PARIS — Reuilly

The 12th arrondissement of Paris is an area stretching from the Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes. It is mostly residential but has become regenerated and trendy since the building of the Bastille Opéra. There are some picturesque little alleys and streets around the Rue du Faubourg St Antoine area. The district also has quite a few parks to enjoy the fresh air and open spaces.

The sights found here are:
L’Opéra Bastille
Gare de Lyon
Picpus Cemetery
Promenade Plantée
Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy
Musée des Arts Forain
Bercy Village
Parc de Bercy
Palais de la Porte Dorée
Bois de Vincennes

L’Opéra Bastille

L’Opéra Bastille
The Opera Bastille was originally designed to replace the old and beautiful Paris Opera Garnier but it wasn’t closed and operas and ballets are performed in both opera houses. This modern building found at the Place de la Bastille was built between 1981 and 1995 on the site of what was once the Paris Bastille train station. It can seat 2,723 people all with an unrestricted view of the stage but the acoustics have been criticised as being disappointing.
For information about the Opéra Bastille visit the website at:http://www.operadeparis.fr

Gare de Lyon

Gare de Lyon
This station was built to replace the old landing stage of Lyon between 1895 and 1902 to time with the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The restaurant found above the main entrance is listed as an historic monument and was decorated by the architect of the station as well as 30 artists. It has a Belle-Epoque interior which is the original from 1901. Here you will find around 40 paintings of cities serviced by the company that built the station — PLM (Paris-Lyon-Marseille) Company. This station is used for departures for southern France, the Alps, Switzerland, Italy and Greece.

Picpus Cemetery
This is the largest private cemetery in Paris and was created when land was seized from the convent of Chanoinesses de Saint-Augustin during the French Revolution. There are two parts to the cemetery. The first contains the remains of ordinary people who were guillotined during the Revolution and the second much smaller one contains the French aristocrats who were guillotined. There is also the tomb of Marquis de Lafayette in the smaller cemetery which is still used today by noble families. You can visit it every afternoon except Monday from 2pm until 6pm and it will cost you around €3. There is a chapel at the entrance where you can see the names of those who were buried during the Revolution.

Promenade Plantée

Promenade Plantée
You can take a very pleasant walk along the Promenade Plantée which is also known as the Coulée Vert (the Green Flow). This trail runs for 4.5 kilometres from the Périphérique in the east to the Place de la Bastille in the west. There are lots of trees as well as rose bushes lavender, ivies, wisteria and others on both sides that sometimes threaten to almost take over the path. An elevated section running for 1.5 kilometres from the Opéra Bastille to Jardin de Reuilly offers interesting perspectives of the old and new buildings found at the side of the path and underneath it is the Viaduct des Arts. There are also observation towers to climb further along. At avenue Général Michel Bizot the trail splits. The trail to the right leads to Square Charles Péguy where there is a children’s playground, ping pong tables and cascading ponds which make this a very pleasant place to spend some time. If you follow the left path and keep straight until you come to a spiral staircase that goes to Boulevard Carnot you can eventually end up at Bois de Vincennes.

Traveller's Tip

One of the more interesting sights that you can see along this path are the 12 reproductions of Michelangelo’s The Dying Slave; on top of the Police Station.

Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy
This is an indoor sports arena which opened in 1984 and it is the venue for many sports including the Paris Masters ATP Tour tennis tournament and several European gymnastics championships. There have also been music concerts held here.
For information about the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy and what is on visit the website at:http://www.bercy.fr/alaune (in French only)

Musée des Arts Forain
This is a private museum of fairgrounds found in the Pavillions de Bercy. The collection of over 1500 pieces includes rides, shops and fairground attractions dating from 1850 to 1950 and include merry go rounds, carousels, swings and many others. There are both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The permanent collection has three themed rooms and these are: The Venetians Lounge with an opera-based show and a gondola merry go round; the Marvellous Theatre with an emphasis on World Fairs especially the one held in Paris in 1900 and the Fairground Art Museum with its tribute to 19th century funfairs. These rooms are mostly used for company events though the public can visit via a reservation.
For information about the museum visit the website at:http://www.pavillons-de-bercy.com

Bercy Village

Bercy Village
This village which is found next to the Parc de Bercy and the Seine consists of restored small wine warehouses from the late 19th century that have been converted into shops, restaurants, cinemas and art galleries. It'’s a great place to spend a few hours and possibly have a meal. It was redeveloped in the 1990s and the original streets were left open with awnings put up to protect visitors from the weather. It is open daily from 1am until 9pm.
For information about the village and what you will find there visit the website at:http://www.bercyvillage.com

Parc de Bercy

Parc de Bercy
This park was built on the site of a wine warehouse and bottling facility and it still has a small vineyard here today. It opened as a park in 1995 and is a popular place to take a walk and enjoy the surroundings. One of the highlights of this park is the beautiful rose garden which has 95 varieties and is glorious when they are in bloom. Another feature are the bronze statues honouring children from around the world. On the Rue Paul Belmondo side of the park is the Maison du Jardinage. It is a building full of gardening items suitable for urban gardening and it has a gardening library. There is an exhibition for children and they give gardening lessons. At the edge of the park is the Cinémathéque Français which has a cinema museum that you might like to visit which is open Mondays to Saturdays from 12pm until 7pm and Sundays from 10am to 8pm. It is closed on Tuesdays. It costs €5.
For information about the Cinémathéque Français visit the website at:http://www.cinematheque.fr (in French only)

Palais de la Porte Dorée
This is an exhibit hall found at the edge of the Bois de Vincennes at 293 Avenue Daumesnil. It houses the Cité Nationale de l’Histoire de l’Immigration (National Museum of the History of Immigration) as well as a tropical aquarium in the basement. The Palais de la Porte Dorée was built for the Paris Colonial Exposition of 1931. The exterior has bas-reliefs of ships, oceans and wildlife including antelopes, elephants, zebras and snakes. The aquarium has around 5,000 fish of 300 species displayed in tanks. It also hosts temporary exhibitions and some of those that have been held here have included tropical fish from the Amazon, piranhas and Crocodiles. The National Museum of the History of Immigration opened in 2007 and it traces 200 years of immigration history, through a large collection of archive documents, photographs, drawings and works of art, as well as temporary exhibitions, artistic events and a media library. Both the aquarium and the National Museum of the History of Immigration are open Tuesdays to Fridays from 10am until 5.15pm and weekends until 7pm. The aquarium costs €4.50 without an exhibition or €6.50 with an exhibition. The National Museum of the History of Immigration costs €3 without an exhibition or €5 with an exhibition and if you visit them both then the combined ticket will cost €6 or €8 with an exhibition.
For information about the aquarium visit the website at:http://www.aquarium-portedoree.fr/homes/home_id24544_u1l2.htm (in French only)
For information about the National Museum of the History of Immigration visit the website at:http://www.histoire-immigration.fr (in French only)

Bois  de Vincennes

Bois de Vincennes
This large wood is found on the eastern side of Paris. It was designed by Haussmann for Napoléon 111 in the second half of the 19th century. It traces its roots back to the 13th century when there was hunting preserve here near the Château de Vincennes. In 1731 Louis XV created a park here and opened it to the public. Today the Bois de Vincennes features grassy lawns, a flower garden, two lakes, a zoo (closed for renovation until 2014), a racetrack, a small farm, several cafes and a seasonal amusement park. You can rent a bike to ride around or hire boats to row on the lakes. On the northern edge of the wood is the Château de Vincennes that is open to the public to visit. It was once the largest château in Europe and was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. It is very imposing with its high walls and tall keep. Over time as well as being the residence of kings it has also been a prison, the site of the Vincennes porcelain factory, an arms factory and as a place for executions. The castle that you see today dates from the 14th century and it is in the shape of a rectangle with six towers and three gates which were originally much taller. The castle is surrounded by a moat.
For information about the Château de Vincennes visit the website at:http://en.chateau-vincennes.fr/index.php