Neighboring districts in eastern Paris, Belleville and Ménilmontant share the distinctive feature of being extremely cosmopolitan areas, with a popular atmosphere and a delightful disorder that never fails to charm. These neighborhoods showcase a diverse city, where one can enjoy Chinese cuisine, purchase halal or kosher deli products, and add Mediterranean spices to their dishes. Vibrant yet not overwhelming, the area is filled with small streets highly sought after by food enthusiasts in search of exotic cuisine, fashion shoppers looking for affordable clothing, and music lovers eager to discover new sounds resonating at Café la Bellevilloise.
Perched on one of the hills that border the capital, Belleville has always had an image of a lively and pleasant working-class neighborhood. In the past, it was an independent municipality and attracted revelers and night owls from the city who frequented its guinguettes until the early hours of the morning. The Haussmannian renovations of the mid-19th century played a significant role in turning this neighborhood into a highly popular place: driven out of the city center, many artisans and workers settled on the hill. In the 1920s, Belleville welcomed the first waves of immigration to France, gradually transforming the face of the neighborhood. Since then, the mosaic of cultures and nationalities has continued to enrich Belleville's life.
The café terraces are bustling throughout the week and on weekends. The area also attracts artists, particularly graffiti artists, whose murals painted on large sections of walls harmoniously match the joyfully chaotic spirit of the neighborhood. On sunny days, strollers come to bask in the sun on the fresh grass of Parc de Belleville. The flowered platforms and water jets of this peculiar garden are not the only attraction for visitors: at an altitude of 108 meters, the park offers a panoramic view of Paris that is worth seeing. As night falls, further down the hill, the bars on Boulevard de Belleville come alive, fueled by the numerous small concerts that take place there until 2 a.m.
"Ménilmontant, oh yes, madam, that's where I left my heart, that's where I come to find my soul," sang Charles Trenet. The popular authenticity emanates from this "village" nestled between Belleville and Père Lachaise. With its narrow alleys, small bars, and artist workshops, it is the perfect place to wander on a Sunday afternoon.
Like Belleville, Ménilmontant also boasts a good number of nice restaurants and bistros. However, the most visited spot in Ménilmontant is undoubtedly the Père Lachaise Cemetery, an immense maze of stones where strollers like to wander. The tranquility of the place encourages contemplation in front of the tombs of Oscar Wilde, Alfred de Musset, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, and other great figures.
The neighborhood also has the advantage of housing two concert venues that may not look impressive at first glance but have become essential for any self-respecting funk and soul fan: La Bellevilloise and La Maroquinerie. This former factory now attracts the young Parisian crowd passionate about African-American music, who come here to dance to guitar chords and jazzy rhythms.
The must-see attractions in Paris
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