I try to vary the neighborhood I stay in when I visit a city more than once, so I can get a better feel for the overall vibes of the place, rather than just one perspective.
Bastille in Paris is one of the neighborhoods I’m drawn to go back to though.
I stayed here for the first time in 2019, and it remains one of my favorite places to stay in Paris.
Located in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, just east of Le Marais, and across the Seine from the Latin Quarter, Paris’s Bastille neighborhood manages to achieve the (almost) impossible feat of being well located, affordable, and not overrun by tourists.
Today I’m going to take you through all the things to do in Bastille in Paris, along with quite the list of curated places to eat, drink, and stay (if you, too, become as obsessed with the Bastille area in Paris as I am)!
Let’s get started!
🥐 If you’re in the middle of planning a trip to Paris, check out the rest of my Paris posts and guides!
- Complete Neighborhood Guide to Bastille in Paris
- Where to Eat in Bastille
- Where to Stay in Bastille
- FAQs about Bastille in Paris
Complete Neighborhood Guide to Bastille in Paris
Things to Do in Bastille
The thing about smaller, more local neighborhoods in any city is that there isn’t always a lot “to do.” In Bastille, the best thing to do is often just hang out, walk around, and get lost in the ambience of Paris!
That being said, I’ve rounded up all the best things to do in Bastille, from the obvious to the off the beaten path. Let’s get into it!
1. Explore the markets
There are two main markets you can explore and shop your way through in Bastille in Paris.
Open every day but Monday, Marché d’Aligre is mostly fruits and vegetables and other food stalls, but in the central square there’s often antiques and books and other fun things. Either way, it’s nice to walk through to get a taste for the local energy of the neighborhood!
💡 Insider Tip: One of my favorite ways to combine great food, new knowledge about a specific neighborhood, and chatting with locals into one fun activity is a market tour! Often, these will come with either a tasting at the market or (even better) a cooking class back at the guide’s home!
In Bastille, I’ve found one of each for you! Check out this Marché d’Aligre tour & tasting or this Marché d’Aligre tour & cooking class with a Netflix-featured chef.
There’s also the Marché Bastille, which is a bit smaller and only open Thursdays and Sundays until the afternoon. I’ve spotted some seriously cute vintage furniture here before, and the food stalls are equally great.
2. Stroll along the Coulée Verte René-Dumont
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path thing to do in Paris, Coulée Verte René-Dumont is one of my top recommendations. This elevated park actually inspired the famous High Line in New York City.
It’s a unique, three-mile-long, elevated path that’s covered in trees and other stunning plants. Make sure you don’t miss the Viaduc des Arts, which is nestled beneath a section of the upper green space. It houses high-end galleries and shops that are really great to browse.
P.S. This was originally known as the Promenade Plantée, so don’t be confused if you happen to hear it referred to this way!
3. Place de la Bastille
If you’re staying in Bastille in Paris (or even just passing through, odds are that you’ll come across Place de la Bastille.
Once home to the infamous Bastille Prison, which was demolished after the French Revolution, the Place de la Bastille is now a central square and roundabout with a market on the weekends. In the center you can see The July Column, which is a monument to commemorate the Revolution of 1830.
Today, the square is often home to cultural events, concerts, and fairs. It’s also surrounded by tons of bars and restaurants. You can also stroll from here along the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, with its hidden courtyards, to the Place de la Nation.
4. Rue Crémieux
Rue Crémieux is not necessarily something I would go out of my way to see, but it’s definitely cute if you’re nearby. It’s a block-long street full of colorful houses, and it has an almost quaint, or village-like energy.
It’s super cute and has a real contrast to the rest of the bustling city, but it has gained a ton of popularity recently, so sometimes it can feel a bit touristy/Instagram hotspot.
If you do go, be sure to be respectful: people live here, and don’t like how disrespectful the tourists can be!
5. Attend the Opéra Bastille
While the Palais Garnier is much prettier, and has better acoustics, the Opéra Bastille is much larger, and fairly modern.
I would say that if you simply want to appreciate Parisian culture through the opera, you should choose the Palais Garnier, but if you’re a true appreciator of the art, then attending a show at the Opéra Bastille Paris could be a great and unique experience.
For anyone who isn’t that invested in opera, you can just check it out from the outside. There’s no way to put this kindly, but it’s like, famously ugly, and hated because of that. I don’t actually think it’s that bad, but it certainly sticks out.
Check it out for yourselves!
6. Take a tour
I love to take a tour when I travel, especially if it’s my first time somewhere.
It really helps orient you to the city, and usually gives you a local or historical (or both!) perspective you wouldn’t get if you just explored on your own.
I especially love when you can take tours that center food, or markets, because then you get double the perks (food and information)! This tour with a Bastille local will teach you loads about the neighborhood and leave full with the guide’s delicious food recommendations.
7. Shop ’till you drop
There are so many cute shops in the Paris Bastille neighborhood, and I encourage you to wander around the neighborhood on your own to find all the best hidden gems! But I’ll leave you with some of my favorite picks as well:
Les mots à la Bouche is a great bookshop with an English section. Acid Violette, Fringe upside, Come on Eileen, and Adöm are all second-hand and vintage stores, and m… céramique is a stunning ceramic boutique and workshop. Finally, Heart Beat Vinyl, Le Silence de la Rue, and Music Avenue Paris are all great vinyl shops.
8. Head further east to Père Lachaise
Located just on the eastern edge of Bastille you’ll find Père Lachaise, the largest cemetery in Paris. While a cemetery might seem like a strange destination for sightseeing, this one is actually lovely (it’s also a very popular Paris attraction).
Père Lachaise home to a ton of famous graves, including Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Molière, and (our purpose for visiting) Gertrude Stein.
Although it’s such a popular place to visit, the cemetery is luckily very peaceful. It’s gigantic, so you will see several walking tours about but never really any huge crowds. There are also some nice seating areas to take in the views of Paris.
💡 Insider Tip: It can actually be really difficult to locate the graves of specific people you’re looking for. I cannot overstate just how crowded each segment of the cemetery is!!
To find your way, I definitely recommend either taking a guided walking tour of Père Lachaise or, if you’d rather some solitude, a downloadable audio tour.
Where to Eat in Bastille
There are so many places to eat in the Bastille area in Paris that it felt impossible to narrow them all down, but boy did I try!
Below you’ll find all my favorite places, most of them I’ve gone to, some of them I’m desperate to go to, all of them I stand behind! I gave a little description of why I’d go there, and they’re all linked to Google Maps (one of my ride or die travel resources).
- Boulangerie Maison Letissier – great morning pastries, also good for lunch (premade baguettes)
- Passager – trendy spot for more American style brunches
- La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac – Paul Bert – best for their fancy pastries
- Boulangerie bo – best for pastries, great service, amazing croissants
- Chambelland – pastries, somehow both fancy and unpretentious
- Tapisserie – great pastries, very small space
- Blé Sucre – often said to have the best croissants in Paris, though I prefer their madeleines
- Brother Sister Brunch – American style
- Ten Belles Bread – best for lunch: they have premade sandwiches, but good for mornings too
- East Mamma – famous pizzeria and Italian restaurant
- Bistrot Paul Bert – traditional French, lunch or dinner
- Le Pure Cafe – open all day, traditional French bistrot
- Le Café des Chats – cozy cafe with light food and many cats
- Septime – contemporary French with seasonal dishes
- Charletperrin – traditional French
- Le Chalet Savoyard – mountain-style restaurant serving fondue and raclette (among others)
- The Café Français – brasserie perfect for people watching (open all day)
- Waly-Fay – upscale Senegalese food
For Everything Else
- Bluebird – retro style cocktail bar
- Le Calbar – cocktails
- Fréquence – cocktails and vinyl records
- Au Lèche-Vin – dive bar
- Le Caves de Prague – casual wine bar
- Ici-même – cozy wine cellar
Where to Stay in Bastille
Staying in the Paris Bastille neighborhood is one of my favorite hacks for visiting the city! Want to stay within walking distance of the Marais and Canal Saint-Martin (two of the other best neighborhoods in Paris), at a fraction of the cost?
If so, staying at a lovely Bastille Paris hotel is a no-brainer!
🛏️ Check out my full list of the best boutique Paris hotels in other neighborhoods! 🛏️
€ | 3 Star | “Surrealist” Chic | On a Trendy Street
I had the pleasure of staying at Hôtel Exquis myself a couple of years ago—the time I fell in love with Bastille! This place is definitely quirky. It was designed by setting eight artists free at the Saint-Ouen flea market and cobbling together their finds in unique and exciting ways the hotel itself describes as surrealist. I see it. It’s accommodation on the more basic end for sure, but still an excellent (cheap) stay!
€ | 3 Star | Sneaky Marais Stay
Situated only a few steps from Place de la Bastille, Hotel Bastille Speria is actually right on the edge of the Marais itself. A slightly more basic hotel that still manages to cultivate a modern, on-trend vibe with its decor, this place is the perfect base for those planning to explore both neighborhoods.
€€ | 4 Star | Terrace Rooms | Full Spa
Once again located on the border between the Marais and Bastille in Paris, Le Petit Beaumarchais is a calming, cozy retreat from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Carefully thought out design elements add warmth to every room, and some even have private balconies. The spa itself offers a sauna, massages, and a small soaking pool, and the hotel is also located quite close to several metro stations!
FAQs about Bastille in Paris
Is it worth visiting Bastille?
Yes! It’s definitely worth visiting Bastille in Paris. It’s definitely the type of neighborhood you want to spend some time in if you, like me, value experiencing a city like a local, and would rather explore an area slowly, than simply visit places with lots of major tourist attractions.
While it was originally home to the infamous Bastille prison, Bastille is now often described as a bit hipster, cool/trendy, and off the beaten path—and I definitely agree! You’ll get a much more local vibe here than in neighboring areas, and the businesses are usually packed full of Parisians enjoying their days.
Bastille is home to a lot of great restaurants, markets, and shops that you can explore while taking in the stunning Haussmann buildings.
It’s also near so many other incredible neighborhoods, and is home to the really cool elevated park that inspired the High Line in New York.
Is the 11th arrondissement in Paris a good place to stay?
Yes, the 11th arrondissement in Paris is a great place to stay. While it’s not as central as its neighbors in Le Marais or Latin Quarter, it’s only just a bit further out, and the prices definitely make up for the little extra distance.
I would personally aim to stay in Bastille in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, because it’s still quite close to the action, but staying a bit further out can be nice sometimes too.
Bastille is definitely one of my favorite places to stay in Paris because it gives you a little less of the tourists, and a little more local energy.
What area of Paris is Bastille in?
Ready to explore the area of Bastille in Paris?
Writing this has honestly made me jealous that you’ll be in Bastille soon! I need to plan another trip. Until then, be sure to tag me in any and all travel content, and let me know in the comments if there’s anything you think I missed!
If you’re still planning, be sure to check out all my other posts about Paris so you can have the best trip ever.