Trendy and artsy Montreuil is an eastern suburb of Paris, near the Forest of Vincennes. Historically a place of industry and agriculture, many of the homes in this burgeoning area were built in converted warehouses and mills. It’s a community where you can rummage through antique treasures at flea markets and travel back in time in old walled peach gardens.
Then in the evening, you’ll be partying with some of the hippest people in Paris. On Metro Lines 1, 3 and 9 and Line A of the RER commuter train, the City of Lights is within easy reach. All of Paris is within easy reach, but for convenience, we’ll discuss the sights and cultural icons just minutes from Montreuil.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Montreuil:
1. Montreuil Ipses
Every Saturday and Monday, on the Avenue du Professeur André Lemierre, there is one of the scruffiest but loveliest flea markets in the city.
Almost everything on sale is second-hand, so if you like gadgets, vintage clothing, and anything retro, grab a or two at these stalls.
In Montreuil, it’s also off the beaten track, so you won’t be crowded with tourists.
As you rummage, you’ll find antique tableware, Art Deco ceramics, old bicycle parts, pre-war furs, and a variety of other odds and ends.
2. Vincennes Castle
Located in the southern district of Vincennes, the castle is a tall medieval building with a height of 52 meters.
When it was completed in the 1300s, it was the tallest fortified building in Europe and was the seat of French royalty before Versailles.
Two kings, Philip III and his successor, Philip IV, married on the land, while in the 14th and 15th centuries three French monarchs and English king Henry V died in Vincennes.
It later became a notorious prison, holding Fouquet, Mirabeau, the Marquis de Sade and Diderot.
You can visit the castle’s soaring upper floors, the Royal Chapel, and investigate Charles V’s 14th-century study.
3. Murs à Pêches
Between the 1600s and the 1900s, a third of Montreuil’s districts were decorated with orchards and small plots, supplying Paris with fresh fruit.
Not only that, but these plantations have helped breed new varieties of peaches, cherries and strawberries.
It’s a resourceful business that coats garden walls with local gypsum plaster, as the material dissipates heat at night.
Later, it became easier to transport fruit from farms outside Paris, but many of the labyrinthine Murs à Pêches (peach walls) have been restored, especially in the Saint-Antoine area with 40 hectares of walled gardens.
You can check in at the tourist office in Montreuil for guided tours.
4. Vincennes Forest
You might be struck by the sheer size of this park south of Montreuil.
It is the largest park in Paris and occupies one tenth of the total area of the city.
Like the Bois de Boulogne on the west side of Paris, it was reserved as a royal hunting ground before being beautified by Napoleon III in the mid-19th century.
There are hundreds of hectares of flowing green and woodland, as well as many smaller gardens and grounds: within the park are the Paris Autodrom, the Arena, the Paris Zoo and even an urban farm with goats, cows and sheep.
5. Paris Flower Park
This park on the northern edge of the Vincennes Forest is one of four official botanical gardens in the city.
Parc Floral appeared in the early ’60s, coinciding with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which explains the loosely Japanese theme.
The exhibits are the splendid Vallée des Fleurs, updated every year with a colourful new theme.
There is a tulip flower show in the spring and a dahlia contest in the fall.
In addition to these vibrant cultural events, there are the Paris Jazz Festival, the Festival Classique au Vert and the Pestacles.
Any other time, you can take the kids for a fun day at the cool adventure park, mini golf and miniature trains.
6. Immigration History Museum
Whether you enter the museum or not, you must come to see the Golden Gate Palace on the edge of the Vincennes Forest.
It is an official “Historic Monument”, an Art Deco palace built for the 1931 Colonial Exposition.
On the porch, there are huge reliefs from ceiling to floor showing wooden boats and exotic beasts.
The galleries inside explore 200 years of French immigration and trace the barriers and achievements immigrants have faced since the early 20th century.
Since the building opened, the basement has a tropical aquarium filled with colorful fish, turtles and caiman.
7. La Montreuilloise Brewery
Founded in 2014, La Montreuilloise Brewery is part of the craft beer revolution sweeping France today.
This brewery next to Murs à Pêches produces golden, brown, amber and special seasonal beers using an organic and eco-friendly method.
An increasing number of trendy bars around Montreuil stock bottles and are easy to spot for their stylish labels.
If you are a resident of Paris or have been in town for more than a few days, you can come to the workshop.
You can actually make your own beer and bottle it after 13 days.
8. Coulée Verte René-Dumont
The eastern terminus of this innovative urban project opened in 1993 is a ten-minute walk from the Robespierre metro station in Montreuil. Also known as the Promenade Plantée, this park follows the route of the old Vincennes railway, crossing the same old viaducts and transforming them with trees, shrubs, sculptures and flower beds.
The result is that you can walk from around Montreuil all the way to the Opéra Bastille in the 12th arrondissement without ever leaving this oasis.
There are several playgrounds for young people, and you can descend from the elevated promenade to one of the gardens below every now and then.
9. Père Lachaise Cemetery
In the 20th arrondissement, west of Montreuil, this is the final resting place of many world-changing figures.
You can download a map of the cemetery or buy it from your local store. The roll call of characters is remarkable: in French history and culture there are writers like Balzac and Proust, painters like Delacroix and Ingres, and the beloved singer Edith Piaf.
Many visitors come specifically to see the small tomb of door singer Jim Morrison, and the Art Deco monument to Irish writer Oscar Wilde.
While you may not recognize all the names, many episodes feature sensational mausoleums and tombstones.
10. Paris Opera
Take the Metro Line 3 to probably the most famous opera house in the world.
Palais Garnier was built in the lavish eclectic style that was popular during the reign of Napoleon III in the 19th century.
Most of the performances here are performed by the Paris Opera Ballet, but it’s certainly not something you can do at the last minute.
You need to keep abreast of listings and book well in advance of your vacation.
However, if you’re unlucky enough to get a ticket, you might be blown away by the grandeur of the auditorium and foyer for a self-guided tour during the day.
11. Panorama Channel
Among the many things that made Paris, Paris is the palatial shopping mall that arrived in the 19th century.
They came into being when the city put aside its dull medieval layout and embraced today’s grand street plans.
Shopping galleries such as Passage des Panoramas near the Exchange on Line 3 are prototypes of modern shopping centers, where people can shop, dine and enjoy tea and coffee.
Passage des Panoramas is the oldest of them all, completed in 1800 and illuminated by innovative gas lamps in 1817. Emile Zola wrote this at Nana, whose stamp shop, crepe shop, and Belle Époque still have a strong 19th-century flair for their restaurant decorations.
12. Museum of Arts and Crafts
Just 15 minutes from Gallieni on line 3 is a museum that will delight would-be inventors, engineers and historians.
In these galleries, there are more than 2,500 machines, gadgets and experiments that have helped change the course of science and culture.
The museum originated from the National Academy of Arts and Crafts, which was established in 1794 to document and preserve important inventions.
The archive is divided into seven sections: Communication, Architecture, Energy, Materials, Mechanics, Scientific Instruments and Transport.
Some of the many wonders are Foucault’s original pendulum, Pascal’s Pascalin calculator, early airplanes, and a model of Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty.
13. Opéra Bastille
Criticized as dazzling when it opened in 1989, this modern opera house now boasts one of the world’s top performing arts venues.
Any misgivings you might have about the building’s appearance will be forgotten in the main auditorium, where the acoustics are second to none and even the nosebleed seats have clear views.
During the day, you can go behind the scenes on a 90-minute guided tour to learn about its history, architecture and the inner workings of the stage area.
But if you’re keen, you can keep following the site for upcoming opera performances and then plan your trip to Paris around the show.
14. The Louvre
Getting to the Louvre from Montreuil is a bit tricky, on line 1. To transfer to this line, you can change at Nation, or take a bus or walk to Vincennes.
Once you enter the largest museum on earth, journey time becomes insignificant.
After Louis XIV moved into Versailles, he used the palace as a private gallery for the royal collection.
After the revolution, it was opened to the public and enriched by the confiscation of noble families and religious orders across the country.
Archaeology and important art more than you can read in a whole day.
However, if you’re just taking a short tour, leave a route for Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People.”
15. Centre Pompidou
More than 40 years after its construction, this spacious, high-tech cultural center is still provocative.
The building broke with convention in the 1970s by placing all heating, plumbing and electrical infrastructure outside.
Among them are several national institutions, such as the huge public information library, the largest modern art museum in Europe and the IRCAM music and research center.
For visitors, the goal is the museum, covering every movement in modern and contemporary art from Fauvism to Pop Art.
Picasso, Kandinsky, Klee, Chagall, Francis Bacon are just a few names in a dizzying array of flashes.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Montreuil, France
Lowest price guaranteed.