) and locals know it: despite the price, it is always full, so book in advance! The main reason why this restaurant is one of the best Italian restaurants in Paris is that the owner goes himself in Italy to buy and bring back his products.
A new, smaller Assaporare also recently opened just next to the original restaurant, where you can only order Italian wine, that comes with some mozzarellas, Italian crackers and most of all the smile of Sylvie, the bar tender.
If you are still hungry, you may also want to try out ‘La main d’or’, an excellent Corsican restaurant where you will only find locals in a very cozy ambiance.
In the “food” category, you can also see what remains of the popular aspect of the 12th district if you go to shop in the Marche d'Aligre , which is one of the most authentic and lively outdoor markets of Paris.
While you are there, you can go to the Bakery “La Bazinette", one of the best bakeries in Paris. And if you just want to sip a glass of wine in an authentic French “caveau”, go to ‘Le Baron Rouge’ on the way back, my personal favorite. With the wines on offer, you can have a more than decent meal with a large or small platter composed of various cheeses, or have some of their excellent charcuterie on a crust of baguette. On weekends, when the crowd spills out on the sidewalk, you can also drink a glass of wine on a barrel where oysters are layered in baskets!
If you are in Paris during a weekend and you just want to experience the Parisian life, you must take a walk on the "Promenade Plantee". It is an above ground promenade built on a defunct railway that runs through the whole district. Whether it is to jog or just to walk with their family, Parisians love this unique promenade!
And if you need more fresh air, you should go to the Bois de Vincennes, a gigantic park located at the edge of the district, often referred to as “Paris’s lungs”. There, if it is sunny enough, rent a boat and go for a trip on the lake!
In addition to my Eye Prefer Paris Tours, we now offer Eye Prefer New York Tours, 3-hour walking tours of New Yorkís best neighborhoods including Soho, Meatpacking/West Village & Tribeca. Tours cost $195 for up to 3 people and $65 for each additional person.Come take a bit of the Big Apple on an Eye Prefer New York Tour!
Come experience my blog ìliveî with my Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I lead. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.Tours cost 195 euros for up to 3 people, and 65 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris. www.eyepreferparistours.com
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotteís professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.