When we talk about Paris, some of the first things people think about are sights like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. However, the city has much more to offer, including neighborhoods full of history and not so frequented by tourists. Belleville is one of them!
The region is culturally super diverse, as it concentrates many immigrants. Chinese, Greeks, Armenians and German Jews are just some of the people who made the neighborhood what it is today. With so many different traditions, including the French, it is even difficult to imagine them all gathered in one area. I selected some of the coolest places to visit in Belleville and, obviously, I will share with you 😉
Walking along rue Dénoyez is as if you are in a completely different Paris. The street is full of graffiti, both with more realistic designs as well as other abstract compositions that make the place unique. The paintings are a little messy and mixed, all very colorful and different from each other. At the very end of Dénoyez is a super known coffee in the region, called Le Barbouquin – if you are in the region, be sure to stop by.
Another street full of amazing graffiti and panels is Fontaine au Roi. The graffiti in this part of the neighborhood is not so concentrated, so walk down the street and find each one gradually, almost as a surprise on the way. It is super interesting to visit these two places, because they are really different from what you will see in the rest of the city.
It’s not just street art that you find in Belleville! The neighborhood has a large cluster of smaller art galleries, with many different works and several local artists. Although there are several, I chose the three best known to you. The first one is Les Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville, which aims to make art accessible to everyone. It works as an association and today has 250 artists and 23 collectives.
Loft 19, which belongs to the Suzanne Tarasiève gallery, and Bugada & Cargnel are also worth a visit. Loft 19 is more focused on an experimental art style. Bugada & Cargnel, on the other hand, is larger and exhibits works by both younger artists as well as others already established in the industry. On some occasions, it is used as an extension of the Center Pompido exhibitions, so it has a more varied collection.
It is easy to see the reflection of the number of immigrants in the neighborhood in the region’s restaurants. For good Vietnamese food, go to Dong Huong and ask for bún riêu, a type of stew very typical of the region. Another Asian restaurant, but in this case focused on Chinese cuisine, is Tai Yien.
Ah, if you want to try some Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, L’Iliade is a great option. For those who are looking for a vegetarian restaurant, one of the most recommended there is Zoé Bouillon. They also have some options for meat eaters, but most of the dishes are made only with vegetables.
Changing a bit of scenery, Belleville has a beautiful park called Parc de Belleville. It is full of ramps and stairs because it occupies an area with very uneven ground. By staying in a high region, you will have a wonderful view of the city – including the Eiffel Tower in the background. Another park very close by is Buttes-Chaumont, but I already mentioned it to you in a post about parks and gardens in the city 😉
Edith Piaf Museum
Last but not least, the Museé Edith Piaf. Knowing this place can be more interesting for those who enjoy history and like to know more about the country’s personalities. However, anyone can visit the museum and be amazed by the history of one of France’s best-known singers.
In the small space, you will have access to several photos, letters and objects of the singer, having an idea of what she was like and understanding her lifestyle a little more. Admission is free, but to visit the museum you need to make an appointment in advance by the number +33 (0) 1 43 55 52 72.
As you may have noticed, there is a lot to do there. Belleville is a good reason for you to create an alternative Paris tour and get to know more of the city, going beyond the basics. If you want to see other parts of the city and see some of my trips there, just click here. Aah, and if you know more interesting points in the region, you can leave it here in the comments 😉