Belleville – the other Paris

Many years ago people could find a village Belleville on a hill planted with vineyards. This place was famous for its wonderful taverns. According to historical material, it was a serious competitor to the famous Montmartre, not only in this matter but and in the height of a hill with magnificent species.

At the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century this place has become a working part of Paris with all the ensuing consequences. Those years not only productions thrived in Belleville but also the many local bands of Apaches, whose representatives liked to perform apache dances in different pubs of the district in the evenings.

The beginning of the twentieth century brought a change of priorities in Belleville. The place of numerous criminals was occupied by all sorts of immigrants from around the world. This working Parisian quarter was the residence of immigrants from China, Turkey, Algeria, Greece… On boulevard de Belleville and rue du Faubourg du Temple many national restaurants had appeared. On rue Ramponeau local Jews founded their favorite kosher shops. On weekends, between two metro stations a large Arab-Chinese market with an inherent flavor of these nations actively operated.

Decades passed. But Belleville and today remains the workers’ districts with a large number of emigrant population, possibly thanks to them the streets of the area do not look sad and do not represent a depressing spectacle. Modern streets of Belleville are well-groomed and scenic places, where you can always have a nice walk or visit the original restaurants owned by locals. Of course, every year number of descendants of the old immigrants becomes smaller, because the district became extremely popular. Various “Nouveau riche” massively bought up local Paris real estate. There is a demand for absolutely everything: the abandoned Chinese factories, old shops and garages. We have to admit that the purchase of the houses by these young saves the quarter, because if they do not, the city authorities would be happy to conclude a treaty with large companies for the construction in the area of high-rise offices and other buildings. Actually, despite the serious changes in live of Belleville, its character still remained. We can meet this in its cafes and bars, shops, in the relationship between people who know each other since their births.

Uniqueness and originality of this old quarter attracted the Parisians at all times, including the representatives of the cultural bohemia of France. For example, Edith Piaf liked to spent free evenings with her friends at the club La Java on rue du Faubourg du Temple.

Belleville is not so promoted by Parisians as Montmartre, but, believe, that visiting it you’ll get the great pleasure from the hours spent walking through the wonderful streets and talking to interesting local audience. In this place you’ll see Paris from a completely new side!