Place d’Italie – Butte aux Cailles

    This largely overlooked Left Bank neighborhood is something of a mishmash of cultures and aesthetics. Along the banks of the Seine, the modern business district Paris Rive Gauche and the huge Grande Bibliothèque François Mitterrand (the French National Library) stand tall among the Paris skyline. To the West, behind Place d’Italie, the ‘Quartier Asiatique’ is home to the city’s principal Asian community. And just a few streets over lies ‘La Butte Aux Cailles’, a tiny village of lively bars and unusual restaurants.

    Place d’Italie – Butte aux Cailles Neighborhood, Paris.

My life in the Neighborhood

I have my routine in the 13th Arrondissement memorized.

Commonly known as the Chinatown of Paris, it’s the district where you’ll find the best banh mi sandwiches and bibimbap. (I highly recommend the Korean restaurant Misso.)

But le treizième is more of a melting pot of different cultures and identities. It’s home to immigrant street vendors, and foreign exchange students from all over the world searching for the cheapest crêpe around Cité Universitaire and Rue Mouffetard. (And they’re in luck).

Parc Montsouris is the first place I cut through when I arrive in Paris. I’ve seen it in its various seasonal stages. But as a Bostonian, my favorite part about the park will always be greeting poules d’eaux - water hens. I’m used to ducks and hens - separately -  but not ducks with chicken legs. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, they’re worth the visit.

Let’s not hold our breaths, though - the best bakery is in the 13eme. Brun is the boulangerie where, if you time it well, you can walk away with loaves of hot baguettes that burn your fingertips through the paper. That is - if you can make it to your apartment without devouring them all along the way.

By Lucy  
  • Riverboats on the Seine
  • Bibliothèque François Mitterand
  • Paris street art

Neighborhood Staples

  • Visit the Parc Montsouris and watch the water hens waddle around the lake

  • Take a Street Art Stroll to see more than 30 murals by famous urban artists from around the world

  • Spend an evening on the Quai François-Mauriac for an animated atmosphere and an apéro along the Seine

  • Wander through the village-like area of La Buttes Aux Cailles

  • Celebrate Chinese New Year with the city's largest and oldest parade in the Asian Quarter around the Avenue de Choisy


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