Sitting at the north-easternmost point of Paris, the 19tharrondissement has become an alternate cultural destination with everything from lush parks to music and art venues. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont—where fauxhemians and families go to hang out on a sunny afternoon—is a full-on escape from the city with its large, open grass fields, serious birdwatching (really!) and tall stone water features. If you’re not one for small, underground music venues, Parc de la Villette has multiple large arenas where the biggest bands play and lots of big expos take place (past ones have included David Bowie, Tutankhamun, the history of electronic music and even the Comic Con). Just try not to think about how this area used to house the animal market and slaughterhouse and you’ll be fine.
Hipsters and families galore run wild here, so you’ll either feel right at home or want to get the hell out. This area isn’t usually on maps of tourists, so if you want to feel like a true Parisian, head here. If you’ve watched Lupin, don’t miss the Temple de la Sibylle where you can gaze upon the mere mortals as you conduct your secret “rendez-vous”.
Place Sainte-Marthe is technically on the border of the 19th, in the 10th, but vibe-wise it belongs to the Combat area of the 19th. If you want to check out the last vestiges of what used to be a working class neighborhood before it becomes gentrified, then this is your cue to visit this ‘hood. Most probably, though, you’re already too late, as streets are lined with boutiques, restaurants, and artists’ workshops. Word of warning: many run bizarre, irregular opening hours based on whatever floats the owner’s boat.
This is where the « magic » happens in the 19th, thanks to the hip-and-happening cool kids that come here to party…or to see a science museum with a bling-bling silver dome—whichever’s your jam. By the Canal de l’Ourcq you’ll find bars and restaurants perfect for having your apéro next to the waterfront. There’s an epic bike path that goes all the way to Parc de la Villette, so try your hand renting a bike from Vélib’ (Paris’ bike sharing scheme), which will give you a thorough workout, thanks to its weight, lack of suspension, and unoiled gears.