PARIS — Popincourt

The 11th arrondissement of Paris is home to two different centres of Parisian nightlife and is full of bars and restaurants. The streets just northwest of Place de Bastille are full of little bars many with a Latin-American theme full of young suburban Parisians, ex-pats, and foreigners. Those in the northern areas of this district, around Rue Oberkampf have more of a traditional Parisian feel.

The sights found here are:
Cirque d’Hiver
Église Saint-Ambroise
Musée du Fumeur
Musée Édith Piaf

Cirque d’Hiver

Cirque d’Hiver
The Winter Circus has been an important venue for circuses, exhibitions, musical concerts and other events. The building is an oval polygon and looks much like a mini colosseum or a tent. It first opened in 1852 when it was called Cirque Napoléon. On the exterior of the building are bas-reliefs of mounted warriors. Several artists have painted performances at the Cirque d’Hiver including Toulouse-Lautrec and Seurat.
For more information about the Cirque d’Hiver visit the website at: http://cirquedhiver.com (in French only)

Traveller's Tip

In 1955 Richard Avedon took one of the most iconic fashion photographs here — Dovima with the Elephants
  • In 1956 the film Trapeze was partly filmed at the Cirque d’Hiver
    Église Saint-Ambroise

    Église Saint-Ambroise
    This church was built from 1863 to 1868 to replace another church. There are a few interesting facts about this church such as the sculptures in the square at the front of the church were made by the residents living here with the help of sculptor G. Chance. In 1996 it was occupied by about 300 refugees from Africa seeking immunity but they were removed a few days later and this became the start of the movement of the sans-papiers;.

    Musée du Fumeur
    This rather unusual museum is a museum of smoking. It was originally an old butcher’s shop that was transformed in 2001. The exhibits include smoking paraphernalia such as models of pipes, Chinese opium pipes, water pipes, snuffboxes as well as cigar and tobacco samples. There are also paintings and drawings of smokers.
    For more information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.museedufumeur.net/accueil/mdfEN.html

    Musée Édith Piaf
    This privately run museum is dedicated to Édith Piaf who is probably one of France’s most famous singers and it is run by the Friends of Édith Piaf which is a group devoted to keeping alive the memory of this legendary singer. It is found in the flat of the secretary general of the group, Bernard Marchois who was one of her most devoted fans on the 4th floor at 5, Rue Crespin du Gast. The museum is open by appointment from 1 to 6pm from Monday to Thursday except bank holidays and the number to ring is 01 43 55 52 72. It is free to visit but a donation is recommended. The museum is filled with Piaf memorabilia such as photos, costumes, and personal possessions.