The towers of the Choisy Triangle may pale in comparison to the towering skyscrapers of Beijing, but they proudly mark the entrance to the most emblematic Chinese neighborhood in the capital. This Chinatown flourished in the 1970s with the first waves of Asian immigration. Fleeing the political situation in Southeast Asia, refugees chose the 13th arrondissement due to the abundance of available housing at the time. These early immigrants have largely moved to other neighborhoods, and the 13th is now more considered a transitional stage after the arrival of new Chinese expatriates in France. With teas of a thousand fragrances, typical cuisines, Asian-patterned tableware, Chinese herbal shops, and incense stores... it's a journey to the heart of Asia right in the midst of Paris.
A Corner of Asia in Paris
The Golden Triangle, defined by Choisy Avenue, Ivry Avenue, and Tolbiac Street, serves as the mecca of "Made in China" in Paris. It is here that mass is conducted in Cantonese, where neon signs shine with sinograms, and shops are protected by pagoda roofs. The corridors of shopping galleries carry the delightful scent of papaya, boutiques offer beautiful silk tunics, and the best bowls of Tonkinese soup are savored. In this neighborhood, store shelves overflow with decorative objects and trinkets, white marble sculptures, enchanting landscape paintings, collections of karaoke DVDs, manga, and newspapers in Chinese characters... But be aware, most shops are open every day of the week except Mondays!
Finally, if you have the chance to visit the area between mid-January and mid-February, know that every year the neighborhood comes alive with the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Dragon processions several meters long, colorful kites, and resonating gongs enchant both pedestrians and residents of the Asian quarter for a month (two weeks before and two weeks after the Chinese New Year).
A Haven for Food Enthusiasts
If you're craving a pho, a bo bun, or slices of lacquered duck on a bed of Cantonese rice, this is the neighborhood to explore. The 13th arrondissement serves as an immense kitchen, offering specialties from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and China. Asian restaurants and pastry shops tempt you with deliciously exotic flavors at generally affordable prices, while supermarkets are stocked with tofu, shrimp fritters, shiitake mushrooms, nori sheets, and dried beef... Aspiring gourmets and cooking enthusiasts will find plenty to satisfy their cravings here. For culinary shopping, connoisseurs of the neighborhood particularly favor the Tang Frères supermarket. You'll find the most typical Asian specialties, from obscure and rare vegetables to the most classic dishes.
Tea enthusiasts, on the other hand, gather at the Empire des Thés, a true embassy of Chinese tea offering no less than 200 varieties. Don't hesitate to take the time to savor a cup of tea in this charming house with traditional Chinese decor.
The must-see attractions in Paris
For groups of 10 or more
Cruises with meals or private evenings