In France, a Chinatown is found in Paris in the 13th arrondissement, located at the Triangle de Choisy. Chinatown in Paris with a unique atmosphere, its history, as well as its shimmering colors, under the iconic light of the famous red lanterns. Today, this district remains very lively, and it is particularly a pleasure to walk there at the time of the Chinese New Year.
In the 1970s, many Vietnamese refugees, settle down in the 13th arrondissement which providednew housing and waiting for new inhabitants. The 13th arrondissement because of the number of housing units available thanks to Operation Italy 13, an urban planning operation that transformed the district. Very quickly, the Asian community groups developing shops of all kinds, thus creating their own Chinatown in Paris.
The 13th arrondissement of Paris is renowned for its urban culture, and to discover it, there is nothing better than strolling through its various streets and avenues. Very far from the typical Parisian architecture, this district surprises and exudes a unique charm. You will certainly discover the work of many street artists there, colorful graffiti that adorns the gray walls of the buildings.
Today, Chinatown is a kind of open-air shopping arcade in the heart of Paris. It is full of convenience stores and Chinese supermarkets, furniture stores, bookstores, antique shops and other invitations to explore and discover Asian culture. It is not very big and offers two quite different faces.
The best time to discover the 13th arrondissement and enjoy its special atmosphere is of course for the Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year which is held at the beginning of February will take you directly on a journey in the colors of China. You will be able to discover the oldest Parisian parade, and the shimmering outfits of the costumes of the members of the parade. Pleasure for the eyes, the streets will be adorned with red and lanterns of all kinds, you can attend exhibitions and concerts of all kinds.
Located at triangle delimited by the avenues of Choisy, d’Ivry and the rue de Tolbiac constitutes, Chinatown in Paris with the neon lights of the businesses shine in sinograms and that the businesses are protected by pagoda roofs. The shops offer beautiful silk tunics, you can taste the best Tonkinese soups. The shelves of shops are overflowing with decorative objects and other trinkets, white marble sculptures, paintings with enchanting landscapes, collections of karaoke DVDs, manga and newspapers in Chinese characters…
Chinatown attractions can be difficult to spot, as most are inside or behind the buildings that make up the neighborhood’s infrastructure. Walking is the easiest way to find each location, and locals will be happy to point you in the direction.
The two Buddhist temples of Chinatown is a must visit. The first is located at 37 rue du Disque, and although its entrance may be difficult to find, it is a timeless place that invites contemplation. You can take Chinese lessons there, or make offerings at the altar of the statue of Bodhisattva Guanyin. The second temple is a Taoist temple, located at 44 avenue d’Ivry. Discover a space borrowed from serenity, where you will be able to admire the various Buddhas as well as the statues of the 18 immortal guardians of the Law.
Notre Dame de Chine is the church in Chinatown consecrated in December 2005 by the Archbishop of Paris. From the outside, this large church looks like a common modern building. However, what distinguishes it from other buildings, or even from another church, is its layout. The pews describe a spiral around the altar. At the hours of the liturgy, this arrangement gives the impression that the energetic flow of the altar spreads over all the parishioners. The other particularity of this church is its entrance of encrusted pebbles which extends into the back wall, invited people to come together.
Chinatown is a location and place of urban culture, one of the favorite playgrounds of street artists. Like the beautiful blue heron created by Stew, a French artist who is inspired by Japan. Another artist who has also left his mark on these walls is Pantonio, the street artist behind the “Tourbillon de sardines”, considered today to be the highest fresco in Europe.
The Green Calabash is a Chinese herbalist, located rue de la Vistule. You will discover the unique atmosphere of Asian herbal shops, and will be warmly welcomed by Ms. Liu. In jars of all sizes, you will find various products, herbs and plants of all kinds. Some will allow you to reduce stomach aches or hair loss, others will be effective in reducing your stress…
The Chinatown is a huge kitchen in which you can find Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai or Chinese specialties. Asian restaurants and pastries offer dishes with deliciously exotic flavors and at generally affordable prices. Chinatown has some very good places to enjoy a typical Asian meal, raving a pho, a bo bun or slices of Peking duck on a bed of Cantonese rice, supermarkets are offering tofu, shrimp fritters, shiitake mushrooms, nori sheets and dried beef… Choose one of the Asian tables in the neighborhood, to enjoy a meal that will immerse you in the culture of these countries.
The Olympiades shopping center is considered the biggest attraction in Paris’ Chinatown. Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines dominate this part of town, and the varieties of food seem endless. You will feast on Pho, dimsum and noodles until you need to return to your favorite hotel, located 50 meters from the Olympiades metro station on rue Tolbiac.
Pho are traditional Vietnamese soups, in which you can find different types of food. Noodles, but also meat such as chicken or beef, prepared cooked or raw according to your preferences. You will also find many vegetables, plants and Chinese spices that will titillate your palate with flavors from elsewhere. Although the decor of the restaurant is very simple, the cuisine is of very good quality.
Enjoy a delicious Chinese tea at Empire des Thés. It is a shop that honors the culture of tea in China, to share this unique philosophy. Taste teas with flowery, fruity or even spicy aromas. All the teas selected are from China, and you can choose to taste them on the spot or take them home from among more than 200 different tea references.
Taste bubble tea at the Bubble House, at 45 avenue de Choisy. Bubble tea is a unique drink, which mixes green tea or black tea in different flavors with tapioca balls. This drink from Taiwan is sure to surprise you. In this shop specializing in bubble tea, you can choose your mix à la carte, the flavors are varied, for a unique tea that will perfectly match your desires.,
Chinatown also offers many shops for shopping, including Chinese food shops, which are full of treasures and foods from Asia.
Tang Frères is the most famous store in Paris’ Chinatown. The channel is owned by a group of Laotian Chinese who gave life to the concept after settling in France. From food to clothing, or typical Chinese decorative objects. The supermarket imports most of its stock and production directly from China, much of which is made up of things you’ve never seen or even heard of before. Tang Frère is the biggest store in the district, and its reputation is such that it regularly gives birth to new boutiques in Paris.
The Oslo Gallery in Chinatown is a solid concrete structure in the heart of the district. Inside you will find a small mall which is known to have the cheapest and most exotic goods.