The 13th arrondissement of central Paris is primarily a residential and business district in the south-eastern part of the French capital, lying on the Left Bank of the river Seine. Although not usually recognised as a natural drawcard 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 "China town" of Paris, one of the (or even the) biggest in Europe.
The easy walk to the 13th arrondissement from the center 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.
You can get to the 13th arrondissement using 3 metro lines:
Ligne 7 serves Gobelins' near the Manufacture des Gobelins, Place d'Italie, Tolbiac good entrance point for the Paris Chinatown, Maison-Blanche, and Porte d'Italie, Porte de Choisy and Porte d'Ivry; you will get to these three stations if and only if you take a train that goes to the Mairie d'Ivry direction. Other trains take another direction and leave Paris immediately after Maison-Blanche.
Ligne 6 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 .
Ligne 14 serves Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand (near the new Bibliothèque de France), and the newest station in Paris, Olympiades, the new terminus.
Ligne 27 Orange in color
Ligne 47 Pink in color
Ligne 64 goes from Gambetta to Place d'Italie. Turquoise/light green in color
Ligne 67 Pink in color
Ligne 83 Dark yellow in color
All of these lignes stop at Place d'Italie.
La Bibliothèque Nationale de France, . The 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.
La Butte aux Cailles. A little district within the district. Very charming little streets on a hill in the western end of the 13 district. Nice for lunching/dining activities. This is the place where the band "Mano Negra" was hanging around.
Stade Charléty. The Stade Charlety is a massive multi-sport arena, hosting football (soccer), tennis, rugby and squash matches.
Manufacture des Gobelins, 42, avenue des Gobelins, ☎ 33(0)1 44 54 19 33. Once the dye works for royalty, it is now a museum.
Stroll across the Seine on the Pont Simone de Beauvoir pedestrian bridge from the Bibliotheque Nationale to the Parc de Bercy (which is actually in the 12th district)
Les frères Tang, Avenue de Choisy. The 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 southern 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; note, though, that the area is not the best for getting cheap, good quality Chinese food; Elsewhere the 13th has some other standouts.
Sinorama, Avenue de Choisy at rue de Tolbiac. One of many Chinese places in the outer part of the Arrondissement
Phở 14, (across from Sinorama). for Vietnamese soups, best known in the district.
Chez Gladines, 5 rue des Cinq Diamants (On the Butte aux cailles). Big Basque salads and a lot of ambiance in this moderately low-budget restaurant. This place is almost always crowded on Saturday nights.
le Temps des Cerises, 18-20, rue de la butte-aux-cailles (Métro: Place d'Italie), ☎ +33 1 45 89 69 48. If 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 8 if you don't want to queue up especially on week ends), shut down your mobile 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". 12€ to 20€ (with a sliding scale)..
Green Garden, 20 rue nationale (Métro: Port d'Ivry), ☎ +33 1 45 82 99 54, . East-Asian Vegetarian
Au Banquier, 7 Rue du Banquier (Métro Campo-Formio), ☎ +33 1 43 36 73 46. Decoration is quite minimalist, but the northern african cuisine of this place is delicious.
Sala Thaï, 13 rue des Frères d'Astier de la Vigerie (Métro Maison Blanche), ☎ +33 1 45 84 13 22. delicious and genuine Thai cuisine.complete dinner for approx. 35€, including beverages.
Batofar, 11 quai François Mauriac (Métro: Biblioteque François Mitterand or Quai de la Gare), ☎ +33 1 56 29 10 11, . This little red lighthouse boat which hosts dance and chill electronic music and other multimedia cultured events has been one of the coolest spots around for some time. The dancefloor is in the hold, and the lounge on the upper deck. Of particular interest is the Sunday afternoon chillout/cookout event which spills out onto the quai (during nice weather).
Map of the 13th Arrondissement
La Dame de Canton (La Guinguette Pirate), Port de la gare (Métro: Bibliothèque François Mitterrand or Quai de la gare), ☎ +33 1 53 61 08 49, . Known for years as the Guinguette Pirate, this Chinese junk has recently been rechristened with her "maiden name" as their website puts it. The restaurant and bookings are still the same, with equal parts world music, chanson français and concerts for kids.
All of the following hotels are located near Place d'Italie, where public transportation is excellent.