Guide Tour of the 11th arrondissement of Paris, France

The 11th arrondissement of Paris, also known as the arrondissement of Popincourt, is one of the 20 arrondissements of the capital city of France. The 11th arrondissement is a varied and engaging area. The 11th arrondissement has played an exceptional role in the history of Paris and France. It was at the heart of revolutionary Paris and the great workers’ revolts of the 19th century. Formerly a working-class district hosting a dense fabric of craft businesses. In recent years, due to the installation of many bars and discos, this district has emerged as one of the trendiest regions of Paris.

Located on the right bank of the Seine between Place de la Nation, Place de la République and Place de la Bastille, the 11th arrondissement is a place to eat and drink, but has less tourist attractions. The arrondissement is one of the most densely populated urban districts of any European city. With working class influx, restaurants and bars proliferated in two areas. Within the 11th arrondissement are several boutique hotels, restaurants and bars set in former factories.

To the west lies the Place de la République, which is linked to the Place de la Bastille, in the east, by the sweeping, tree-lined Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, with its large markets and children’s parks. The Place de la Bastille and the rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine are full of fashionable cafés, restaurants, and nightlife, and they also contain a range of boutiques and galleries. The Oberkampf district to the north is another popular area for nightlife. The east is more residential, with more wholesale commerce, while the areas around the Boulevard Voltaire and the Avenue Parmentier are livelier crossroads for the local community.

The 11th arrondissement is home to two quite different but equally blossoming centres of Parisian nightlife. The streets just northwest of Place de la Bastille are full of little bars which attract a mix of young suburban Parisians, expats, and foreigners. Many have a Latin American theme. The restaurants, bars, and wine-bars around Rue Oberkampf in the north of the 11th arrondissement and rue de Charonne near Avenue Ledru Rollin attract a more urban crowd and are perhaps closer to something traditionally Parisian, while capturing some of the grungy feel of drinking spots in up-and-coming inner city neighbourhoods everywhere.

The 11th arrondissement also known for its wonderful public and cultural events. Place De La République is the beating heart of the city, with heavy traffic and five metro lines meet at the place. As the national symbol of the Republic, the public square and Place de la Bastille, is where many public events take place. Typically you will find street performers entertaining the large crowds that congregate on the plaza. The area is also an iconic location for political events, such as celebrations, elections and demonstrations.

The area is home to some of the busiest streets in the city, which offers the possibility of an historical and unusual walk on its eastern part, and some hidden treasures that are perfect to discover on a stroll. Not only with historic alley and sophisticated shops, the district is also known for its 18th century buildings built for the Parisian aristocracy. From the Saint-Ambroise church to the Place de la Nation, get lost in its magnificent courtyards, dead ends and little-known passages, or explore its famous Saint-Antoine and du Temple suburbs.

Administrative quarters
The current 11th arrondissement was formed around two suburbs in eastern Paris: the Faubourg du Temple to the north, and the Faubourg Saint-Antoine to the south. The first is born around the enclosure of the Temple, and the second around the abbey of Saint-Antoine-des-Champs.

To the south, the history of the 11th arrondissement merges with that of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Renowned for its cabinet makers and furnishing craftsmen, this suburb retains many courtyards and passages testifying to this activity in the arrondissement: the Passage du Cheval Blanc, the Cour Viguès, the Cour de l’Étoile d’Or, the Cour des Trois Frères, the courtyard of the Maison brûlée, the passage Lhomme, the industrial courtyard rue Sedaine, the artisanal courtyard rue Basfroi or the courtyard of Industry. The street of industrial buildings, later, still testifies to this tradition.

Like every Parisian arrondissement, the 11th is divided into four administrative districts. From north to south of the borough, the neighborhoods are:

Quartier of Folie-Méricourt
The Folie-Méricourt district is bounded by Place de la République, Rue du Faubourg-du-Temple, Boulevard de Belleville, Rue Oberkampf and Boulevard du Temple. This quartier is quite lively with many restaurants and bars frequented by young and upscale customers. It is known as a ‘BoBo’ quartier (bourgeois, bohemian), or a hipster neighborhood. That is, those who support bohemian values but lead bourgeois lives.

The district extends to the south of the Faubourg du Temple and to the south-west of the Belleville hill as far as the meander of the prehistoric arm of the Seine which covered the space between the current Boulevard du Temple and the Rue de la Folie. Méricourt, domain of the order of the Temple put in market gardening in the Middle Ages, called “marsh of the Temple”.

Its territory comprised between the enclosure of Charles V, dismantled in 1670 on the site of which Boulevard du Temple was built, and the wall of the Farmers General, built in 1788 and removed in 1860 on the site of Boulevard de Belleville, has retained a rural character until the end of the 18th century.

The urbanization of its part closest to the center of the city of Paris began in the 1780s with the subdivision of the New Town of Angoulême on the horticultural crops of the Marais du Temple. The district developed especially from 1830 following the opening of the Saint-Martin canal in 1826 and the northward extension of the artisanal and industrial center of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine.

This district is crossed by several major axes drilled during the 19th century, the Saint-Martin canal covered around 1860 to form the boulevard Richard-Lenoir, and beyond the boulevard Jules-Ferry in 1906, the boulevard Voltaire and the avenue de la République under the Second Empire, rue Saint-Maur around 1880. Until the middle of the 20th century, many cul-de-sacs, passages, islets, housing estates and courtyards were occupied by artisanal or industrial activities, mainly metallurgical.

The predominance of crafts and industry has thus favored the establishment of a predominantly working -class population. Since the 1960s, the district has attracted many immigrants, particularly of Turkish and North African origin. For some years now, the southwestern part of the district has been undergoing gentrification, notably rue Oberkampf, which has become a place of fun and nightlife with its many restaurants, cafes and bars.

Quartier of Saint-Ambroise
The Saint-Ambroise district is the 42nd administrative district of Paris located in the 11th arrondissement. The district is bounded by rue Oberkampf, boulevard de Ménilmontant, rue du Chemin-Vert as far as boulevard Beaumarchais and boulevard des Filles-du-Calvaire. The Saint-Ambroise church is in this quartier, itself named in honor of Ambrose of Milan.This quartier is a rather calm and mostly resident.

Quartier of La Roquette
The district of La Roquette (43rd district of Paris) limited to the north by rue du Chemin-Vert, to the east by boulevard de Ménilmontant and part of boulevard de Charonne, to the west by part of boulevard Beaumarchais, Place de la Bastille and part of Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine. Many bars and restaurants can be found along rue de la Roquette that attract a young crowd.

The district of La Roquette is today a socially homogeneous area, not by the domination of a specific social class / age, but by the relative existence of a “mixedness” assumed and stretched by the otherwise specific urban fabric. to a large part of the 11th arrondissement. The district was relatively spared by the wave of construction and the redevelopment projects that prevailed in other peripheral districts: the buildings built after 1945 did not modify the urban dynamic, the habitat remaining dense and the commercial activity dynamic and relatively fragmented local craft industry.

Modest buildings, but in good condition and of classic construction, mainly built at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, with the exception of the buildings constructed on the site of the old prison and which extend throughout the square. These buildings were used in particular to accommodate families of immigrant origin throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The other buildings retain a good part of the middle classes (middle managers, civil servants, retirees), attract a renewed population (students, young active and creative people) but also welcome “manoeuvres” of commercial and artisanal activities in eastern Paris (trade, especially wholesale), often from immigrant backgrounds.

Recently, the transformation of the district is at work. The establishment of a textile wholesale trade center in the Sedaine-Popincourt sector has aroused often negative reactions to the threat of a mono-activity, a source of pollution and over-traffic in the streets concerned.

Gentrification (improperly called “gentrification”) is strongly felt: the proximity of the hyper-centre and the Bastille–Saint-Antoine sector, combined with the relatively good quality of housing and the attractive setting of the former working-class housing estates, have pulled up real estate prices in an area stretching from Bastille-Beaumarchais to the outskirts of Place Léon-Blum.

Quartier of Sainte-Marguerite
Sainte-Marguerite district (44th district of Paris) limited to the north and west by rue de Charonne, to the east by boulevard de Charonne, and to the south by rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine. The Sainte-Marguerite district is the 44th administrative district of Paris located in the 11th arrondissement.

Main Attractions
As the most densely populated corner of Paris, the 11th arrondissement a very popular district, an artistic and artisanal niche, the culmination of many revolutionary and workers’ movements. The 11th arrondissement of Paris is a high place of Parisian culture, thanks to the presence of numerous theaters and concert halls. The area is also home to some of the busiest streets in the city, with historic alley and sophisticated shops.

Saint-Ambroise church
The Saint-Ambroise church is a church in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, named in honor of Saint Ambrose. The magnificent Saint-Ambroise church was built in 1659, then completely reinvented in 1868, giving an architectural combination mixing neo-Gothic and neo-Byzantine. In addition to its particular aesthetic, this church played an important historical role during the Paris Commune in 1871, by regularly hosting a proletarian and feminist club who could meet there.

The Saint-Ambroise church was built in a hybrid and eclectic style, sometimes called ” Second Empire style “, which marries neo-Romanesque with some elements of neo-Gothic. This marriage is reminiscent of churches from the heyday of the Romanesque such as the church of the Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen, which features two Romanesque towers with Gothic spires. It is built of hard stone from the Yonne and the Meuse for the foundations, towers and pillars and rubble from the quarries of Saint-Maximin for the filling.

The church, 87 meters long and 37 meters wide in the transept, has two identical bell towers 68 meters high, i.e. of a size practically equivalent to those of the towers of Notre-Dame. The octagonal spiers are flanked by four pinnacles and are terminated by an iron cross surmounted by a rooster-shaped weather vane. The twenty-meter-high nave includes a triforium opened by a series of triplets of bays with semicircular arcades. The vaults are mounted on semi-circular ribbed vaults. These windows are typical of Norman Romanesque art, as can be found at the Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen.

In the transept on the right is the chapel of Saint-Augustin with two murals by Jules Lenepveu: on the altar side, Saint-Augustin reconciling the Catholics and the Donatists at the Council of Carthage, and opposite Saint-Augustin putting an end to the barbaric use to fight between relatives to practice war. To the left of the transept is the chapel of Saint-Ambroise with also two wall paintings by Lenepveu: on the altar side, Saint-Ambroise prohibiting the Emperor Theodosius from entering the church of Milan and opposite, Saint-Ambroise delivering the sacred vessels of his church to redeem prisoners.

The large gallery organ was built by Merklin-Schütze in 1869. It has 32 stops, 3 manuals and pedals. It was restored and completed by Gutschenritter in the 20th century, then by Bernard Dargassies in the 21st century. Georges Mac-Master was organist and choirmaster there. There is also a chancel organ, also by Merklin, located behind the altar which has 13 stops on two manual keyboards and a pedal keyboard.

The three bells are located in the right tower, under a wooden frame. Baptized under the names of Sainte Eugenie, Sainte Marie and Sainte Catherine, they weigh respectively 1,650 kg, 1,100 kg and 816 kg. The Jardin des Moines Tibhirine, a community garden located in front of the church, giving the neighborhood a rural feel.

Woman’s Palace
From 1641 to 1904, the current “Palais de la Femme” was a convent, and also hosted the sister of the writer Cyrano de Bergerac. It has belonged to the Salvation Army since 1926, and welcomes women in difficulty every day in its 630 rooms. Passing in front of the Palais de la Femme, you will discover its unusual architecture: a pink brick building, adorned with magnificent ceramics and period windows.

Winter circus
The Cirque d’Hiver (“Winter Circus”), located at 110 rue Amelot (at the juncture of the rue des Filles Calvaires and rue Amelot, Paris 11ème), has been a prominent venue for circuses, exhibitions of dressage, musical concerts, and other events, including exhibitions of Turkish wrestling and even fashion shows. The orchestral concerts of Jules Etienne Pasdeloup were inaugurated at the Cirque Napoléon on 27 October 1861 and continued for more than twenty years. The theatre was renamed Cirque d’Hiver in 1870.

The theatre was designed by the architect Jacques Ignace Hittorff. The circus is an oval polygon of 20 sides, with Corinthian columns at the angles, giving the impression of an oval building enclosing the oval ring, surrounded by steeply banked seating for spectators, very much like a miniature indoor Colosseum. A low angled roof is self-supporting like a low dome, so that there is no central pole, as under a tent, to obstruct views or interfere with the action.

The Opéra Bastille
The modern architecture of the Opéra Bastille cuts an imposing figure on the Place de la Bastille at the 11th arrondissement’s southwest corner. Inaugurated just over 25 years ago in 1989, the opera house was created to showcase popular, modern works. Nowadays, the Opéra Bastille boasts a varied program featuring operas and ballets, as well as the occasional symphony concert.

Edith-Piaf Museum
The Musée Édith Piaf is a private museum dedicated to singer Édith Piaf located in the 11th arrondissement at 5, rue Crespin du Gast, Paris, France. The Édith-Piaf museum is a private museum, managed by the association “Les Amis d’Édith Piaf”, dedicated to the memory of the singer Édith Piaf. The museum was created by Bernard Marchois, author of biographies on Edith Piaf. The museum occupies two rooms within a private apartment. It contains souvenirs of the artist: photographs, letters, scores, posters, stage dresses and street clothes, recordings, sculptures, paintings, a collection of porcelain etc.

Smoking Museum
The Smoking Museum is a private museum of smoking located in the 11th arrondissement of Paris at 7 rue Pache, Paris, France. The Smoker’s Museum is a private museum, founded in 2001 by Michka Seeliger-Chatelain and Tigrane Hadengue with the aim of “providing information on the act of smoking and on the plants smoked”.

The museum is located within a 650-square-foot (60 m2) storefront, and contains a collection of smoking objects including European pipes, 17th century clay pipes, Native American ceremonial pipes, hookahs, Chinese opium pipes, Egyptian sheeshas, and snuffboxes, as well as cigars, tobacco samples, hemp-fiber clothing, and etchings, portraits, photographs, videos, and scientific drawings of tobacco plants.

Workshop of Lights
The Workshop of Lights is a digital art center, located between Rue Saint-Maur and Atelier des Lumières. The projected digitally in the 1500 m2 space, y live an immersive experience mixing classic and contemporary.

Bust of Alexandre Dumas
At the corner of 201 boulevard Voltaire, look up to the 2nd floor of the building to discover the bust of one of the most famous French writers: Alexandre Dumas. Surrounding this sculpture is the list of his best-known works, including the Three Musketeers, carved in stone. This building, built ten years after the novelist’s death, recalls the now destroyed private mansion that the playwright owned a little further on, but is also the symbol of the impact of his works on French culture.

Streets and squares
Stretching across the 11th arrondissement from Bastille in the southwest to Père Lachaise cemetery just beyond the neighborhood’s northeast border, Rue de Charonne is an ideal spot to spend a few hours popping in and out of its many charming restaurants, cafés, and shops. The winding street is also home to a host of quirky, independent boutiques offering curated collections sourced from up-and-coming names on the Parisian fashion scene.

Passage Rochebrune is a small secret street nestled in the heart of the 11th arrondissement. You will find charming little cafes, a fairly pronounced street-art culture, and a calm reminiscent of the villages of French countryside. At the end of the passage, continue your journey and discover the pleasant passage Guilhem, just as harmonious and relaxing.

Along rue Saint-Maur, the Cité Dupont also has a lot of charm. This small flowery alley is decorated with many hearts shape petal of all colors scattered everywhere.

Passage Alexandrine and Passage Gustave Lepeu are as narrow as they are flowery, with impression of countryside and magnificent architectural surprises: from charming glass roofs to long walls of ivy.

Hosted a large community of carpenters and cabinetmakers, the rue des Immeubles-Industriels was built in 1873 by the architect Emile Leménil. This magnificent street is made up of 19 buildings of 3 floors each, all perfectly identical. Formerly a working-class city intended to offer better living conditions to workers, this street is today very popular with walkers who wish to discover the architectural nuggets of the capital.

At Brigitte Campagne and “Ancienne mode” boutique, you will be able to hunt for original outfits from the 19th century to the 1960s.

Place de la Bastille
The Place de la Bastille is a square in Paris, straddles 3 arrondissements of Paris, namely the 4th, 11th and 12th. The square and its surrounding areas are normally called simply Bastille. The square is home to concerts and similar events. The north-eastern area of Bastille is busy at night with its many cafés, bars, night clubs, and concert halls.

The July Column (Colonne de Juillet) which commemorates the events of the July Revolution (1830) stands at the center of the square. Other notable features include the Bastille Opera, the Bastille subway station and a section of the Canal Saint Martin. Prior to 1984, the former Bastille railway station stood where the opera house now stands.

Place de la Nation
The Place de la Nation is a circle on the eastern side of Paris, between Place de la Bastille and the Bois de Vincennes, on the border of the 11th and 12th arrondissements. Widely known for having the most active guillotines during the French Revolution, the square was renamed Place de la Nation on Bastille Day, 14 July 1880, under the Third Republic.

The square includes a large bronze sculpture by Aimé-Jules Dalou, the Triumph of the Republic depicting Marianne, and is encircled by shops and a flower garden. The central monument, The Triumph of the Republic, is a bronze sculpture created by Aimé-Jules Dalou. It was erected to mark the centenary of the Revolution, at first in plaster in 1889 and then in bronze in 1899. The figure of Marianne, personifying the Republic, stands on a globe in a chariot pulled by lions and surrounded by various symbolic figures, and looks towards the Place de la Bastille. When the monument was erected, it was surrounded by a large pond.

In 2018 and 2019 launched the redevelopment of the squares, in order to revise the sharing of public space until then mainly devoted to traffic (the central ring passing from 26 to 12 meters) to increase spaces for pedestrians, cyclists, green spaces and terraces.

Place de la République
The Place de la République (known as the Place du Château d’Eau until 1879) is a square in Paris, located on the border between the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements. The square has an area of 3.4 ha (8.4 acres). Named after the First, Second and Third Republic, it contains a monument which includes a statue of the personification of France, Marianne.

The square took its current shape as part of Baron Hausmann’s vast renovation of Paris. At the center of the Place de la République is a 9.4 m bronze statue of Marianne, the personification of the French Republic, “holding aloft an olive branch in her right hand and resting her left on a tablet engraved with Droits de l’homme (the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen).” The statue sits atop a monument which is 23 m high. Marianne is surrounded with three statues personifying liberty, equality, and fraternity, the values of the French Republic. These statues also evoke the three medieval theological virtues.

Square Maurice Gardette
Opened in 1872 in place of the former Ménilmontant slaughterhouses, this square owes its name today to a resistance fighter shot in 1941. Despite its tumultuous history, this bucolic-looking square is a real haven of peace nestled along the magnificent rue du Général Guilhem, where you will find a lovely wine cellar and other addresses that contribute to the charms of the capital. Feel free to raise your head and catch a glimpse, behind the trees, of the buildings with their flowery fronts that surround the square.

Folie-Régnault district
Folie-Régnault district was in the district of Popincourt, in the east of Paris. The Folie-Regnault sanatorium was held by Doctor de La Chapelle, chief surgeon at the Saint-Louis Hospital. Stroll between the rue de la Folie-Régnault and the rue de Mont-Louis where the storefronts of the shops and restaurants which, although uncluttered, retain their charm of yesteryear.

In the Impasse de Mont-Louis, red brick buildings surrounded by jasmine in the summertime are inevitably reminiscent of the beautiful districts of London. A trompe l’oeil collage extends the path for an infinite perspective. A little corner of tranquility. The district, stronghold of many craftsmen as evidenced by the city of 196 rue de la Roquette stands out for its many red brick buildings where the air sometimes smelled of chocolate, due to the establishment until the middle of the 20th century.

The bougnat
In the 19th century, fleeing the misery of the countryside, the Auvergnats arrived en masse in the 11th and 12th arrondissements, thus creating a strong and close-knit regional community. Hard workers, many coal merchants or water carriers are gradually turning to catering and opening nearly 2,500 cafés-bois-charcoal throughout the capital. Called bougnats by the Parisians in reference to the Auvergne origins of their managers, people came there to have a very black coffee in the morning then a glass of white wine in the afternoon while placing an order for their daily cargo of coal or wood.

There are many coffee shops and roasters that have settled in the area.

Le Perchoir
Hidden away at the top of an unsuspecting building on a quiet street, Le Perchoir. This restaurant can be hard to spot but once you make your way up to the seventh floor of the Hausmannian building it calls home, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of the city’s stunning rooftops.

Mélac bistro
Mélac bistro offer the opportunity to taste charcuterie of all kinds, cheese galore and exquisite wine at reasonable prices. The Mélac has its own vines, located on the roof of the bistro, and harvests are generally organized in September: the public is invited to participate and come and taste the fruit of their labor.

Cafe Chilango
A recent addition to the growing Mexican food scene in the capital, Café Chilango stands out thanks not only to its mouth-watering tacos and potent cocktails, but also to its vibrant atmosphere. This small restaurant features a rotating menu of taco combinations inspired by the season; think succulent meats, fresh produce, and bright, bold flavors.

Café Charbon
Located in the heart of the lively Oberkampf neighborhood, Café Charbon has been a hotspot for more then a century. Lured in by the stylish vintage décor, friendly staff, and cheap drinks, hip locals flock to this restaurant-bar all week long.

Chambelland offer the best boulangeries with gluten-free.Chambelland has been leading the charge and its perfectly airy breads, savory sandwiches, and delicate pastries rival any traditional bakery options.

The Spoune café in rue Saint Sébastien. In addition to having a top-notch house menu, the decor is neat and the staff attentive. You can even take or drop off books.