Neighborhood Guide | 12th Arrondissement
What I love about Paris is that even after living here for several years it’s still possible to discover new areas of the city and their little hidden gems. I was excited to write this blog post because it meant that I could do what I love doing most – explore! I spent the weekend discovering, the somewhat lesser known, 12th arrondissement, which is one of the largest districts in Paris and home to the Bois de Vincennes and Gare du Lyon station.
I started my day with a delicious croissant from one of the best bakeries in Paris, Boulangerie Bazin. The croissant was light and fluffy with just the right amount of crispiness on the outside. It is a MUST for anyone who enjoys the French baked goods, but be sure to get there early to pick up their specialty bread, the “Bazinette aux Graines” which contains flax seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.
Just down the road from the Boulangerie is the famous Marché d’Aligre, a vibrant, authentic and bustling neigbourhood market. The outdoor stalls are only open until 12:30pm so get there in the morning to enjoy the atmosphere whilst shopping for some fresh, yet affordable, groceries! I grabbed a few bits for lunch on the go and then stopped at Café Aouba for a delicious cup of coffee. The owner, a young Turkish woman, roasts a mixture of coffee beans every day from Colombia, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and the list goes on. She also runs regular coffee tasting sessions at weekends and will soon be introducing the classic turkish coffee.
After wandering through the market and filling myself up on goodies I decided to talk a stroll along La Coulée Verte and walk off all the food I had just consumed! The 5km long promenade is made up of elevated gardens and tree lined cycling paths which were built above the defunct railway that runs all the way through the district. Great for a family walk, people watching or even nosing into people’s apartments along the way! As it isn’t quite picnic weather yet I didn’t continue onto to the Bois de Vincennes, otherwise known as Paris’ lungs. But this is definitely a must during the warmer months where you can walk around the beautiful footpaths, rent boats on the lake or visit the Buddhist Temple.
After a long walk, I wandered back towards the market area where I had spotted a little bar a vins called Les Caves de Prague for an apéritif with with some friends. It’s a great spot and it has a very local feel to it. We were the only ones speaking English inside which is always a good sign! We ordered a bottle of Vosne-Romanée from the Burgundy region which went down very nicely and at a very agreeable price as well. The best part – there’s no corkage fee, so you’re encouraged to buy a bottle and enjoy it onsite for free.
Finally to end on a high note after a very enjoyable day, we satisfied our appetites at the much sought-after, Asian-French Dersou. We didn’t have a reservation, or the budget for the gastronomic tasting menu with cocktail pairings, so we went after 9:30pm for the a-la-carte menu and it was fantastic! Smoked Iberian pork, and 65 days matured beef…I’ll stop there and let you go try it for yourself!
January 22, 2018
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