Situated in the 10th arrondissement, République is just outside of what is generally considered “central” Paris, but as its central square also houses one of the largest Métro hubs in Paris, it is still extremely convenient. If you’re looking for a quieter vibe while still having fast access to many of Paris’ famous tourist attractions, République can offer. Museums, cafés, quirky shops and an artsy, youthful culture make this area a favorite amongst hip Parisians and those seeking to sink into local culture.
One of the Trendiest Neighborhoods in Paris
Tucked deep into this area are record stores, vintage and antique shops, cafés and hip little boutiques. Museums tucked into warehouses abound. Side streets and “arcades” like Passage Brady offer Indo-Pakistani, Mauritian and Réunion businesses. People-watching is an art here: typically-fashionable young Parisians ride by on vintage bicycles, buskers play in the streets, and a distinct sense of “DIY” artistic expression exists everywhere.
The Place de la République
République’s central plaza, the Place de la République, is one of the largest squares in Paris and the intersection between the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements. Lots of concerts are held here in the summer months, but the Place de la République is also the starting point to many political protests, rallies and impromptu memorials. It served as an emotional gathering point following the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January 2015, with demonstrations beginning there that same evening. Four days later, marchers headed from here to the Place de la Nation in a rally of national unity that numbered about 1.6 million people. Months later, posters and graffiti from these emotional times still remain on the square’s central statue.
The Goddess of Liberty and the Republic of France
Originally called the Place du Château d’Eau, the square was much smaller when Pierre-Simon Girard’s sculpture, the Fontaine du Château d’Eau, resided there. When Haussmann expanded the square in the mid-19th century, Girard’s fountain was moved. Unveiled on Bastille Day 1885, Marianne, the goddess of Liberty and symbol of the Republic of France, continues to hold her place as the center of the Place de la République.
Home to France’s Republican Guard
Military barracks that were built at the Place de la République in 1854 have been used by the French Republican Guard since 1947. Originally built by Baron Hausmann to garrison troops during times of civil unrest, the Vérines barracks are the largest in Paris, and are also home to the Jean Vérine and World War II memorials.
The Canal Saint-Martin
Originally built by Napoléon to supply fresh water to a growing population, the canal is now a great place to stroll during the warmer months. Surrounded by restaurants and unique galleries like the Museum of Fans, it’s a great place to have a picnic and people-watch, a popular activity amongst locals.
The “Boulevard du Crime” and Théâtre Déjazet
The area where the Place de la République is situated was where a bastion of the wall of Charles V was located in the 1400s. The present-day Boulevard du Temple, which was created around 1700, follows this wall’s former path.
This road became an especially fashionable and popular place in the 1800s as cafés, theatres and fairs moved here. It was also nicknamed the Boulevard du Crime at that time because of the crime melodramas that were performed in its theatres. Today, the Théâtre Déjazet is the only one of those theatres that remains, somehow escaping Haussman’s “makeover”. For a time films were shown there (the original stage was removed to accommodate this) but the theater has now returned to live performances.
Daguerre and the Birthplace of Photography
French artist and photographer Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre created his diorama theater here in République and in the early 1800s, created the “daguerreotype”, the first publicly-announced photographic process. A fire later destroyed his studio as well as most of his work; less than 25 of his works survive now, mostly still lifes, portraits and views of Paris from what is considered the dawn of photography.
Léotard and the Trapeze Act
It was in the Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione, in 1852, that Jules Léotard of Toulouse invented the trapeze act. He was the first performer to jump from one trapeze to another. Claiming itself the “oldest circus in the world”, the Cirque d’Hiver continues to host shows, and its acts tour worldwide. The venue itself is also home to an amazing circus museum.
Musée des Arts et Métiers
Visited by over 250,000 people year, this industrial design museum’s name translates as, “Museum of Arts and Crafts. Founded in 1794 and moved to its current location eight years later, the museum focuses on scientific inventions and instruments and how things work.
About 2,500 of this museum’s nearly 100,000 artifacts are on display here. Some of its more popular items include Pascal’s calculator, the first mechanical calculator, and Auguste Bartholdi’s original model of the Statue of Liberty. The building the museum is housed in is an exquisite example of medieval architecture.
Marché des Enfants Rouges – Paris’ oldest covered market, which dates to the 1600s
Théâtre Déjazet – the lone theatre that remains from the famous Boulevard du Crime; their website is in French only, but additional information in English can be found here.
Nouveau Casino – nightclub noted for its huge sound system; host to international music acts with a focus on rock and electronic music. Their website is in French only, but additional information in English can be found here.
Passage Brady – arcade known for its Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani restaurants
Musée de l'Éventail – museum dedicated to several varieties of fans and a workshop. Website in French, but additional information in English can be found here.
Cirque d'Hiver – historical venue that regularly plays host to events such as concerts, circuses and fashion shows
République is convenient: beneath the Place de la République is the République Métro station. This hub is one of Paris’ busiest as lines 3, 5, 8, 9 and 11 stop here providing easy and fast access to attractions such as Palais Garnier, Opéra Bastille, Place de la Concorde, Parc des Princes and Musée National d'Art Moderne.
The Gare du Nord is just three stops away when riding a line 5 train to the north. From that station, you can take trains to Germany, Belgium and England.
If you are looking to head from Charles de Gaulle Airport into the center of this neighborhood, catch an RER B train to the Gare du Nord and transfer to a line 5 train for the short trip to République.
Several other Paris Métro stations are located in République as well. These include Temple (line 3 trains stop here), Parmentier (line 3), Jacques Bonsergent (line 5), Filles du Calvaire (line 8), Oberkampf (line 9) and Goncourt (line 11).
Busses also run throughout the neighborhood. Although they can be slow at times due to traffic, traveling by bus can offer scenic routes and plenty of people-watching.