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Paris' 12th Arrondissement

Unlike Paris’ many bustling, commerce driven districts, the 12th arrondissement is a pleasantly calm, residential area featuring a substantial amount of open space.  Although it is located on the outer rim of the city, it remains an ideal place to find hotels or Paris apartment vacation rentals and has a strong “local” feel.  The 12th is widely considered to be one of Paris’ top, up and coming arrondissements.

About two-thirds of the district consists of parks and promenades, with the most well known being the Promenade Plantee, which ironically enough is probably one of Paris’ strangest parks.  The main walkway, which used to be a train line is raised above street level and lined with colorful hedges and flowers.  Underneath the walkway, a number of boutique shops are actually nestled right in between the arches that support it.   The largest park in the area is most assuredly Bois de Vincennes, which is almost three times larger than New York’s Central Park.  Although it doesn’t have the notoriety of Central Park, it houses four lakes, the beautiful Chateau de Vincennes, a zoo, an arboretum and is undoubtedly an ideal escape from the city for tourists staying in any of the nearby Paris apartment rentals.

Next to the parks and promenades, the 12th arrondissement’s other most notable destinations would be the Opera Bastille and Gare de Lyon.  The inauguration of the l’Opera Bastille on the 200th Anniversary of the “Storming of the Bastille” in 1989 drew so much attention to the district that it marked a new beginning for the area and is greatly responsible for its recent growth.  Since then, the area has seen many Parisians migrating to the area and a substantial influx of tourists renting Paris vacation apartments.  The opera house itself is home to Paris’ National Opera and will eventually replace Palais Garnier as the city’s foremost venue.  

Not far from the opera house stands one of Paris’ busiest rail stations, Gare de Lyon.  In fact, it’s famous clock tower directly faces the famous green and gold Bastille column and is just 1km away.  Not only is Gare de Lyon one of Paris’ busiest stations, it may be one of the most attractive stations in all of Europe. It also houses an extremely well known dining room for an embellished pre-trip meal, Le Train Bleu.   For tourists staying in short term Paris rentals that plan on traveling to any of France’s neighboring countries such as Italy and Switzerland, Gare de Lyon is the most likely departure point. 

Overall, the 12th arrondissement’s local feel paired with it’s vast amount of open space make it an ideal location to spend a few days away from the hustle and bustle of Paris’ city center.