Bastille and Eastern Paris, Paris
Concierge.com's insider take:
Over the last decade, hip Paris has been leaning farther and farther east, as mega-rehab projects transform what was a dowdy part of town. The Place de la Bastille, where the dreaded prison once stood and the 1789 Revolution began, is now home to the clunky modern Opéra Bastille (Place de la Bastille; 33-1-72-29-35-35; www.operadeparis.fr). But far more indicative of the neighborhood's dynamism are the boîtes, bistros, and galleries that animate the web of streets radiating northeast. Behind the opera house on Avenue Daumesnil, the Viaduc des Arts—a restored 1850s railway viaduct—curves east for almost a mile, flanked by wide, tree-lined sidewalks. Under its arcades are dozens of craft shops and restaurants; on top, the Promenade Plantée, a linear park with roof-level views, spreads its trees, benches, and reflecting pools along a pedestrian-only path. Southeast of the Viaduc on the Seine at Bercy, 35-acre Bercy Park wraps itself around a handful of 200-year-old wine warehouses and equally ancient sycamores. The park links via a footbridge to the National Library on the Left Bank at Tolbiac—as a billion-dollar building, it's just too mediocre to be true (Quai François Maurice; 33-1-53-79-59-59; www.bnf.fr). Back at the Bastille, head north toward the Place de la République. The Cirque d'Hiver, a handsome indoor circus built in 1852, is still used for circus performances as well as fashion shows and other events (110 Rue Amelot; 33-1-47-00-28-81; www.cirquedhiver.com). Here, too, adjoining streets like Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud are shoulder-to-shoulder with hipster hangouts.