For a taste of how many Parisians really live, head over to the Père Lachaise/Gambetta neighborhood, tucked in a little-trampled stretch of northeast Paris. Protected from the hullabaloo of the city but still close enough to all major attractions, this area is swarming with what the French call "les bobos"-- young, issue-conscious professionals straddling a line between bourgeois and bohemian.
Read related feature: Best Semi-Secret Neighborhoods in Paris
In the area loosely defined by the metros Gambetta, Pere Lachaise, Porte de Bagnolet and the Rue de Menilmontant, you’ll find quirky, family-owned cafes and bars, Birkenstock-donning couples pushing strollers, and an authentic residential feel. During the day, the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery is worth a half-day trip, while a smattering of bars and clubs in the surrounding Gambetta and Menilmontant area are packed at night, home to a dynamic independent music scene. If you’re taxed out from power touring, reward yourself with a relaxing stroll or nightset in the Père Lachaise/Gambetta quarter.
Orientation and Transport
The Père Lachaise/Gambetta neighborhood lies in the eastern corner of Paris in the 20th arrondissement, just southeast of the arty, working class area known as Belleville. The République and Bastille areas can be found to the west.
Main Streets Around Père Lachaise/Gambetta: Avenue Gambetta, Rue de Menilmontant, Rue des Pyrénées.
Getting There: The Père Lachaise/Gambetta neighborhood is closest to metro Gambetta or Pere-Lachaise (lines 2 or 3) , with buses 26, 60, 64, 69, 102 and 501 also serving the area. Vélib’ bike stations can be found in several locations around the Place Gambetta. You can also get off at Metro Menilmontant and walk up Rue Menilmontant to hit some of the area's most-frequented nightspots.
Read related: Best Spots for Nightlife in Paris
Places of Interest in the Père Lachaise/Gambetta Area:
Père Lachaise Cemetery: One of the most famous cemeteries in the world and arguably the largest park in Paris, the Père Lachaise cemetery is the final resting place of hosts of notable French and foreign figures. Established by Napoleon in 1804, tourists come in the millions year round to check out the graves of Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Chopin and Edith Piaf. The cobblestone lanes and moss-covered tombs make for an eerily beautiful storybook setting.
Complete Guide to Père-Lachaise Cemetery
Place de la Gambetta: The Gambetta metro station is named after Léon Gambetta, who was the 45th Prime Minister of France-- a title he held for only 66 days between 1881 and 1882.
Edith Piaf Memorial: This little-known memorial to the famed French singer Edith Piaf is located on an inconspicuous square at Metro Porte de Bagnolet (line 3).
Eating and Drinking Around Père Lachaise/Gambetta:
19-21, rue Boyer
Metro Gambetta or Menilmontant
Tel: +33 (0)1 46 36 07 07/(0)1 46 36 07 07
Take one part art gallery, one part dance club, mix in a restaurant terrace and a conference hall, and you will begin to understand La Bellevilloise.
A cooperative created in 1877 and revamped in 2005, the cultural center offers visitors a plethora of activities, from art exhibitions and organic food markets to concerts that rock into the wee hours.
23 rue Boyer
Metro Gambetta or Menilmontant
Tel: +33 (0)1 40 33 35 05
La Bellevilloise's next-door neighbor is also a formidable rival in the area's growing indie music scene. A lush outdoor terrace, decent restaurant and (admittedly claustrophobic) concert space draw constant hordes of music fans and neighborhood regulars.
La Fleche d'Or
The longtime heartbeat of the Paris indie music scene, La Flèche d'Or is a club and concert venue in a gritty corner of east Paris whose tumultuous existence has only boosted its mystique. La Flèche d'Or, which has gained a solid reputation for its lineup of eclectic acts and talented DJs, reopened in November 2009 after a six-month shutdown.Lou Pascalou
14, rue des Panoyaux
Metro Pere Lachaise or Menilmontant
Tel: +33 (0)1 46 36 78 10
Situated just minutes from the Père Lachaise cemetery, this slightly hidden bar is always hopping with young Paris hipsters from the surrounding neighborhoods. Every month, you’ll find a new art expo lining the walls, while the outdoor terrace is a great spot to grab a drink and meet the locals.
15 Rue du Surmelin
Metro Gambetta Tel: +33 (0)1 43 64 38 56
One of the lovely things about traveling is discovering little known gems. Le Quinze is such a place. With its nondescript exterior, you might be tempted to walk on by – don’t. The food is excellent here, particularly the chicken and lamb tajines, and the chummy staff will give you a taste of authentic Paris.
Aux Petits Oignons
11 Rue Dupont de l'Eure
Metro Pelleport or Gambetta
Tel: +33 (0)1 43 64 18 86
If you’re looking for that iconic Paris neighborhood café where everyone knows your name and which drink you always order, Aux Petits Oignons is going to be your utopia. With a divine lunch and dinner menu and coffee that still hovers at around one euro, you’re in for a treat at this friendly, eclectic restaurant/café.