Paris is made up of 20 arrondissements or neighborhoods, which are arranged in a clockwise spiral of ascending numbers from the 1st arrondissement in the center. Southeast of the city center along the left bank of the River Seine, the 13th arrondissement is best known as the home of Paris’s booming Asian Quarter or Quartier Asiatique.
Less touristy than other parts of Paris, the 13th arrondissement has a rich Chinese, Cambodian, and Vietnamese community and is a great place to find Asian restaurants and shops as well as one of the largest Chinese New Year Celebrations in Europe. The 13th district has also become something of an open-air museum, with dozens of massive works of street art, and several walking tours of the district highlight these urban pieces.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The 13th arrondissement is great for visitors wishing to explore off the beaten tourist path.
- Explore the lesser-known Butte aux Cailles neighborhood to view the area’s abundant street art.
- Bring comfortable shoes and be prepared for lots of walking in this hilltop district.
How to Get There
The 13th arrondissement is easily accessible by public transportation. Metro lines 6, 7, and 14 make numerous stops throughout the neighborhood. Not far from the Latin Quarter, it’s a nice walk from central Paris along the River Seine to the 13th arrondissement.
When to Get There
The less-visited 13th arrondissement is wonderful to explore any time of year. The neighborhood is particularly lively during the Chinese New Year, in January or February, when the streets fill with brightly lit lanterns and colorful costume parades. The festival features plenty of children’s activities, traditional music performances, and authentic food.
The French National Library
The 13th arrondissement is also home to the massive French National Library. Comprised of four 25-story glass towers, the library houses one of the largest collections of books in the world with well over 10 million titles. The library also contains numerous historical texts including thousands of ancient Greek manuscripts, as well as antique ceramics, coins, sculptures, and King Louis XIV’s globes.