A week in Paris

Whenever I attend a tennis tournament, I try to combine tennis and a bit of sightseeing.
I’ve been to Paris many times – I’ve even worked in Paris for a year – so this time I wanted to get off the beaten path, so no touristy places like Champs Elysées or Montmartre, and explore the 12th district (where Bercy is located) and the 13th district (where I stayed for a few days).

12th and 13th districts are much less touristy than central Paris but are nonetheless a fascinating area to explore on foot.

Modern architecture walk

These riverside districts have been in permanent mutation for the past 30 years and are shaping up to be the new architectural face of the capital. If you’re an architecture buff, you should enjoy this walk on the waterfront, from the Pavillon de l’Arsenal to the Parc de Bercy.

Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir

Read the complete article here.

Bercy Village and Parc de Bercy

This area was once devoted to the trade of wine. Next to Cour Saint-Emilion, you can still spot the warehouses, now converted into restaurants, offices, shops and a museum.

The Cinémathèque, designed by Frank Gehry and the POPB, home of the BNP Paribas Masters border the park:

La Cinémathèque Française

POPB

For more pics and infos on Bercy neighbourhood, click here.

Musée des Arts Forains

Even if you don’t like museums, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. This is a must if you want to do something different in Paris.
Housed in a former wine warehouse, the Musée des Arts Forains (Fairground Museum) is a wonderland of vintage carousels, carnival rides and games.

It’s not the traditional museum where you can only watch and can’t touch, here visitors ride on the carousels and try out the other attractions like the waiters’ race.

Musée des arts forains

Musée des arts forains

Musée des arts forains

I really had a great time and for a couple hours I was a kid again.

Butte aux cailles

Full of bars and restaurants, the Butte Aux Cailles is a great place to chill out.

The Butte Aux Cailles district sits on a small hill, rising around 60 meters, between the noisy Place d’Italie and Chinatown.
The neighborhood was named after Pierre Caille, former landowner in 1543. At the time, Butte aux Cailles only consisted in uninhabited terrain and a few windmills bordering the rivière de la Bièvre (River Bièvre).
The 17th century saw the development of numerous industrial activities around the river which led to Butte aux Cailles becoming the center for tanning. Unfortunately, the dye factories turned the River Bièvre into an open-air sewer so they decided to bury it under the French capital.

Today la Butte aux Cailles retains the feeling of a small village in the middle of a big city.

Butte aux cailles

Street art in the 13th arrondissement

Street art

Street art

Chinatown

South of Tolbiac the shop signs suddenly turn Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian, oriental spices fill the air and even McDonalds is decked out ‘à la Chinoise’. Welcome to Paris main Chinatown (Quartier Chinois), set amid 60s tower blocks in the triangle formed by avenue d’Ivry, avenue de Choisy and boulevard Masséna.

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Not really a must do but if you happen to be in the 13th arrondissement it is nonetheless worth visiting.

Manufacture des Gobelins

The royal tapestry factory was founded by Colbert when he set up the Manufacture Royale des Meubles de la Couronne in 1662; it’s named after Jean Gobelin, a dyer who owned the site. It reached the summit of its renown during the ancien régime, when Gobelins tapestries were produced for royal residences under artists such as Le Brun. The name Gobelins thus became famous throughout the courts of Europe.

Tapestries are still made here and visitors can watch weavers at work.

 

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