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12th arrondissement of Paris

Not one of the most touristy places in Paris, there is nonetheless enough to do in the 12th district to enjoy your stay. The district is divided into four areas:

  • quartier du Bel-Air (extreme East)
  • quartier de Picpus (East)
  • quartier de Bercy (South West)
  • quartier des Quinze-Vingts (North West)

Famous places

The district is full of gardens, parks and squares, ideal for walks. The bois de Vincennes is one of the most famous parks of the city, and the biggest one as well, with 2,459 acres of land –half of it is covered in trees. There is plenty to see inside the park, such as Vincenne’s Castle, but also a farm, a tropical garden (created for the 1907 colonial exhibition), a zoo, a Buddhist temple, and a beautiful Japanese inspired floral park.

Take the time to wander along the Promenade plantée, also called Coulée Verte (literally green flow), which meanders along a former railway track. The green line follows 4.7km (3 miles) of rail, from behind the Opéra Bastille, to the Boulevard Périphérique.
For a taste of the French countryside, a visit to Bercy Village (formerly an important crossroads for wine and trade at the end of the 19th century) brings to life the spirit of market shopping inside Paris. The large commercial centre, offers around thirty shops and restaurants, as well as a cinema. Next to the village, Bercy Park will lead you to the sports centre where you can play nearly any sport you can think of. It plays host to numerous competitions, as well as concerts, shows and various displays.

In terms of shopping, the district is famous for its amazing number of electronics shops, mostly clustered around rue Charenton near the Jardin de Reuilly, as one would expect the intense competition keeps prices low (for Europe). There is also a well-known farmers market, set in place d’Aligre, which is by far one of the most affordable open-air markets in Paris. Customers line up to buy the best fruits and vegetables around, whilst gossiping with friends, stall holders and strangers alike.

The bassin d’Arsenal is also worth a look, a marina linked to the Seine River by a lock- the perfect spot to while away the evening in one of the cafes or restaurants nearby.

The only famous museum in the district is Palais de la Porte Dorée, which used to house an amazing Art Deco building, purpose-built for the 1931 Colonial Exhibition, featuring an elaborate frieze across the front facade that depicts the achievement of French overseas territories. It now houses an Aquarium and the Museum of Immigration. The Aquarium takes about an hour to go round, and is popular with families with small children.

Restaurants and cafes

  • Le Train bleu, located on the 1st floor of the Gare de Lyon, full of colonial charm. Serves haute cuisine in amazing surroundings. Reservations strongly recommended.
  • L’Ébauchoir, 43-45 rue de Citeaux. A favourite amongst the bo-bo crowd (–bohemian middle classes) of the district. Good traditional cooking with mid-range prices.
  • Le Picotin, 35 rue Sibuet. An excellent find in a quiet back street. Good value food, with a selection wide enough to offer a good choice whilst allowing the chef to concentrate on perfecting a small number of dishes. Warm, friendly welcome and faultless service.
  • Le Baron Rouge, 1 rue Théophile Roussel. It sells wine, certainly – great barrels of the stuff are piled high and sold by the glass at very reasonable prices. But the Red Baron is not just a wine bar – it’s more like a local chat room, where regulars congregate to yak over their vin, or perhaps one of the few draught beers, and maybe a snack of sausages or oysters. Despite its lack of seating (there are only four tables), it’s a popular pre-dinner spot, so arrive early and don’t expect much elbow room; drinkers often spill out on to the pavement – joining the smokers.

Property price per sqm in the 12th arrondissement of Paris

According to the website Notaires de France, the average price per square meter was €8,370 for the third quarter of 2011. It is currently the sixteenth most expensive district of Paris, after the 13th arrondissement.

There were 142 673 inhabitants in the district in 2008.

Useful information

Tourism office in Paris:

Maps of Paris:

Travel from the UK
By air: 
Easyjet flies from Belfast, Liverpool Newcastle and London Luton to Paris.
Ryanair flies from Shannon, Dublin and Glasgow to Paris.

By rail: 
Eurostar go from London to Paris in just 2h35.
By car: You can travel by car to Paris by taking the ferries which go from Dover to Calais and then you can take the Motorway to Paris.
You can also cross the channel with the Eurostar and stop at Calais. Then you will travel on the motorway directly to Paris.

Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Paris. We have a large network of partners in Paris. All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, longere, barn, gite, B&B, country house, mill, castle or chateau, we will do our best to find a property in Paris matching your requirements.

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