Guide to the 12th arrondissement of Paris: A district on the move

The 12th arrondissement of Paris is massive. Too big, even. So much so that it makes it hard to define. In fact, during our 24 hours in the neighbourhood we didn’t even have the time to see the Bois des Vincennes, the beautiful park that makes up a large chunk of the district.

You have to be on the move if you want to see it all, and that became something of a theme. We ate in an iconic train station restaurant, rode carousels in a curious fairground museum, and stayed in a movie-themed hotel. Talk about action. Here’s a rundown of what we did and what you can find in the district.

The interactive map

First, here’s an interactive map of everything we are about to recommend, to help you find it all easily.

Map thanks to Wanderlog, a road trip planner on iOS and Android

The Earful Tower podcast episode

Here’s the podcast episode on the 12th district of Paris, featuring me and my wife Lina discussing our findings. At the end we share our final ranking on the district out of 100. 

Video guide to the 12th arrondissement

Here’s our visit, in video format, from our YouTube channel. We’ll be making one of these travel vlogs every week, so be sure to subscribe (you can do it in one click via this link). 

The Earful Tower’s guide to the 12th arrondissement

The best restaurants in the 12th arrondissement

Le Train Bleu. An icon and nothing less. This restaurant is simply the standard by which Paris restaurant experiences should be measured. 10/10. Here is a link to more info and many more pictures from our visit. @restaurantletrainbleu Address: Pl. Louis-Armand, 75012

Ground Control: This is a massive indoor/outdoor food court with a young crowd. Laid back energy, several bars, and a wide variety of simple dining choices. Address: 81 Rue du Charolais, 75012 @groundcontrolparis

Where to stay in the 12th arrondissement?

Mk2 Hotel Paradiso A movie-themed hotel. Each room has its own big screen, popcorn in the minibar, endless films on offer… and a rooftop cinema terrace. Perfect if you want (or need) to chill out while in Paris 🙂 @mk2hotelparadiso Address: 135 Bd Diderot, 75012

Best place for a drink in the 12th arrondissement

Le Baron Rouge: Excellent place for a glass of wine, to be enjoyed either standing around tables inside or on the outdoor terrace. Oysters at the weekend. Very authentic, charming, and the radish plate was a surprise hit! Address: 1 Rue Théophile Roussel, 75012

Le Calbar: Cocktails in a cosy locale where the bartenders are in their boxer shorts! The drinks were great, these guys know what they’re doing. @lecalbar Address: 82 Rue de Charenton, 75012

The best cafe in the 12th arrondissement

Cafe CC: This charming little spot near the Aligre Markets is the perfect place to grab a coffee before taking on the markets. They make their own cakes too. Address: 6 Rue Théophile Roussel, 75012 Paris @cafecc_paris 

Best croissant in the 12th arrondissement

Blé Sucré: Just delicious croissants, even chef David Lebovitz agrees. In an Earful interview in 2017 he said “they put a little extra salt in them, it makes you salivate a little.” @ble_sucre Address: 7 Rue Antoine Vollon, 75012

More things to find in the 12th arrondissement

Musée des Arts Forains: This fairground museum was excellent! If you’ve seen Midnight in Paris you have seen inside one of the rooms, where Owen Wilson is dancing near the carousels. There really is a lot to take in here, amazing that it’s not more well-known! @museedesartsforains Address: 53 Av. des Terroirs de France, 75012

Promenade Plantée: An excellent place for an elevated stroll, this used to be a train line and now is a leafy escape from the bustling city below. The main entrance is at Bastille, but there are several staircases leading up (and down) dotted along the way. Fun fact: this park inspired the High Line in New York. Address: 1 Coulée Verte René-Dumont, 75012

Jardin du Bassin de l’Arsenal: We didn’t visit on this trip, but here’s a charming stretch of the canal Saint-Martin that makes a lovely spot for a picnic, a stroll, or a place for the kids to play. 

Bois de Vincennes: This huge park deserves a whole post, but we didn’t make it during this trip. If you head here, you can hang out with peacocks, go for a boat ride, or even visit a zoo!

That will do for now! I hope you enjoyed episode nine for this new season. This week we’ll be taking you for a closer look at the 12th arrondissement, including more from the Train Bleu and the fairground museum, so bookmark this page. Then next week it’s the 11th.

A big thanks to Augusta Sagnelli for the Train Bleu photos, Charlotte Pleasants for the additional reporting, and to the Patreon members who make all this possible. Join them here or check this out: a member’s only page on this very website. Watch this space, membership is about to get even better.

Can you support this work? Buy one of our books below, or even better, become a Patreon member and unlock loads of bonuses on the way. This entire season is brought to you by these Patrons, there’s no other sponsors, no adverts, and we’re accepting no freebies 🙂

3 thoughts on “Guide to the 12th arrondissement of Paris: A district on the move

  1. This article was timely as I am looking forward to a July trip to Paris. Thank you for the information.

  2. My VERY favorite podcast and YouTube videos. Great content, fun and entertaining with a nice refreshing twist this season spending 24 hours in each arrondissment.

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