The 10th arrondissement has plenty of surprises up its sleeve. Bustling and multicultural, known for its restaurants, theatres and shops, it’s an area to be experienced rather than viewed. You’ll come across numerous architectural curiosities as you meander through the streets.
This arrondissement is the adopted home of several different communities from around the world. Their traditions, cultures, lifestyles and cuisines blend to create a unique cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Close to Gare du Nord, the area known as Little India (rue du Faubourg and the adjacent streets) is a focal point for the Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan communities. Passage Brady is a treat for the senses. The spicy aromas wafting from the restaurants draw you in and the vivid-coloured saris in the shop windows form a stunning display.
Further south, between porte Saint-Denis, rue d’Échiquier and rue d’Enghien, the influence is Anatolian. As well as Turkish shops, groceries and restaurants, the area is known for its street food. By the river on Quai de Jemmapes, the Pouya Cultural Centre celebrates Iranian culture and cuisine.
In the 10th arrondissement, culture takes centre stage. Theatres have always been a feature of the faubourgs, Paris’s erstwhile suburbs. Even today, more than a dozen remain in operation here, to the great pleasure of Parisian theatre-goers. Le Splendid, the théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, the théâtre Antoine, the théâtre de la Renaissance, the théâtre du Gymnase Marie Bell, Les Bouffes du Nord, Le Palais des Glaces and Le Comédia, to name but a few, offer a varied repertoire ranging from solo performances and vaudevilles to major classical works.
More of a film buff? You’re in luck. The iconic Le Louxor–Palais du Cinéma celebrated its centenary in 2021. If you’re interested in contemporary art, photography and crafts, head for galerie Martel, espace Beaurepaire or Les Douches la Galerie.
If you love small music venues, meet fellow afficionados at the New Morning in rue des Petites Ecuries. This famous nightspot has been hosting top names in blues and jazz for decades – Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Nina Simone, Michel Petrucciani and Prince have all given unforgettable concerts here. The Alhambra Théâtre Music-Hall offers an eclectic programme of rock, jazz, electro, French and international pop and traditional music.
For something completely different, try Choco-Story on boulevard Bonne Nouvelle. Step through the door of this chocolate museum to discover all the secrets of the cocoa bean and enjoy tastings and workshops for all ages.
Nestled between the Grands Boulevards, the Gare du Nord and place de la République, the 10th arrondissement is filled with amazing architecture.
The stylish Louxor cinema on boulevard Magenta, an Art Deco building dating from 1921, was completely refurbished in 2013 and is a listed historic monument. The eye-catching facade is designed in an Egyptian Revival style with blue and gold mosaics. The Ancient Egypt theme carries through into the interior, where the decoration includes hieroglyphics, lotus flowers, scarab beetles and a vibrant Egyptian blue and gold colour scheme.
The arrondissement’s stations, Gare de l’Est and Gare du Nord, are architectural gems. They are the gateway to the city for visitors arriving from all over France and Europe. With its Neoclassical facade featuring beautiful windows and 23 statues, the Gare du Nord, originally built in 1865, has reinvented itself time and time again to become the modern, welcoming transport and shopping hub it is today. The Gare de l’Est, inaugurated by Napoleon III in 1850, is Paris’s oldest station. In fine weather, a pop-up bar opens on the rooftop beside Eiffel’s half-rose window. Beneath the station, model railway enthusiasts can admire three carefully conserved miniature railways, in full working order, with their steam locomotives, wagons and convoys!
It would be hard to miss Porte Saint-Martin, on boulevard Saint-Martin, and porte Saint-Denis, on boulevard Saint-Denis. These two triumphal arches, built to the glory of Louis XIV and his victories in battle, mark the location of the old city wall built by Charles V. And if you enjoy curiosities, don't miss 39 rue de la Château d’Eau, the narrowest house in Paris.
The 10th arrondissement has successfully adapted its architectural heritage sites to make them relevant today. For example, the former Saint-Lazare prison, later Saint-Lazare hospital, is now home to the magnificent Françoise Sagan multi-media library with its Mediterranean cloistered garden. The former Récollets Convent has been converted into housing for researchers and artists. It includes a lively and welcoming bar and terrace, Café A, and offers a programme of artistic events open to all (readings, documentaries, installations, performances and more).
The area has some treats in store for thrill-seekers too. The Manoir de Paris is an immersive haunted house experience specialising in terrifying interactive shows. Completely different but equally horrifying, the musée des moulages de l'hôpital Saint-Louis holds a collection of 5,000 wax models of dermatological diseases dating back to the 19th century. That will certainly send a shiver down your spine!
This is an area that gives pride of place to professional craftspeople and creatives. The brand new cité artisanale La Villa du Lavoir at 70 rue René Boulanger offers a dozen studios for the creative professions, for example intaglio printmaking, jewellery-making, stained glass work and ceramics. At number 30 in this same road, the Lavomatic is a bar concealed behind the frontage of a laundrette, like a speakeasy in prohibition America.
Close by, lively canal Saint-Martin is known for its informal restaurants, hip bars and attractive shops. The famous Récollets lock, used by boats to enter the canal, is one of Paris’s more unusual sights. Passers-by crowd onto the Grange aux Belles and Bichat footbridges to watch the lock in action.
Also worth exploring are place Sainte-Marthe and the adjacent roads between canal Saint-Martin and hôpital Saint-Louis. Used in the 19th century to house workers, this friendly, unpretentious micro-district with its bright shopfronts has a range of convenience stores, small restaurants, bistros and art and craft workshops.