The 13th arrondissement of Paris is primarily a residential and business district in the southeast of Paris, on the Left Bank of the Seine.
Although not usually recognised as a natural magnet for tourists, the 13th nonetheless does hold several attractions of interest to the traveller that include the recently-completed Bibliothèque Nationale de France (national library), now part of a major new development of the Paris rive gauche district, the second large-scale urbanism project inside the city of Paris.
To the west of the PRG, along avenue de Tolbiac is the first of these urbanism projects, Les Olympiades, with its raised esplanade and the latest of the Paris Meteor (high-speed metro) stops, Les Olympiades. The southern part of the arrondissement is the Chinatown of Paris, perhaps the biggest in Europe.
On footThe easy walk to the 13th arrondissement from the centre of Paris (Île de la Cité) takes around 40 minutes, either through back streets or along the Seine promenade. It can be a very pleasant walk: you can walk across the Latin Quarter, for example, through the rue Mouffetard in the Paris/5th arrondissement.
By métroYou can get to the 13th arrondissement using 3 metro lines:
- Line serves Gobelins' near the Manufacture des Gobelins, Place d'Italie, Tolbiac (good entrance point for Chinatown), Maison-Blanche, and Porte d'Italie, Porte de Choisy and Porte d'Ivry. You will get to these three stations only if you take a train that goes in the Mairie d'Ivry direction. Other trains take another direction and leave Paris immediately after Maison-Blanche.
- Line serves Glacière, Corvisart, Place_d'Italie, Nationale, Chevaleret , near the avant-garde art galleries of rue Louise-Weiss, and Quai de la Gare, near the Bat-O-Far and other .
- Line serves Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand (near the new Bibliothèque de France), and the newest station in Paris, Olympiades, the new terminus.
- Line 27: Orange in colour
- Line 47: Pink in colour
- Line 64: goes from Gambetta to Place d'Italie. Turquoise/light green in colour
- Line 67: Pink in colour
- Line 83: Dark yellow in colour
All of these lines stop at Place d'Italie.
La Bibliothèque Nationale de FranceThe national library preserves collections of historic documents of both French and international origin. It holds 5,000 Greek manuscripts. You can get a day pass to visit or choose to visit only the expositions the library hosts.
phone: +33 1 76 77 25 30address: 34 quai d'Austerlitz - 75013Part gallery - part restaurant - part nightclub, La Cite (Les Docks) is a modern building that is instantly recognisable due to being draped on one side with a large neon green shell covering the stairwells and roof the building. Roughly translated in English as The City of Fashion and Design, this is a trendy spot at the weekends and is used for event like Paris Design Week. The restaurant in the building is open all year round.
La Butte aux CaillesA little district within the district. Very charming little streets on a hill on the west end of the 13 district. Nice for lunching/dining activities. This is the place where the band "Mano Negra" was hanging around.
Manufacture des Gobelinsphone: +33 1 44 54 19 33address: 42, av des GobelinsOnce the dye works for royalty, it is now a museum.
Stade CharlétyThe Stade Charlety is a massive multi-sport arena, hosting football (soccer), tennis, rugby and squash matches.
Les Frères Tangaddress: av, de ChoisyThe Tang brothers have the biggest Chinese grocery in Paris, occupying several multistory barracks-like buildings tucked into the Olympic housing project. They're known for giving away large balloons during Chinese New Year celebrations. They are one of the rare supermarkets to be open on Sundays.
The south part of the district, in the high-rise Chinatown area, is the good place to go if you like Chinese or Vietnamese food. Many outlets sell Vietnamese sandwiches. The area is not the best for getting cheap, good quality Chinese food. Elsewhere the 13th has some standouts.
phone: +33 1 43 36 73 46address: 7, rue du BanquierDecor is minimalist, but the northern African cuisine of this place is delicious.
phone: +33 1 45 80 70 10address: 5, rue des Cinq DiamantsBig Basque salads and a lot of ambiance in this moderately low-budget restaurant. This place is almost always crowded on Saturday nights.
Green Gardenphone: +33 1 45 82 99 54address: 20, rue NationaleEast Asian vegetarian
Phở 14For Vietnamese soups, best known in the district.
Sinoramaaddress: av de Choisy at rue de TolbiacOne of many Chinese places in the outer part of the arrondissement.
phone: +33 1 45 84 13 22address: 13, rue des Frères d'Astier de la VigerieDelicious Thai food.
phone: +33 1 45 89 69 48address: 18-20, rue de la Butte-aux-CaillesIf you are looking for quality French food, a large choice of good and affordable wine, this is the place to go. This is what we can call a "restaurant populaire" (as opposed to other posh and expensive places around) with a friendly staff, a very nice atmosphere, no way to reserve a table, just show up and the "patron" will find a place for you (arrive before 20:00 if you don't want to queue up, especially on weekends), shut down your mobile phone or you will be kicked out! The "Boudin a la Normande" (blood sausage) is a must, you can also get very decent goose liver and other French speciality such as "Salade de Museau".
phone: +33 1 56 29 10 11address: 11, quai François MauriacThis little red lighthouse boat hosts dance and chill electronic music and other multimedia cultured events and has been one of the coolest spots around for some time. The dance floor is in the hold, and the lounge on the upper deck. Of particular interest is the Sunday afternoon chill out/cookout event which spills out onto the quai (during nice weather).
phone: +33 1 53 61 08 49address: Port de la GareKnown for years as the Guinguette Pirate, this Chinese junk has recently been rechristened with her maiden name. The restaurant and bookings are still the same, with equal parts world music, chanson français and concerts for kids.
Sputnikaddress: 14, rue Butte-aux-Cailles
BudgetAll of the following hotels are near Place d'Italie, where public transportation is excellent.
Hotel Ibis Paris Avenue d'Italieaddress: 15 bis, av d'Italie.
Hôtel Verlainephone: +33 1 45 89 56 14address: 51, rue Bobillot
Jack'sphone: +33 1 45 85 17 34address: 19, av Stéphen PichonOn a very quiet street. Jean Genet died in this hotel in 1986.
phone: +33 1 47 07 20 90address: 5, rue Veronese
Tim Hotel Italieaddress: 22, rue Barrault
Holiday Inn Bibliothequephone: +33 1 45 84 61 61address: 21, rue de Tolbiac
Holiday Inn Express Paris Place d'Italiephone: +33 1 44 24 01 01address: 178, boul Vincent Auriol
phone: +33 1 45 35 45 25address: 8, rue Phillipe de Champagne
Mercure Blanqui Place d'Italieaddress: 25, boul Auguste Blanqui
Mercure Gobelinsaddress: 8 bis, av de la Soeur Rosalie
Hôtel Villa Luteceaddress: 52, rue Jenner