Place de la Bastille is where ~that~ infamous prison stood, and if you’re the curious type, you’ll notice all around the square, a series of rounded metal caps set into the pavement. They indicate the outline of the prison, destroyed back in 1789.
If there’s a strike or protest going on (as the French are wont to do, and often), feel free to join in to get into that real French spirit. Catch a ballet performance at the modern Opéra Bastille. Head towards the nearby Coulée Verte—a luscious park, built on top of a disused railway, and the inspiration for Manhattan’s Highline. Below it, the wide sidewalk on Avenue Daumesnil is lined with glassmakers, chocolatiers, carpenters, and other kinds of artisan shops.
Nearby, don’t miss the candy-colored, bucolic little residential street called Rue Crémieux. It’s an Instagram dream come true. Just watch out for the locals who might yell at you for taking a selfie by their doorstep. Can you blame them?
Closest to the Marais, Bastille is the most commercial part of the 11th, especially the area immediately surrounding Place de la Bastille. Rue de Lappe, for instance, is party central and a bit too, shall we say, inebriated. For that real arty/industrial vibe we love to love in the 11th, head instead to rue Keller, rue de Charonne, rue Basfroi, rue Popincourt, rue Godefroy Cavaignac and all the discreetly cozy cobblestoned alleyways and passages intertwined throughout.