The east side of Paris, between métros Bastille, Nation and Ménilmontant (the 11th and 12th arrondissements), is the new magnet for the city’s ‘culinary luminaries’ – daring, forward-thinking chefs who have put new spins on French cooking traditions and jumpstarted a booming restaurant scene. It’s also where those in the know come to buy some of the city’s best produce, at authentic Parisian markets, in ultramodern delicatessens and in atmospheric caves à vin, brimming with bottled treasures from all over France. Historically this area has always been hard working and progressive. It was here, between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries that carpenters, porcelain manufacturers and textile entrepreneurs first made their fortunes, and it was from here that the mobs came to storm the Bastille in 1789 – so it seems fitting that this is the site of Paris’ culinary revolution today. To get a real feel for the transformation, let serendipity guide you along three main thoroughfares: rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine, rue de Charonne and rue Oberkampf. You’ll find a plethora of shabby-chic buildings harbouring trendy new bars and eateries, and former ateliers converted into hip hotels and cafés – best of all, none of them will break the bank. In fact, there are so many you could easily spend a week eating and drinking your way around this one area; it most certainly wouldn’t be a waste of your time. The streets offer plenty of postprandial shopping opportunities – all blissfully far from the city’s busiest tourist spots.