Eastern Paris City Orientation

Top Reasons to Go

Canal St-Martin. This scenic canal is now one of the city's hottest, hippest hangouts—it's great for strolling, with plenty of galleries, shops, and cafés en route.

Place de la Bastille. The flashpoint of the French Revolution still draws agitators and their frequent, noisy demonstrations. It's also a nightlife hub and home to the Opéra Bastille.

Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. Fans of celebrities, from Frédéric Chopin to Oscar Wilde to Jim Morrison, come to pay tribute at their final resting place.

Parc de la Villette. As the site of the city's well-regarded science museum and planetarium, this is a good destination for both curious kids and grown-up science buffs.

Coulée verte René-Dumont/Promenade Plantée (Viaduc des Arts). An abandoned rail line has been turned into a tree-fringed walkway perched atop a brick viaduct that’s bursting with boutiques.

Best Cafés

Café A. The Maison de l'Architecture—a center for architectural advancement—occupies a onetime monastery near the Canal St-Martin. Inside its Renaissance courtyard, Café A offers a seasonal menu at prices that are reasonable for this ever-gentrifying area. 148 rue du Faubourg St-Martin, Canal St-Martin, Paris, Île-de-France, 75010. 09–81–29–83–38; www.cafea.fr.

Café Charbon. This ultracool café is a neighborhood institution that stays open late every night of the week. 109 rue Oberkampf, Oberkampf, Paris, Île-de-France, 75011. 01–43–57–55–13; www.lecafecharbon.fr.

Chez Prune. Grab an outdoor table at this hot spot on the Canal St-Martin and watch the world go by. 36 rue Beaurepaire, Canal St-Martin, Paris, Île-de-France, 75010. 01–42–41–30–47.

Merci Cinema Café. This sweet little café works wonders with a small menu of mostly organic, high-quality ingredients. Come for lunch, tea, or a freshly squeezed juice and watch a classic film projected on the wall. 111 bd. Beaumarchais, Bastille, Paris, Île-de-France, 75003. 01–42–77–79–46; www.merci-merci.com.

Getting Here

Eastern Paris includes the 10e, 11e, 12e, 19e, and 20e arrondissements. The Bastille métro stop, on Lines 1, 5, and 8, is a good place to start. For the Canal St-Martin, use the Place de la République stop (Lines 3, 5, 8, 9, 11) and walk along Rue Faubourg du Temple; use the Gare de l'Est stop (Lines 4, 5, 7) and walk along Rue des Récollets; or choose the Jaurès stop (Lines 2, 5, and 7 bis), take the Boulevard de Villette exit, and walk a mere 80 feet south. For Oberkampf, go to the Parmentier stop on Line 3 or the Oberkampf stop on Line 9. For the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, take Line 2 or 3 to the eponymous stop.

Making the Most of Your Time

The Canal St-Martin is one of the most popular places in the city, particularly on Sunday afternoon, when the streets are closed to cars. Have lunch in a café, grab a Vélib' rental bike, and head to Parc de la Villette. A Sunday morning trip to the picturesque Marché d’Aligre is also recommended, even if you're not buying. The heaps of fresh produce and colorful flowers hawked by spirited vendors are worth seeing. On any day Place de la Bastille is a lively spot to stop for drinks or lunch; if time is limited, reserve this neighborhood for after dark, when the streets around Place de la Bastille and Oberkampf really come to life.

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