Located to the east of Paris, the 12th arrondissement is rich in its differences. It is one of the biggest arrondissements in Paris, without counting the Bois de Vincennes which makes up 2/3 of it.

It’s a family-oriented and working-class neighbourhood that attracts young and old alike.

It is divided into 4 districts that are full of activities: The districts of Quinze-Vingts, Picpus-Nation, Bel-Air and Bercy.

You can go for long walks, either in the city or in the woods.


We present each of these districts below to help you decide whether or not you like it.


  • Les Quinze-vingts:


This district takes its name from the famous Quinze-Vingts Hospital (National Hospital of Ophthalmology), which is near Place de la Bastille in Rue de Charenton.

It’s the most expensive district in the 12th arrondissement, close to the 4th arrondissement and the 11th arrondissement, bordered by Faubourg Saint Antoine, the Bassin de l’Arsenal, the River Seine, Rue de Chaligny and Rue Villot.

It includes the Place de la Bastille with its famous July Column, the Opéra Bastille, the famous Gare de Lyon, the Bassind’Arsenal with its boats and its promenade, the Viaduc des Arts, the René-Dumont Greenway which follows an old railway line from Rue de Lyon to Porte de Montemproivre and Place d’Aligre with its large daily market (except Mondays), the Rue d’Aligre market and Beauvau covered market.

This district is vibrant with many bars, restaurants, local shops, Saint-Antoine University Hospital  and its Opera.

Several metro lines pass there, such as line 1 which goes from East to West of Paris, line 14 or line 8, as well as the RER A which serves La Défense or Disneyland Paris/Val d’Europe.


  • Picpus-Nation:


This district starts from Rue de Chaligny and includes Place de la Nation until Place Daumesnil and the Bel-Air district.

It is known for being home many young dynamic executives with young children thanks to its numerous schools (this district has the highest number of schools per square metre in the 12th arrondissement!)

It is a quiet residential area with many local shops.

There are two major hospitals: the recently rebuilt Rothschild Hospital and the Diaconnesses Hospital with its popular maternity ward.

Rue du Rendez-Vous is known for its quality fresh produce sold by local traders.

You’ll be able to go to the markets at Cours de Vincennes on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, as well as at Boulevard de Reuilly on Tuesday and Friday mornings and finally, Saint Eloi market on Rue de Reuilly on Thursday and Sunday mornings.

Many metro lines are available there. Place de la nation is a central square with metro lines 1, 2, 6 and 9, as well as the RER A and many bus lines.

In January 2019, the district will accommodate the future campus of the Sorbonne Nouvelle, where Rue de Picpus and Avenue de Saint-Mandé meet.

This opening will no doubt be accompanied by new restaurants and trendy bars to attract this new population J


  • Bel-Air:


This district is divided in two along its length, with the district of Bel-Air Nord and the district of Bel-Air Sud.

It goes from Cours de Vincennes to the Bois de Vincennes and from Saint-Mandé to Boulevard de Picpus.

To the north, it’s a working-class district with a lot of social housing between Boulevard Soult and the ring road.

A more residential district awaits you on the other side of Boulevard Soult.

Much of this district is taken up by the Armand-Trousseau Paediatric and Perinatal Hospital. It has a renowned paediatric emergency service.

To the south, the district is more residential, with a mix of older and newer buildings.

At Porte Dorée you’ll find the magnificent Palace of the Golden Gate with its large tropical aquarium and museum of the history of immigration. In summer, a pop-up terrace is set up there, to the great delight of the local residents who stop there on the way back from the woods.

The Porte Dorée market is held on Thursdays and Sunday mornings on Boulevard Poniatowski.

In this district, you’ll have access to Metro Line 6, which will take you to the Left Bank, as well as Line 8, which serves many key stations in Paris.


  • Bercy:


This district is one of the most dynamic 12th arrondissement thanks to its many activities.

It’s recent because buildings were mainly built in the 1990s.

You can stroll along Cours Saint-Emilion in Bercy Village to do a bit of shopping and finish by going to see a film, take a tour of the CinémathèqueFrançaise, visit the beautiful Fairground Museum, admire the huge building of the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry, attend a concert by your favourite artist at the AccorHotels Arena (formerly known as the PalaisOmnisports de Paris-Bercy) or even stroll along the banks of the Seine for a drink on a barge while listening to music.

There are many local shops, to the delight of the local residents.

As you’ll soon understand, this district is young and expanding.

Metro lines 6 and 14 of the metro are present, as well as many bus lines.

Bercy’s markets are to be found at Place Lachambeaudie and Rue Baron Leroy on Wednesday and Sunday mornings.



. Our favourite places to go and activities:


Now we’re going to tell you about our favourite places to go in the district:

  • Le Square Trousseau: A brasserie surrounded by Haussmannian buildings on a very popular square in the 12th arrondissement
  • Chalet des îles de Daumesnil: A restaurant/reception hall near Lake Daumesnil in the Bois de Vincennes with a nice quiet terrace.
  • The René-Dumont Greenway: This route follows the old railway line from the district of Quinze-Vingts and is a real breath of fresh air in the middle of the city.
  • The Fairground Museum: An unusual place that can be visited by booking and which hosts many events during the year.
  • Porte Dorée Aquarium: A tropical aquarium with a variety of species in a magnificent 1930s building.
  • Port d’Arsenal: What better than a port with pretty little boats, small lawns, decks and little restaurants at the water’s edge for a change of scenery? You can stroll along the promenade in the afternoons to get away from it all in the middle of the city.
  • East Mama: An Italian restaurant opposite Square Trousseau. It’s very trendy at the moment, but you need to be patient because the wait is very long…
  • La Rue Crémieux: A touch of London in the heart of Paris with its beautiful colourful houses that will brighten up your day.
  • Le Train Bleu: A famous restaurant in the Gare de Lyon that is not to be missed!
  • Les Blouses Blanches: An unusual Café at the exit of Saint-Antoine Hospital, where you’ll find doctors and medical students all day long hence its name…
  • Le China: A Chinese restaurant just minutes from the Bastille with a superb typical Chinese decoration.


Enjoy your trip to the heart of our neighbourhood!